Armagh avenged their 2003 Ulster SFC defeat by Monaghan by comprehensively defeating Colm Coyle's side 2-19 to 0-10 at Clones, with All-star forward Stephen McDonnell scoring a goal and four points in an energetic display.

Joe Kernan's side bowed out of the Ulster championship in the first round last season, but they put down a heavy marker to their provincial rivals that they mean business in 2004, easing through to a semi-final meeting with either Cavan or Down.

Wayward shooting in the opening 12 minutes meant just two points for the Orchard with McDonnell, after 15 seconds, and Ronan Clarke on two minutes putting them in front. Monaghan's Paul Finlay was guilty of a number of wides but his left-foot strike on 9 minutes and Dick Clerkin's drive over two minutes later soon had them level.

Armagh's forward power saw Clarke in particular win the vital frees and Oisin McConville showed excellent form on 14 and 17 minutes to hammer over a quick brace. He cracked over a third from play four minutes later and following Martin O'Rourke's goal shot coming back off a Monaghan upright, points from the rampant McDonnell and Clarke put Armagh 0-07 to 0-02 in front.

On the half hour McDonnell claimed his goal, driving low to the net after anticipating the drop of a long ball into Clarke. The same duo combined on 34 minutes as McDonnell shipped a pass on to Clarke for the centre forward to net and send 'keeper Glen Murphy the wrong way from 10 metres.

Finlay replied quickly but Monaghan were effectively gone - eleven points down at the break.

The sides went point for point after the restart with Paddy McKeever and Martin O'Rourke seeing their efforts cancelled by the quiet Damien Freeman and Finlay, Monaghan's leading scorer with an eventual 0-04 (2f). McKeever pressed home the Orchard dominance with a fisted 44th minute score and seconds later O'Rourke saw his flicked effort glance off the crossbar and over.

Finlay, Rory Woods and Clerkin kept their side in the hunt with further efforts but their challenge fell off with the sending off of substitute John Paul Mone for a second yellow card offence on 60 minutes.

McDonnell added to his first half 1-02 with points on his left and right, McConville and McKeever finished off their day's work with late points, added to by singles from Tony McEntee and substitute Brian Mallon, with the last of the game.

Monaghan, to their credit, managed two points in the final five minutes from Woods (free) and Damien Freeman.

Armagh: P Hearty; E McNulty, F Bellew, A Mallon; A O'Rourke K McGeeney, A McCann; P Loughran, P McGrane; P McKeever, T McEntee, O McConville; S McDonnell, R Clarke, M O'Rourke. Subs: B Mallon for Clarke (68 mins)

Monaghan: G Murphy; G McQuaid, J Coyle, Ed Lennon; D Duffy, D Clerkin, V Corey; J Hughes, En Lennon; P Finlay, T Freeman, D Mone; K Tavey, R Ronaghan, D Freeman. Subs: JP Mone for Corey (31 mins), Dermot McDermott for Ed Lennon (ht), N Corrigan for Ronaghan (58 mins)

Click here for the game's statistics.

Filed by Barry J Whyte