Armagh dethrone Champions

June 30, 2014

● Ulster Minor Championship Semi-Final Armagh 1-08 v Monaghan 0-9

Scoring bursts of 3 points from Armagh at the start and end of this Ulster Minor Semi-final enabled the Orchard County lads dethrone holders Monaghan 1-8 to 0-9. Manager, Paul Doyle will be delighted by his teams never-say-die attitude throughout the game as they were continuously frustrated by the Monaghan defensive set –up but kept plugging away and were rewarded in the end through points from substitute Padraig Judge (Tir na nOg) which levelled the match on 58 minutes followed by winning points from Oisin O’Neill (Crossmaglen Rangers) and team captain Caolan McConville (Killeavy) adding on the insurance point in stoppage time.

Points from Ryan Hughes (Dromintee) 2 and Oisin O’Neill, inside the opening four minutes, got Armagh off to a flying start but a hat-trick of replies from Monaghan Captain, Barry McGinn tied things up for about 20 minutes. Dominant, possession wise, Monaghan failed to reflect it on the scoreboard as the Armagh defense held solid. David Garland ended the scoring drought to edge Monaghan ahead but Hughes once again levelled matters before a fourth McGinn point of the half gave Monaghan a 5-4 interval lead. The second half began with Jack Rafferty (Ballyhegan) getting black carded and replaced by Annaghmore’s Conor Cullen. The game came to life 5 minutes into the half courtesy of a superb half volley from Conor Grimley (Madden) which flew past goalkeeper Shane Garland for the game’s only goal, to put Armagh back in front. McGinn and Cullen traded frees but a sixth point from McGinn left it 1-5 to 0-7 and a short free from the same player to substitute Dermot Gleeson enabled him tie the match midway through the second half. A trio of bad wides in a row from Armagh was made look costly as David McAllister edged Monaghan ahead, with 7 minutes remaining. Entering the last 2 minutes Armagh still trailed but rallied in the winning fashion as described earlier.

For Armagh it’s a first Ulster final since 2011 when they face Donegal on July 20. Team management knows that there is loads of room for improvement, but what a boost to dethrone the reigning Ulster champions without being at your best. The Armagh defensive unit, using Kyle Mallon in a sweeping role, kept the much vaunted goal getting ability of their opponents to nil, excelled.

Armagh: R Kearney Pearse Og); F Quinn (Belleek), A Rushe Crossmaglen Rangers), C Donnelly St Patrick’s); C Boylan (Killeavy), C McKinney (Killeavy), C McNichol (Pearse Og)l; J Og Burns (Silverbridge), S Conlon (St Patrick’s); J Rafferty (Ballyhegan), O O’Neill (Crossmaglen Rangers(0-2), K Mallon (Killeavy); R Hughes (Dromintee 0-3), C Grimley (Madden1-0), C McConville (Killeavy,0-1) Subs: C Cullen (Annaghmore0-1,) for Rafferty (BC, 32), P Judge ( Tir na nOg 0-1) for Grimley (50), R McKeown (Armagh Harps for McNicholl (56), C Murphy (Armagh Harps) for Hughes (58)