Opening Round Surprises
The opening Round Robin stage of the Armagh Senior Football Championship produced a number of surprise results across all 4 groups.
The margin of victory for the defending champions Crossmaglen Rangers away at Clann Eireann 3-18 to 0-9 will raise a few eyebrows. A couple of Mel Boyce goals and a third from Alan Farrelly eased the champions, who were without Rian O’Neill to an opening win with a message we are the team to beat in the 2019 championship. Next up for Cross is another road trip to play Sarsfields next Sunday. The home side lost out to Ballymacnab 2-17 to 2-8 and will be hoping for a better start than the concession of a second minute goal to Jack Grugan which saw them trail by 4 points at half-time 1-9 to 1-5. A goal from Gavin McParland in the 55th minute helped easel the visitors to their comfortable 9 point success. A goal in each half from Sean Shelton and Colin Stevenson kept Sarsfields competitive throughout,.Scorers-Ballymacnab-Gavin McParland (1-5), Jack Grugan (1-4),
Ryan Watters (0-2),Cormac Gribben (0-1), James Gray (0-1), Rory Grugan (0-1), Pauric Gribben (0-1),
Brian McCone (0-1),Paul Meegan (0-1) Sarsfields- Paul McGeown (0-4), Colin Stevenson (1-0), Sean Skelton (1-0), Eamon McGeown (0-2),Paul McGaughey (0-2),
The ‘Nab will host Clann Eireann on Friday night ahead of their last group fixture away to Cross on Sept 8.
Granemore produced a shock result as they defeated a fancied Armagh Harps by the minimum margin 0-15 to 1-11. A last minute fisted Jason O’Neill point gave Granemore a terrific derby win against a Harps side who missed goal chances including a first half penalty as Kevin Kelly saved from Gareth Swift as the sides went in at the break, with the home side ahead 7-6. Swift palmed to the net midway through the second half to put Harps ahead but their resilient hosts hit back and when a long range Liam Doyle free squared the match a draw looked the likely outcome until O’Connor’s heroics at the death.Scorers-Granemore: Jason O’Neill (0-5), Cathal O’Hare (0-3), Liam Doyle (0-2) Pete Carr (0-2), Brendan Boylan (0-1), Louis Hughes (0-1), Kieran Toner (0-1) Armagh Harps: Gareth Swift (1-3), Tom O’Kane (0-5), Karol Loughran (0-2), Charlie Vernon (0-1).
Granemore will be buoyed by this opening win as they travel to Silverbridge on Friday night. The Bridge got their campaign off to a winning start with an impressive 2-13 to 0-6 away win at St Peter’s with Aaron Duffy scoring and then setting up Jarly Óg for the second goal. A second win for either side on Friday night will see them book their passage to the next phase of championship action. Harps will need to win away to St Peter’s to get their championship push back on the rails.
Renowned championship battlers Madden pulled off the biggest result of the weekend action as they recorded a very good 1-9 to 0-6 win over visitors Maghery. Level at 4 each at the short whistle the decisive score arrived on the fiftieth minute as Aaron McKenna slotted home a penalty following a foul on Niall Smyth. Maghery, without the services of Stefan Forker, Ronan Lappin and Stephen Cusack could only muster two pointed second half frees Scorers :Madden-Niall Grimley (0-5), Aron McKenna (1-0), Conor Grimley (0-2) Ciaran Rafferty (0-1) Maghery Aidan Forker (0-4), Paul Forker (0-1), John Mackle (0-1) Next up for Madden is a visit to Dromintee who needed an improved second half performance the get past a battling Annaghmore side 0-12 to 1-6.
An eleventh minute Phelim Savage goal for St Pat’s was their interval lead 1-4 to 0-4 away to Culloville. Four unanswered points, a brace apiece for Ross McQuillan and Kieran Hoey at the start of the second half gave the visitors control of the game in which Aidan Nugent top scored for the winners with 0-4 and Shane Conlon supplying their final point. Next up for the Pats are Pearse Og who are in Cullyhanna at 2pm next Sunday having been involved in the last match of the opening round on Monday night (tonight) against Killeavy.