Armagh claim first Ulster victory in five years with extra-time win over Down in goal-fest
Declan Bogue reports from Pairc Elser
FIVE GOALS IN total, a first Ulster championship win for Kieran McGeeney as Armagh manager, extra-time and a red card controversy. As much as people love dressing up Gaelic football as having enormous issues, days like these show that there is plenty to appreciate too.
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A game that had more twists and plot turns than a Hitchcockian thriller ended with Armagh leaving just enough venom at the end to inflict the deadly sting. Andrew Murnin hadn’t played a single minute of football for his county this season so far, but he was brought on for the second half of extra time here.
His first touch was a brilliant fetch, swivel and point. His second was incredible. Rian O’Neill floated a ball in and while it caught out Murnin’s marker Conor Poland entirely, Murnin still gambled by attempting a flick rather than catching the ball.
As it turned out, his trick fooled Down substitute goalkeeper Mark Hynes and it nestled in the top corner of the net.
Down still had something in them and when Paul Devlin’s delivery sailed all the way through a thicket of Armagh men on the line to hit the net, it left the minimum of scores between them.
However, their brave efforts just came up short. Pat Havern threw himself at a loose ball from the final kickout and many a day you would see a forward surrounded by a phalanx of defenders given as a free in. Referee Anthony Nolan said otherwise.
Armagh’s game. They now face Cavan in the Ulster semi-final on 2 June.
Scorers for Armagh: R O’Neill 0-8, (4f), A Murnin 1-1, M Shields 1-0, S Campbell, R Kennedy, J Clarke 0-2 each, A Nugent 0-1.
Scorers for Down: P Devlin 1-2 (2f), D O’Hare 1-2 (2f), P Havern 1-1, J Johnston 0-2, (1f), J Guinness 0-2, B O’Hagan, C Poland, C Francis 0-1 each.
1. Blaine Hughes (Carrickcruppin)
2. Patrick Burns (Forkhill)
3. Aaron McKay (Dromintee)
4. Paul Hughes (Crossmaglen)
5. Ryan Kennedy (Ballymacnab)
6. Brendan Donaghy (Clonmore)
7. Aidan Forker (Maghery)
8. Charlie Vernon (Armagh Harps)
9. Jarlath Óg Burns (Silverbridge)
10. Aidan Nugent (Cullyhanna)
11. Ethan Rafferty (Grange)
12. Jemar Hall (Forkhill)
13. Rory Grugan (Ballymacnab)
14. Rian O’Neill (Crossmaglen)
15. Jamie Clarke (Crossmaglen)
J Morgan for P Burns (7)
M Shields for Vernon (31)
J McElroy for Hughes (43)
S Campbell for Rafferty (46)
S Sheridan for Kennedy (65)
G McCabe for Hall (Black card, 67)
Vernon on for Forker (FT)
B Crealey for Sheridan (77)
A Murnin for McCabe (HT of ET)
Rafferty for Grugan (87)
1. Rory Burns (Castlewellan)
2. Darren O’Hagan (Clonduff)
3. Ruairi Wells (Bryansford)
4. Gerard Collins (Downpatrick)
5. Ryan McAleenan (Warrenpoint)
6. Kevin McKernan (Burren)
7. Daniel Guinness (Carryduff)
8. Caolan Mooney (Rostrevor)
9. Conor Poland (Longstone)
10. Conor Francis (Bredagh)
11. Jerome Johnston (Kilcoo)
12. Conor Maginn (Bryansford)
13. Pat Havern (Saval)
14. Donal O’Hare (Burren)
15. Connaire Harrison (Glasdrumman)
J Guinness for Wells (26)
B O’Hagan for Maginn (47)
P Devlin for Johnston (60)
C Quinn for Havern (60)
O McCabe for Poland (67)
R Mallon (on to make it 15-a-side)
Poland for J Guinness (84)
Havern for Mallon (86)
Johnston for O’Hare (89)
Referee: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow)
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