Rory Grugan earns Armagh a replay with final kick

Defending Ulster champions Monaghan were three points up late on in Clones

Monaghan 0-14 Armagh 0-14

Armagh snatched a replay in Clones with the last three points of the game in the closing minutes to end matters all square at 0-14 to 0-14. Substitute Rory Grugan nailed the equalising free from in front of the posts after Joe McQuillan called a shirt-pull as injury-time ebbed away. It was no more than Armagh deserved and they will have their full compliment of players available for the replay on Sunday July 6th.

A night of packed defences and retreating forwards made for tough enough watching at times. Nobody gave an inch from their own '45 to their goal and both sides found it hard to find a way through in possession. Jamie Clarke was the pick of the Armagh forwards in the first half; Conor McManus the best of the Monaghan bunch. But chances were few, clear chances even fewer.

Clarke it was who opened the scoring for Armagh and after he put Armagh into an early lead, he set up their second point as well for Stefan Campbell. Monaghan's response came mainly through frees, with Rory Beggan and Jack McCarron getting them off the mark.


It was a mark of how tight the first half turned out to be that Beggan – the Monaghan goalkeeper, remember – was the main source, not just of scores but of moments of true beauty. His free-taking style is delectable – three steps and what appears to be a chip but invariably splits the posts from distance. He did so three times in the first half, one as easy on the eye as the next.

His third put Monaghan 0-6 to 0-3 ahead on 22 minutes and in prime position to kick on. But in a suffocating game, progress for either side was always going to come from being quick to the breaks and from there to the break it was Armagh who made most hay. Tony Kernan kicked a free soon after coming on for the black-carded Kyle Carragher, Aidan Forker and Campbell drew Armagh level with the last two points of the half.

It meant the sides went to their tea at level scores, 0-6 apiece. Clarke and McManus swapped points upon the restart before Monaghan's chances took a huge blow when McManus got a black card for obstruction on Finian Moriarty. It meant that points were hard to come by in open play for Monaghan and they relied on Beggan's sure kicking to see them into a lead.

Dick Clerkin and Stephen Gollogly chipped in as well and when Chris McGuinness put Monaghan 0-14 to 0-11 ahead after Clerkin won possession in midfield seven minutes from time, it looked like Monaghan were in the clear.

But back came Armagh. Clarke, who had the beating of Colin Walshe all night, brought the margin back to two on 68 minutes and when Campbell hoisted his third of the night on the stroke of 70, Armagh only needed one more chance.

They got it. They took it. All square.

MONAGHAN: Rory Beggan (0-5, all frees); Kieran Duffy, Drew Wylie, Colin Walshe; Dessie Mone, Vinny Corey, Fintan Kelly; Dick Clerkin (0-1), Darren Hughes; Ryan Wylie, Pádraig Donaghy, Jack McCarron (0-1, free); Dermot Malone, Kieran Hughes (0-2), Conor McManus (0-2, free). Sub: Stephen Gollogly (0-2, one free) for McCarron (half-time); Chris McGuinness (0-1) for McManus (black card, 45 mins); P McKenna for Donaghy (51 mins); P Finlay for Malone (63 mins); K O'Connell for Kelly (70 mins).

ARMAGH: Philip McEvoy; James Morgan, Charlie Vernon, Finian Moriarty; Aaron Kernan, Ciarán McKeever, Mark Shields (0-1); Stefan Campbell (0-3), Aaron Findon; Eugene McVerry, Kevin Dyas (0-1), Aidan Forker (0-1); Kyle Carragher, Ethan Rafferty, Jamie Clarke (0-3). Subs: Tony Kernan (0-3, 0-2 frees) for Carragher (black card, 21 mins); S Harold for Rafferty (50 mins); S Forker (0-1) for A Forker (55 mins); R McGrudan (0-1) for McVerry (58 mins); M Murray for Moriarty (65 mins).