Monaghan 3-9 Armagh 2-10
Monaghan edged Armagh in a goal fest on Saturday afternoon to secure a two-point win in what was an evenly contested affair.
You could even argue that Armagh were the better team. But the concession of three goals dented their chances of earning victory.
Following on from their opening day win over Westmeath, the Orchard stuggled during the opening exchanges.
The hosts had made the brighter start, shooting into an early 4-1 lead. Armagh came back into it as Sean Rock and Caolan Finnegan claimed a brace each.
The pair were causing problems for the Monaghan defence with every possession and their accuracy was paying off.
Just as Armagh looked to have turned the tide, Monaghan rattled off two goals and switched the momentum once again.
Finnegan tagged one on for the Orchard to reduce the margin to four by the interval. 2-4 to 0-6.
The Orchard defended heroically after the turnaround and tow majors of their own looked to have set them on their way.
Darragh McMullen’s long ball spilled to Finnegan, who played through his Crossmaglen clubmate Fitzpatrick.
The centre half forward palmed home the eases of finishes and put his side in front for the first time in the game.
Shea Magill’s long range free dropped just short, but once again Finnegan was on hand to capture possession, a skilful one-handed catch.
The corner forward swivelled aside and fired an unstoppable shot into the top corner past the helpless keeper for his sides second goal.
Rock followed up with point, but the game took another twist. Monaghan hit back with 1-1 in quick succession to leave the minimum the margin.
Fitzpatrick slotted over from the dead ball but four on the bounce from the Farney men edged them back ahead.
There wasn’t enough time for the Orchard to salvage something. They will be pleased with their display, but the concession of goals and some unforced errors in the final ten minutes cost them dearly.