Armagh minors play Monaghan in Newry

May 25, 2010

Monaghan are the next hurdle for defending All-Ireland and Ulster Champions Armagh to overcome. With the leaving certificate examinations on the horizon, this match will take place in Pairc Escler in Newry at 7pm this coming Saturday night.

While the scoreline 2-9 to 2-8 from the Preliminary round match with Derry indicates a close run affair in the end up, the truth of the match was that the champions were never in any danger of falling at the first hurdle. Two goals from the quick thinking Paul McGeogh had helped Armagh to a 7 point lead as the match entered the final minute. Two quick fire goals from Aaron Devlin put the game on it’s head and Derry spurned a leveller before the whistle rescued a shellshocked Armagh.

Paul McShane’s side had bossed proceedings for most of the 60 minutes with Conor Gough and Peter Carragher outstanding in the middle of the park but despite having a greater percentage of play, they couldn’t shake off the Derry challenge spurning several goal opportunities in the process.

There is no question that the game will have done Armagh the power of good and taken a lot of weight off their shoulders . It was back in March when Monaghan and Armagh met in the Ulster Minor League with two points between the teams, 0-10 to 0-8 in favour of the Orchard County. But if one goes back to their championship meeting in Clones last year the danger that Monaghan present is all too apparent from that thriller, which Armagh were lucky to shade in the end up.

This year though the defending champions do not look as potent a side as last.

Still the goal chances were created against Derry but not taken with the efficency and class of the last set of forwards. As already mentioned the midfielders will get Armagh an ample supply of the ball. To be fair, five of the starting six forwards the last day got their name on the scoresheet, with Barry Seeley and Ryan Rafferty showing loads of potential, as was the goalscorer who gave a topsy turvey performance which showed brilliance and lots of wrong options at varying times

Manager, Paul McShane will have been delighted to have crossed the first hurdle while not getting carried away by the performance. While this year’s charges may lack the finess and attacking flair, which brought glory last year, they have adopted the same hard workrate and willingness to help out each other. The man at the helm is not one to go and make a lot of rash changes unless forced to do so by injuries. Paul and his backroom team will probably give a vote of confidence to the 15 which began the defence of their titles in winning fashion. The starting 15 for Saturday night should read like this-Matthew McNeice, Ruairi McCaughley, Colm Hoey, Ronan Finnegan, Dean Nugent, James King, Niall McConville, Peter Carragher, Conor Gough, Simon McCoy, Aidan Forker, Barry Seeley, Colin Stevenson, Paul McGeown, Ryan Rafferty.