McGeeney full of praise for Farney men

Armagh are back in the last four of the Ulster Championship this weekend. They will hope their experience is better than last year’s disaster against Donegal.

It’s the first time Armagh have reached back-to-back semi-finals since 2006, when they went on to lift the Anglo Celt.

Monaghan stand between them and their first Ulster decider since 2008.

Speaking after his sides 13-point victory over Antrim, Kieran McGeeney was full of admiration for the Farney county.

Photo Credit: John Merry

“Their work ethic and their work rate for each other is probably the best I would say out there, outside of Dublin.

I know they’re in a transition but the players that they’re bringing in are dynamite players. When you have that type of pace coming into a squad.

They have serious pace the whole way through the team. We know our energy has to change completely over the next two weeks”.

Monaghan saw off Fermanagh in convincing fashion in the opening round of the competition. The win looked to have come at a price, however.

Photo Credit: John Merry

Just before the final whistle, talisman Conor McManus collided with a Fermanagh defender and hoppled off the field of play.

The TV cameras caught the Clontibret star leave Clones on crutches, although it’s believed he’ll be back in action this weekend.

McGeeney was full of praise for the Oriel sharpshooter and suggested the two-time All-star will be ready to face his side.

“McManus is easily one of the top three forwards over the last ten years. But the way the Monaghan boys have been changing and shifting, they definitely have replacements.

It’s like us and Aidan (Forker), Ryan Kennedy, Mark Shields, fellas that you thought you couldn’t do without. You just have to”.

Photo Credit: Richiespics

“Sometimes players then get more ball than they’re used to. The likes of Jack McCarron or (Conor) McCarthy, (Stephen) O’Hanlon, or any of those boys.

I wouldn’t be writing off Conor now. I’ve seen him up-close, first-hand, he’s a tough boy”.

The two sides clashed in the league and the Orchardmen were four-point winners. Championship is a different ball game though.

Monaghan may be in transition, but plenty of their players have one or two Ulster medals in their back pockets.

Photo Credit: John Merry

Brendan Donaghy is the only player in the Armagh ranks that has featured in the provincial showpiece.

“We have players that haven’t played that many championship games. The more championship games and the more battles you have, the more hardened you become.

You see that in players and Monaghan’s a case in point. Watching them against Galway in that game, you just couldn’t get rid of them.

They were just top class in they way they were able to pull scores. I think that just comes with experience”.