Thursday 14 December 2017

McManus picks off the Orchard

CONOR McManus was the star for Monaghan as the defending champions qualified for an Ulster SFC final against Donegal following their 1-18 to 1-13 replay win over Armagh at Clones.

Aaron Findon grabbed an Armagh goal early on, but a 1-3 haul from McManus - out of his 1-7 total - sent the Farney men in with a 1-8 to 1-4 lead at the break.

McManus and Paul Finlay were on target in the second half, and a four points from Jamie Clarke couldn't save the Orchard men

Armagh will now meet Tyrone in next weekend's Qualifiers.

Darren Hughes drove over two points as the Farney men eased ahead early on but Armagh struck for a goal in the 12th minute, courtesy of Findon converting a rebound.

Monaghan's responded with five points on the spin to stamp their authority on the contest, before McManus lashed home a brilliant goal in the 32nd minute.

Monaghan led by 1-8 to 1-4 at the interval and stretched their advantage before Armagh hit back through Aaron Kernan and Jamie Clarke.

However, when McManus fired over his sixth point in the 60th minute, the Anglo-Celt Cup holders led by seven, and any prospects of another Armagh comeback appeared remote.

Clarke did find more space in a more advanced position and gained a handful of quality scores, but Armagh suffered a blow in the 63rd minute when they were reduced to 14 men, after Stefan Campbell was black-carded.

They were unable to replace the wing-forward as they had used all six permitted subs.

A McManus score from a sideline ball was the highlight of the closing stages.

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