Armagh Football Championship Update

September 26, 2016

Senior Championship Quarter-Finals

Armagh Harps 1-13 Crossmaglen Rangers 1-16

Harps gave Rangers a huge fright in Keady but the champions regained their composure in the final quarter to put the game to bed after coming from 3 points down. The teams were level on 4 occasions in the opening 22 minutes but points from Rico Kelly (2), Aaron and Tony Kernan helped Cross lead 10-6 at the break. With Conor White a constant threat at full forward and Tom O’Kane in free taking form, wind assisted Harps were just a point behind when substitute Brian McShane raced clear of the Rangers rearguard to slot the ball past Hearty for a lead goal 1-9 to 0-10. When Conn Stevenson got in a similar situation moments later Hearty managed to save his goal attempt at the expense of a point. Two Aaron Kernan frees sandwiched in between by a great Karl Loughran point had it 1-11 to 0-12 with 10 minutes left and Champions Cross making the changes from the bench which transformed the game. In literally their first real passage of play in the game where they strung more than 5 passes together Rangers cut through the Harps defence ending with Tony Kernan blasting to the net. In a flash Aaron Kernan, Kyle Carragher and Oisin O’Neill tagged on points to make it 1-15 to 1-11 and the champions were into the last 4. Joe McElroy pulled a point back which was cancelled out by a Diarmuid McConville point as substitute Stephen Kernan saw red for an off the ball incident. A mass brawl broke out involving both teams, substitutes, benches and some supporters and when it all quietened down there was still 29 players on the field and Brian McShane grabbed the last point of the match for a Harps side that lacked a winning belief when it came to it. Cross as always will show improvement from what was by their standards a poor, yet winning performance.

Ballymacnab 0-9 Clann Eireann 0-10

Clann Eireann confirmed their superiority over Ballymacnab by defeating them for the second time in the championship. The ‘Nab were on the back foot as early as the second minute when they were reduced to 14 men and were always chasing the game. There were 2 more sending off’s one from each side as the Lurgan boys held sway. Three points clear with 5 minutes to go the winners were made sweat all the way as their opponents cut the deficit to the minimum but could not find a late leveller to force extra-time. Clann Eireann will not be daunted by a semi-final meeting with Maghery in the Athletic Grounds next Friday night.

Wolfe Tones 1-10 v St Patrick’s 1-16

A Mal Mackin goal on 7 minutes set St Pat’s on the road to victory over Wolfe Tones. The Tones were off the ace from the outset following their Monday night win over Forkhill. The loss of the suspended Finnian Moriarty, following his dismissal in the Forkhill win was a big blow as Pat’s led 1-7 to 0-3 at the short whistle. Wind assisted in the second half the eventual winners with Hoey, Connolly, Casey, Conlon all troubling the scorekeeper were 1-13 to 0-6 ahead by the 49th minute but failed to add to their tally after that. James Doyle, their main point scorer, rattled the Pat’s net with 3 minutes left on the clock. The wasteful winners will have to sharpen up as they face champions Cross next Sunday night in the Athletic Grounds for a place in the final.

Dromintee 2-5 Maghery 1-15

When Dromintee raced into a 1-2 lead inside 5 minutes an upset looked on the cards but that was as good as it got for the youthful south Armagh who failed to add to their tally for the remainder of the half as Maghery scored 7 points without reply as the Forkers, Aidan and Stefan, and Stephen Cusack got on the scoresheet. Maghery extended their lead to 0-11 to 1-3 when Cathal McKenna fisted a Dromintee goal. The icing on the cake for Maghery was a 51 minute converted penalty by Cusack as the Loughshore men ran out comfortable rather than convincing 7 point winners.

Intermediate Championship Semi-Final

Silverbridge 1-11 Tullysarran 1-13

For last year’s Junior Champions Tullysarran the dream continues as they shocked hot favourites Silverbridge to reach the Intermediate final. Man of the Match, Edward Mallon, served notice early on as he got the opening score of the game, a goal. Bridge responded with 6 unanswered points. Carragher levelled matters with a long range free 0-8 to 1-5 two minutes left in the half but Tullysarran finished strong with points from Mallon and O’Riordan to go in ahead by 2. Paddy Reel reduced the deficit to the minimum but 2 more Mallon points and one from Kernaghan and Corrigan stretched the lead to 5 before two Brendan Burns points left a green flag between them with 5 minutes left on the clock. Tullysarran were not to be denied as they defended heroically then added 2 more points before Bridge substitute, Cormac McEvoy, fired home a consolation goal at the death.

Junior Championship Semi-Final

Belleek 1-10 St Pat’s 11 2-14

St Patrick’s Seconds, who have been knocking on the door for a few years finally made the breakthrough to reach their first ever Junior Championship final following their 7 point win over Belleek. The Cullyhanna boys will be spectators in the Athletic Grounds on Monday night to see who will provide their final opponents as Lissummon take on Clonmore in the other semi-final.

It was the winners ability to respond to Belleek’s scoring bursts in the opening half that paved the way for victory. Three points clear inside 10 minutes Ciaran Nugent, Shane McKeever (2) and Brendan Nugent, Belleek rattled off 6 unanswered points but a Kyle Reid goal restored parity before a McKeever free, and a point from play from Reid made it a 2 point game but Belleek regained the initiative when Belleek goaled to give them a one point lead as the short whistle beckoned. Tellingly Pat’s would head to the dressing rooms with a lead as the impressive Paul Donnelly broke through to fire a second goal to the Belleek net to leave it 2-6 to 1-7 at half-time.

The wind assisted Pat’s quickly exerted their authority as points from McKeever, Donnelly and Nugent stretched the gap to 5, a margin that the eventual winners were able to maintain was the team’s traded points until Brendan Nugent scored the last point for a 2-14 to 1-11 victory. The elusive 3 pointer Belleek needed to get back into the game never arrived against a very resolute defence that ensured that it would be glory for the Pat’s who are back in the final after a 52 year absence.