KO BLOW

1 July 2022 No Comments by The Northern Standard

COLM SHALVEY REPORTS

Monaghan’s senior ladies have a battle on their hands to preserve SFC status after a heavy defeat away to Armagh last Saturday saw them finish bottom of Group B. The draw couldn’t have been much more challenging for Monaghan– pairing them with All- Ireland champions Meath and threein- a-row Ulster winners Armagh – and it resulted in two harsh lessons for an inexperienced side. Captain Muireann Atkinson and 2022 top scorer Jodie McQuillan remained absent for a depleted Monaghan, who put two points on the scoreboard within 80 seconds of the start, but could only manage another brace of white flags in the remainder of a game that petered out to the tamest of finishes.

Armagh needed to win by 15 points to top the group, but having gone 14 clear with ten minutes still to play, with the wind at their backs, they appeared to opt for the footballing equivalent of declaring in cricket, simply playing keep-ball for a closing spell that resembled a lowtempo training game. Like the Meath game, Monaghan had wind advantage for the first half, only to end up chasing a sizeable deficit. Goals by Aoife Lennon and Niamh Coleman, both within five minutes of a superb save at the other end by Anna Carr, put Armagh in command as they backed up their draw with Meath the previous week to set up a quarter-final meeting with Kerry.

The hosts didn’t match their winning margin from the recent Ulster semi-final between the teams, but they still cruised through to the knock-out stages, where they look to be well-placed to contest. Monaghan started brightly with a point after barely ten seconds by Lauren Jones, before a foul…

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