All 3 Armagh Champions crash out
It was a very poor weekend for Armagh football as the counties interest in Ulster Club Football came to an end as the Senior, Intermediate and Junior champions exited their various mens championships at the quarter final stages.
On Saturday Senior champions Armagh Harps crashed out to Derrygonnelly Harps (Fermanagh) who claimed their maiden Ulster club SFC victory at Brewster Park 2-8 to 1-8 as both teams finished with just 13 men.
The three-in-a-row Fermanagh champions came flying out of the blocks to lead by 2-1 to 0-0 after 10 minutes after Paul Ward tucked away an early penalty which had been awarded for a foul on Gary McKenna before Man of the Match Conal Jones capitalised on a poor kick-out to fire home the second goal. It was 2-4 to 0-4 at the short whistle with 2 seperate incidents on the 40th minute leading to the Armagh side down to 13 against 14 and very little changing on the scoreboard as Derrygonnely led 2-7 to 0-6 with 7 minutes left on the clock. Numerical parity was restored with 2 minutes to go but it’s like Ultan Lennon’s goal arrived all too late to save the Armagh city side.
On Sunday Ballyhegan in the Junior and Killeavy in the Intermediate both enjoyed the home comforts of the Athletic Grounds but that was as good as it got for both Armagh clubs. In the curtain raiser Ballyhegan were in control 7-4 ahead against Doire Trasna (Derry)with 4 minutes left to the short whistle when Conal McKeever saw his goal attempt come back off the crossbar. The Derry champions swept downfield from that miss with deadly consequences as Dee Sturrett netted and from the kick -out Caolan O’Connell rifled home a second goal which helped them lead 2-4 to 0-8 at the break.
With the score standing at 2-6 to 0-9 with 12 minutes left on the clock McKeever again was the central character as he stepped up to a penalty kick to level proceedings but blazed the ball over the bar. The Trasna response was every bit as deadly as that of the opening half as Sean McNought grabbed a third goal before a second three pointer for O’Connell sealed a 4-9 to 0-10 victory.
In the second game a depleted Killeavy outfit from their Armagh Championship winning 15 will rue not being further ahead at the interval than a 1-6 to 0-6 lead with a 19th minute Paul Quinn goal the main score. A Tony McNamee goal on 45 minutes drew the Donegal champions level followed by a lead point from a Cathal McGettigan free. Paddy Hannaway levelled for Killeavy but McNamee edged Milford back in front. A Conor O’Neill leveller looked to have set up extra-time but that man McNamee fired over a terrific winning score as Killeavy bowed out 1-13 to 1-12 clearly missing the huge influences of the absent trio of Ciaron O’Hanlon, Caolan McConville and Raymie Teggart.