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Armagh robbed of victory

February 6, 2017

NFL – Sligo 1-14 v Armagh 2-11

Armagh were robbed of an opening victory 6 minutes into added-on time when Roscommon referee Paddy Neilan awarded a penalty to Sligo to the bewilderment of both sets of supporters which was dispatched with aplomb by Adrian Marren to rob Armagh of a deserving victory as the sides finished on level terms 1-14 to 2-11.

Armagh had made all the running against a resolute and gallant home side who trailed by 6 points but kept on battling against the odds and were more than delighted not to look their gift horse in the mouth when all had looked lost for Niall Carews charges.

Armagh began minus their named skipper Aidan Forker who was replaced by Shea Heffron.

Ethan Rafferty was the star of the opening half for Armagh who were helped on by a large travelling support saw their full forward score 1-3 which helped his team to a slender 1 point interval lead of 1-5 to 0-7. Armagh led by 2 points but then Sligo hit back through Murphy and Marren to lead 4-3. Rafferty fired over the equaliser and then finished to the net superbly immediately followed by a Campbell point and it was double scores 1-5 to 0-4 in favor of the visitors. Sligo finished the half strongly with points from Breheny, Marren and Murphy to go to the dressing rooms only trailing by the minimum.

Ciaron O’Hanlon replaced White for the second half in a welcome return to the Orchard colours. Armagh responded to Sligo’s opening second half point with an unanswered 1-3. Oisin O’Neill and a brace from Stefan Campbell was followed by a Mark Shields goal. Substitute Jamie Clarke on for Oisin Mac Iomhair linked up with Campbell to set up Whitecross corner back Shields for a great goal 2-8 to 0-8 and Armagh looked home and hosed. Sligo scored a brace in response to the goal with Campbell interrupting their flow with Armagh’s ninth point. Ethan Rafferty pointed to keep the 6 point lead intact 2-10 to 0-10. Coen, Marreen and Murphy points kept Sligo in the hunt as Armagh seemed content to defend their advantage. Ethan Rafferty took Armagh’s tally to 2-11 and back too a 3 point advantage as 5 minutes of added-on time was flashed up. Over 6 minutes had elapsed when the ref awarded the levelling penalty to deny Armagh a deserved winning start.

Armagh mixed the good with the bad and played well in patches and more than deserved to win the points. There can be more positives than negatives to be taken out of the result which in the end was settled by a refereeing decision. Next up on Sunday at the Athletic Grounds for Armagh are Laois who took a pasting in Portlaois from Louth 2-16 to 0-10. For Armagh there is never an easy game against Laois and home wins in the league are a must. Sligo head to Tipperary who had to pull out all the stops to defeat Antrim, as Louth entertain Longford who were 1-12 to 0-10 winners at home to Offaly.

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