Geezer’s men get opening day win

Monaghan 1-12 Armagh 1-16

Kieran McGeeney will be a happy man tonight as he guided Armagh to their first division one win since 2012.

He may not be overjoyed by the overall performance, but the Orchard County started and ended the game brilliantly.

In between times however there were cause for concern as they surrendered a six-point head start to draw level on numerous occasions.

Several needless fouls in the Armagh backline allowed the Farney men to get back into the tie and close the early gap.

The game was just underway when the referee pointed to the spot after Jarly Og Burns has been bundled over inside the small square.

Captain Stefan Campbell stepped up to expertly slot home the penalty and Armagh looked like a team that meant business.

Man of the Match Rory Grugan was immense and swung over two points while Rian O’Neill pointed a 45 to give Armagh an quick six-point lead.

Photo Credit: John Merry

Rory Beggan slotted over a free before Monaghan claimed a goal of their own as Sean Jones powered the ball into the net after good work from Andrew Woods.

Aidan Forker, who played closer to goal than expected, got his first of three points while Stephen O’Hanlon fisted over a score for Monaghan.

Grugan and Forker traded scores with Aaron Mulligan (2), who impressed in the blue and white while Michael Brannigan’s point ended the half, Armagh up 1-6 to 1-5.

The introduction of Conor McManus may have worried the Orchard County fans, especially when he pointed with his first touch.

The second half was full of end-to-end action and although Armagh couldn’t shake their opponents, they never once trailed.

The sides were matched score for score right up to the 52nd minute when Mulligan levelled the tie for the 5th time.

Three unanswered points left Armagh in a strong position as time was running out for the Farney men to get something from the game.

Photo Credit: John Merry

Substitute Conor Turbitt fisted over a score, splitting posts from Rian O’Neill and the accurate Grugan.

Brannigan replied but Grugan and O’Neill insured Armagh left Brewster Park with the two points on offer.

Armagh now sit top of Division One North with a superior score difference over Donegal, who defeated Tyrone by two.

While Monaghan may not have been at full strength, this is still a game Armagh needed to win to prove they can compete at this level.

Tyrone and Donegal will pose bigger questions in the coming weeks, but for tonight, Armagh can be proud of a promising performance.

Armagh Scorers: Rory Grugan 0-6 (3f), Stefan Campbell 1-1 (1 pen), Aidan Forker (0-3), Rian O’Neill 0-3 (1f), Conor Turbitt 0-2, Oisin O’Neill 0-1