16 July 2021 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Colm Shalvey reports

The latest chapter of the Monaghan v Armagh rivalry sees a place in the 2021 Ulster SFC Final go up for grabs in Newry on Saturday afternoon. Both teams go into this derby on the back of double-digit wins in the quarter-finals. Monaghan got their first Ulster SFC win since 2018 at the expense of Fermanagh, while Armagh were pushed for long spells by Antrim before cutting loose in the final quarter to pull well clear of Enda McGinley’s side.

Monaghan are looking to qualify for the provincial decider for the first time since winning their second title in the space of three years in 2015, but Armagh also have a burning desire to get back to that stage after a 13-year absence that could hardly have been imagined when they were in their pomp throughout the first decade of the 21st century. Kieran McGeeney won six Ulster SFC titles as a player, but he took time to make any impact on the provincial series as a manager after taking over from Paul Grimley for the 2015 campaign.

Despite making steady progress in general, Armagh fell at the first hurdle four times in a row in Ulster and they won just one of their first seven provincial championship games under McGeeney, but their graph has remained on an upward curve as they returned to the top flight of the league for the first time since 2012. Armagh, of course, defeated Monaghan in the opening round of that recent NFL campaign, where both sides were squeezed out of the top two in Division One North, before they won relegation play-offs against Roscommon and Galway. Armagh also won the last…

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