All came together

March 6, 2017

NFL Div 3 Armagh 6-22 Offaly 0-10

Six goals, 12 different scorers, a 30 point victory as Armagh put it all together in the demolition of Offaly at the Athletic Grounds. Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney will be delighted that his charges, who had showed glimpses of this potential in their 3 previous league games, eliminated the defensive mistakes that cost his team 3 league points and are now right back in the promotion race with 3 games to go.

Armagh came out with all guns blazing and were 1-7 to no score ahead in 9 minutes. Midfielder Stephen Sheridan opened the scoring followed by points from Stefan Campbell, Charlie Vernon, Anto Duffy, Rory Grugan and only 4 minutes gone. A minute late defender Niall Rowland finished with aplomb for the games first goal Andrew Murnin and Campbell added further points before the shell shocked visitors replied with 4 unanswered points of their own. The Faithful mini-revival was quashed when Murnin placed Campbell for the games second goal and a 9 point lead 2-7 to 0-4 on 19 minutes. Niall Grimley and Murnin increased the home lead before Offaly grabbed their fifth point immediately canceled by a Jamie Clarke point quickly followed by a third goal from the boot of Niall Grimley. Campbell finished the first half scoring with a superb point to leave it 3-11 to 0-6 at half-time.

Armagh began the second half as they did the first with Grugan opening the scoring followed by a converted Campbell free. Beleaguered Offaly saw Murnin fist home the fourth goal to make it a 19 point game 4-13 to 0-6. A Clarke point from play was followed by a another goal as Grugan finished off a great team goal for his teams fifth goal.

Substitute Gavin McParland got in on the scoring act with a point and another followed from Grimley. Hapless Offaly registered their first and second points of the half in quick succession but a Grugan free interrupted their flow as he was then replaced by the returning from suspension Aidan Forker. Anto Duffy had the distinction of hitting Armagh’s sixth goal before another substitute Oisin MacIomhair (on for Clarke) got on the score sheet as Offaly replied with their ninth point immediately canceled by a Ben Crealey point and as 5 minutes of added time was flashed up Offaly got their tenth and last point. The home side through Sheridan and Crealey brought the scoring to a halt which left a 30 point winning margin 6-22 to 0-10.

Armagh should not be getting carried away by this result as Pat Flanagan’s Offaly were awful bad on the day never recovering from that early 10 point deficit as Armagh hit them with 3 pointers any time they looked like getting into the game particularly in the opening half. Armagh on Sunday clinically finished the goal chances they created a thing that had cost them in their three previous league games.

Still this big win for Armagh could have not been better timed as the confidence it will give them for the next game away to table toppers unbeaten Louth in Drogheda on Sunday week March 19.

Louth recorded win number 4 with a 2-11 to 1-10 home win over Antrim and have Armagh at home Tipperary away and Sligo at home to complete their programme. Armagh head to Drogheda before finishing off with home games against Antrim and Tipperary. The Tipp game at home to Longford was called off but the hurling game on the same pitch was played all of which has put Armagh second in the table as the crunch games approach. It is likely that the Tipp v Longford game will be played next weekend.

Armagh are in a healthy position following a shaky start to the League, they are free scoring (a 30 point win fairly boost the scoring averages, remember it was because of that, Armagh got relegated from Division Two maybe this time it might have the opposite effect serve as a promotion earner) and there is serious competition for places with the square pegs for round holes diminishing with every outing. With a week’s break coming up, Armagh are in a great position to launch their bid for a return to Division Two but Louth seeking back to back promotion’s will not be easily overcome as Armagh have found out in their last few League meetings. Armagh scorers-Stefan Campbell 1-04,Niall Grimley 1-03, Rory Grugan 1-03,Andrew Murnin 1-02, Anto Duffy 1-01,Niall Rowland 1-00, Stephen Sheridan 0-2, Jamie Clarke 0-02, Ben Crealey 0-02, Charlie Vernon 0-01, Gavin McParland 0-01,Oisin McKeever 0-01