Armagh 0-14 (8) Monaghan 0-14 (9)
It was another case of penalty shootout heartache for Armagh in Croke Park on Saturday as their 2023 campaign ended in devastating fashion.
It’s the third time inside 12 months that Armagh have lost via spot kicks. Galway knocked them out at the quarter final juncture last season.
Derry reclaimed the Anglo Celt via penalties while this time around it was Monaghan who added to the Armagh misery.
Rory Beggan proved the game winner in the end for the Farney men. The Scotstown showstopper denied Callum Cumiskey on Armagh’s tenth penalty.
Monaghan converted nine of theirs, with Ethan Rafferty halting Gary Mohan’s first effort to bring the shootout to sudden death.
Cumiskey was unfortunate to see both his shots saved, while Rian O’Neill, Rory Grugan, Shane McPartlan and Oisin Conaty tucked away their efforts.
It summed up the nip and tuck nature of the game, that was level 14 times throughout the 100 minutes of championship action.
Nip and tuck
It wasn’t always edge of the seat stuff. But, the fact it was so close throughout meant you couldn’t turn away.
Armagh held a slight advantage at the end of the first 35 minutes. Andrew Murnin put his side ahead by one, 0-6 to 0-5.
Both sides were wasteful in front of the posts, although Conor McCarthy’s accuracy did cause Armagh problems.
A long range Conor McManus free, his first influence since entering the fray, levelled the game after the turnaround.
Two in a row from Monaghan edged them ahead before the inspirational Aidan Forker fired over his second, starting and finishing a fine move.
That was the cat and mouse tale of the second period, neither side could create enough separation to feel any sense of comfort.
And both had golden goal opportunities. Rory Grugan opted to fist his chance over the bar while Conor Turbitt was denied by Beggan.
Ethan Rafferty was called into action at the other end, and turned Ryan Wylie’s effort wide of the upright.
With neither side fit to raise a green flag, it ended all square, although the Orchard had a late appeal for a free waved away by the referee.
Monaghan did enter extra time minus a man, following Sean Jones’ harsh black card just before the final whistle.
Ross McQuillan got things up and running straight away in extra time, but again Vinny Corey’s men were right on Armagh’s coattails.
With things still tied towards the end of the game, Armagh needed a hero and Rian O’Neill looked to have claimed that title.
His long range, outside-of-the-boot skyscraper seemed to have sealed the deal for Kieran McGeeney’s men. But Monaghan would have one final chance.
That opportunity fell to the right man from a Farney perspective. Conor McManus drew a foul and fired over the free to bring the game to penalties.
McManus would go on to nail both his penalties and it’s on to the All-Ireland semi-finals for Corey’s charges.