Armagh 0-15 Monaghan 0-15
You couldn’t ask for better entertainment on a Tuesday evening. The crowd of nearly 3,500 witnessed a treat as the deadlock was decided by a penalty shootout.
Five brave men from both sides faced the pressure of the shootout and the quality of the spot kicks was superb.
Rian O’Neill, Aidan Nugent, Rory Grugan and Stefan Campbell all scored from the penalty spot.
Unfortunately there had to be a loser and Jemar Hall’s blasted effort sailed over the bar and sealed Armagh’s fate.
The Orchard County shouldn’t have been in that position however. They were the better team across the 70 plus minutes of action but Monaghan clawed their way back into the game.
The introduction of Jack McCarron made a telling difference. The accurate left footer swung over three huge points, including a 71st minute free that handed Monaghan the lead for the first time.
That looked to have secured the victory, but there was another kick in Armagh. Stefan Campbell took on the responsibility and fired over the equalising score.
Armagh had one last chance to steal the win, but Aidan Nugent saw his fisted effort bounce back off the crossbar.
Monaghan fight back
It took 13 minutes for the first score to arrive as both teams were wasteful during the opening quarter.
Scores from Grugan (free), Campbell, Aidan Forker and Andrew Murnin had Armagh up 4-1 at the water break.
Two points each from Grugan (frees) and Niall Grimley stretched the lead to four by the interval, 0-8 to 0-4.
Monaghan slowly but surely reeled the home side in. Conor McCarthy and Conor Boyle drove hard at the Armagh defence and knocked over five points between them.
Rian O’Neill and Aidan Nugent kept the Orchard ticking over but scores from McCarron and McCarthy put the Farney men ahead.
Campbell’s effort meant a penalty shootout was required and it’s Monaghan who process to the showpiece. They’ll face Donegal in the decider while Armagh’s next outing will be against Dublin in their National League opener.