Plucky Monaghan showed their mettle in the Clones rain as a last-minute Paul Finlay free earned them a quarter-final replay with Ulster champions Armagh as they finished ten points apiece.
The sides will lock horns again next Saturday after the Farney men scored the final three points this afternoon through substitute Hugh McElroy, centre forward Stephen Gollogly and midfielder Finlay.
An attendance of 23,731 watched Armagh play in fits and starts with Oisin McConville's five-point haul their biggest plus. After wing forward Malachy Mackin had kicked Joe Kernan's men into a second-minute lead, they waited a full 27 minutes before adding to their tally through corner forward McConville.
It was that sort of day – neither side particularly deserved to go through to a semi-final clash against either Fermanagh or Antrim on June 11, but both did enough to warrant the replay. The wides tally show little between them too with Armagh finishing with 10 to Monaghan's 11.
Armagh led 0-05 to 0-04 at the break but struggled on a rain-soaked sod. Mackin left-footed over to show their intent but poor finishing and a lack of forward drive blighted his side's first half showing.
Corner forward Woods pointed a free for Monaghan in reply and off the back of some strong attacking, Seamus McEneaney's side pulled 0-04 to 0-01 clear by the 18th-minute. Thomas Freeman evaded the grasp of Enda McNulty to clip over Monaghan's second, Woods fired over from a tight angle and captain Damien
Freeman, in a roving role, ended a sweet move with a further point.
McConville ended Armagh's barren spell with a 29th-minute free and some quick-witted football allowed the 2002 All-Star add two more – one a free – with full-forward Ronan Clarke also grabbing one from play in the 33rd-minute as Kernan's charges ended the half one point in front.
Eighty seconds in the second half, the influential Finlay opened his account with a neat free to level at 0-05 apiece, but Armagh bagged the next four points to push 0-09 to 0-05 clear by the 58th-minute.
Stephen McDonnell (0-02), McConville and ex-skipper Kieran McGeeney, who lined out at midfield, all raised white flags in a spell of dominance from the champions.
But Monaghan, who were relegated from NFL Division One last month, displayed some steely character in the final ten minutes. Two points in quick succession from Gollogly - Monaghan's first from play for a full 42 minutes - and wing forward Dick Clerkin were the springboard.
And although McConville restored Armagh's three-point lead, a superb free from the left from McElroy, another from play from Gollogly and Finlay's coolly taken 70th-minute free from the sideline brought Monaghan deservedly back on terms.
There was still time for corner back Gary McQuaid to receive his marching orders for a second bookable offence but Monaghan held firm to remain in the Ulster race.
Monaghan: S Duffy; G McQuaid, J Coyle, C Flanagan; D Freeman (capt) (0-01), V Corey, D McArdle; E Lennon, D Clerkin (0-01); J McElroy, S Gollogly (0-02), P Finlay (0-02 (2f)); T Freeman (0-01), R Ronaghan, R Woods (0-02 (1f).
Subs used: P McGuigan for McElroy, H McElroy (0-1 (1f)) for Woods.
Armagh: C McKinney; A Mallon, T McEntee, E McNulty; A Kernan, K McKeever, P Duffy; K McGeeney (0-01), P McGrane; P McKeever, B Mallon, M Mackin (0-01); S McDonnell (0-02), R Clarke (0-01), O McConville (0-5 (3f)).
Subs used: JP Donnelly for Duffy, J McEntee for Mackin.
Referee: Pat Fox (Westmeath).