Monaghan no match for awesome Armagh

Armagh 2-18 Monaghan 0-10

Two goals split by the half time whistle allowed Armagh to stroll into the Ulster semi-finals with the minimum of fuss as they began their Ulster title defence in blistering fashion.

Alex Clarke and Blaithin Mackin hit two perfect goals as Armagh ran riot on home soil against a deflated Monaghan outfit.

The Orchard County powered into a six-point lead by the 16th minute, with Caroline O’Hanlon pulling the strings from centre half forward.

Inside, the dangerous Aimee Mackin, Aoife McCoy and Clarke made the Monaghan defenders heads spin with their movement and sharp runs.

Fionnuala McKenna ratted over the first two scores of the game while Lauren McConville also got in on the score act with a great point.

Aimee Mackin struck 0-3 of her 0-8 in the first quarter, the third following a beautiful diagonal ball from McCoy.

Tiarna Grimes curled over an excellent effort to split two Monaghan scores as the Farney side closed the gap to three.

With the visitors closing in, Armagh bombed ahead and Alex Clarke, younger sister of former Armagh star Jamie, fired in a fantastic goal.

She peeled off her marker at pace and raced onto a delicate pass by Niamh Coleman before drilling it brilliantly into the net.

The Crossmaglen star continued to torment the opposition defence with a point, matched by the Monaghan attack to see the score 1-8 to 0-5 at the break.

Ronan Murphy’s team remained on top at the beginning of the second period, with scores coming from O’Hanlon, McKenna and Aimee Mackin (3).

The younger of the Mackin sisters Blaithin was next in line to torture the Farney rear-guard and did so with one of the goals of the season.

The Shane O’Neill’s star powered towards goal from midfield, jinking her way past three defenders before cooling driving the ball to the left-hand corner of the net.

O’Hanlon, Clarke, Aimee Mackin (2) and substitute Aoibhinn Henderson tagged on further scores as Armagh ran out easy winners.

Monaghan had no answer for Armagh’s attacking threat, while the Orchard followers will have been delighted to see Kelly Mallon make her first appearance of the season.

At the back, the home side were strong and brave, highlighted by two excellent blocks from Niamh Marley and Clodagh McCambridge.

Grace Ferguson was a contender for Player of the Match as she performed her role to perfection, blotting out the influence of Cora Courtney for the duration of the game.

Armagh now march on to the semi-finals and will face the challenge of Tyrone on Friday 2nd of July.

Armagh Scorers: Aimee Mackin 0-8, Alex Clarke 1-2, Fionnuala McKenna 0-3, Blaithin Mackin 1-0, Caroline O’Hanlon 0-2, Lauren McConville 0-1, Tiarna Grimes 0-1, Aoibhinn Henderson 0-1.