Added agony for 13 man Armagh

March 14, 2016

It turned out to be a real day of agony for Armagh as they were deprived of a very vital league point in” added time “  as Galway snatched a draw through a Danny Cummins’ fisted goal in the seventh minute of injury-time even though Tyrone referee Sean Hurson had signalled four minutes of stoppage time.

Reduced to 14 men following the second half dismissal of Ethan Rafferty for a second yellow card, with the sides level at 0-10 Armagh raced into a 1-15 to 0-10, on 57 minutes. If Armagh could hit 1-6 without reply as Galway failed to score for 25 minutes the Westerners would finish strongly with an unanswered 1-5 to earn a dramatic share of the spoils against a home side that had lost Aidan Forker to an unnecessary second yellow card, for failing to release the ball. It was referee Hurson who bore the brunt of the home anger as his four minutes turned into 7 and having thought that they had weathered the storm following a terrific save by keeper Paddy Morrison from Damien Comer’s flick the Harps man was beaten when Sean Denvir’s high ball into the square was fisted in at the back post by Danny Cummins to salvage a precious promotion point for the visitors.

The heroics of home player Stefan Campbell who finished with 1-9 were lost in the manner in which Armagh were deprived of a very important win in terms of relegation. In a lively opening half the teams went in on level terms at 0-9 apiece. Armagh were 3-1 up in 9 minutes, courtesy of Campbell, and after being let off the hook by a clear goal chance missed by Joe McElroy, the Tribesmen hit back with levelling points from Hoare, Varley and Walsh. In a mini scoring spree Gavin McParland gave Armagh back the lead and Campbell had the crowd in awe as he rattled over 3 points inside 2 minutes. Galway finished the half strongly outscoring the hosts 6-2 with Damien Comer, Hoare, Liam Silke, Shane Walsh, Paul Conroy and a late leveller from Gary Sice after Campbell’s seventh point had edged Armagh back in front.

Shane Walsh scored straight from the throw-in to put Galway ahead for the first and only time in the game but Armagh were soon level on the scoreboard but not numerically following the dismissal of Ethan Rafferty. The dismissal sparked the hosts into life as points from Colm Watters (2), Brendan Donaghy and Miceal McKenna, added to by a converted penalty by Campbell after he was pulled down by Cathal Sweeney and the star man clipped over his ninth point to leave Armagh 1-15 to 0-10 ahead after 57 minutes

But then it all started to go wrong for Armagh and once Galway got a bit of momentum going they cast aside their barred scoring spell to eke out the most unlikely of draws in controversial circumstances.

ARMAGH: P Morrison; S Connell, C Vernon, S Heffron; M Shields, A Forker, J McElroy; B Donaghy (0-1), E Rafferty (0-1); C O’Hanlon, M McKenna, R Grugan; C Watters (0-2), S Campbell (1-9), G McParland (0-2).Subs: A Findon for McParland (40), T Kernan for Watters (59), C McKeever for Grugan (68), J Hall for McKenna (70).

GALWAY: M Breathnach; D Wynne, D Kyne, C Sweeney; L Silke (0-1), G O’Donnell, J Heaney; F O Curraoin, P Conroy (0-2); T Flynn, E Hoare (0-4), G Sice (0-1); S Walsh (0-4), A Varley (0-1), D Comer (0-1). Subs: S Denvir for Wynne (49), D Cummins (1-1) for Varley (49), G Bradshaw for Kyne (63), E Brannigan for Sice (64)

Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone).

Results from elsewhere in the division means that Armagh are still bottom of the table on scoring despite being level on 3 points with Meath who were beaten by Tyrone and Laois who played out a very high scoring 1-22 to 5-10 draw with Derry. Armagh’s next opponents Tyrone in Omagh on Easter Saturday night are already assured of an instant return to Division One with 5 wins from 5. Cavan beat Fermanagh to keep the Ernsmen on 4 points which is still in range of the bottom 3. With Armagh going to high flying Tyrone, Laois have to go to in-form Cavan and Meath visit Derry and Fermanagh have to go West to Galway. The penultimate round of fixtures is the one that could tell the relegation tale as all four relegation candidates are on the road and anything picked up points wise will be a huge boost.

Sunday’s late goal could have very serious consequences as the point dropped would have kept them out of the two relegation places with 2 rounds of fixtures to go.