Armagh and Monaghan engage in their 50th championship meeting on Saturday afternoon in Pairc Esler, Newry.
Both teams are out to reach the provincial decider. Armagh haven’t made the showpiece since 2008 while it’s been six years from Monaghan’s last appearance.
The pair battled in out in the opening round of the national league when the Orchard County won 1-16 to 1-12. Monaghan have remained unbeaten since that day.
“I feel Monaghan have come on leaps and bounds from that match (the first game with Armagh). It showed in the Donegal game and the Galway game.
The thing about Monaghan, they were scoring highly in the league as well. That’s a good look coming in towards the championship”, Dessie Mone told The Sideline Eye Podcast.
Kieran McGeeney recently described Conor McManus as “one of the top three forwards over the last ten years”.
The Clontibret attacker has led the charge for Monaghan over the last decade, but the Farney men have unearthed some new players that can ease the scoring burden.
“They put up another big score against Fermanagh. I suppose that’s what teams are trying to do now, they’re trying to put up them big scores.
Overall, the likes of Aaron Mulligan, Killian Lavelle, Sean Jones, unfortunately he picked up that injury in the league. Monaghan were looking good there with their new players”.
“I think it’s just other forwards now starting to contribute, maybe not relying on Mansy (Conor McManus) as much.
I know Mansy, he’s going to get you your scores, that’s for definite. Jack McCarron had a massive game against Galway, and he chipped in with a goal there against Fermanagh”.
If Monaghan are to march forward in the championship, Mone believes it’s important they have a “variety of scorers”.
“If you’re going to go forward in the championship, you’re going to need a variety of scorers in your forward line. That’s what Monaghan’s starting to create.
To score 1-21 again a couple of weeks ago (vs Fermanagh), if you want to go forward in the championship, in those later rounds, you have to be putting them high scores in”.
“And it’s other playing getting the scores, which is great to see. That has been a bonus towards Monaghan this year.
If they want to move forward, they have the other players who can get their own scores and they’re not reliant on the one and two. Other players are starting to stand up”.