Cathal Noonan/INPHO Brian Hurley scored two goals for Cork on Sunday against Armagh.
Dropping Down

Cork come crashing down to Division 3 for the first time despite one-point victory in Armagh

The Rebel County were relegated before throw-in following Clare’s win over Tipperary earlier on Sunday.

Armagh 1-14

Cork 3-9

Orla Bannon reports from the Athletic Grounds

CORK PLAYED THEIR hearts out, but Clare’s win in Tipp meant the trap-door still opened big and wide to sent the Rebels crashing down to Division Three for the first time in their history.

This was a much-improved display from Cork, in front of 3,425 in the Athletic Grounds, but poor results earlier in the campaign left them in a helpless position where their fate was not in their own hands.

Armagh, already safe in Division Two, had little to play for and it certainly looked like that in a sluggish opening half from them.

Cork were good value for their 2-6 to 0-6 half-time lead with two early goals from Brian Hurley the highlights of a whirlwind start when they hit an unanswered 2-3 in an eight-minute spell.

Even when Armagh drew level for the first and only time in the game through Rory Grugan’s free in the 67th minute, Cork kicked on with late points from subs Cian Kiely and Damien Gore to clinch a hollow victory.

It had all looked so good for the Rebels at half time, leading by six with Tipperary leading Clare by five points in Thurles.

Rory Grugan Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Rory Grugan scored six points for Armagh at the Athletic Grounds. Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

Hurley’s first goal came in the fourth minute. He cut in along the sideline, exchanged quick passes with Mark Collins before burying the ball low to the far corner.

He skinned Paul Hughes again for the second, prompting Armagh to switch markers, with another low left-footed finish to help Cork into a useful 2-3 to 0-1 lead.

The home side did have a good spell just before the break landing three out of four scores through Jemar Hall and Rory Grugan (two) to close the gap to six.

Cork found a lot of joy cutting Armagh open clean through the middle and Eoghan McSweeney (two), Cillian O’Hanlon and Mark Collins stroked over lovely points with the wind at their backs.

Armagh lost Niall Grimley to a black card for a foot trip in first-half stoppage time, but going down to 14 players didn’t unsettle them in the early stages of the second period.

They outscored Cork by six points to one in the third quarter with Rian O’Neill, Jamie Clarke and James Morgan all brought off the bench to inject more urgency into Armagh.

O’Neill landed a free and a mark with two Grugan frees and a fisted Joe McElroy point making things interesting with Cork only scoring one point in the first 26 minutes of the second half.

Just as Armagh came to life, Cork hit back with a brilliantly-taken goal from Kevin Crowley. The Cork defender bursting through the tackle and a low finish from 21metres out.

Instantly, Armagh responded with a raiding attack and McElroy was fouled in the square, with Jamie Clarke stepping up to bury the ball low inside White’s left-hand post.

Grugan’s free brought Armagh level, but Cork rallied with the late points to win the battle, but it was too little too late for their Division Two league hopes.

Scorers for Armagh: Rory Grugan 0-6 (0-5), Jamie Clarke 1-0 (pen), Rian O’Neill 0-3 (2f, one mark), Joe McElroy, Aidan Forker, Jarly Og Burns, Jemar Hall, Niall Grimley 0-1 each

Scorers for Cork: Brian Hurley 2-0, Kevin Crowley 1-0, Mark Collins 0-3 (1f), Eoghan McSweeney 0-2, Cillian O’Hanlon, John O’Rourke, Damien Gore, Cian Kiely 0-1 each


1. Blaine Hughes

2. Patrick Burns
6. Brendan Donaghy
4. Paul Hughes 

5. Ryan Kennedy
19. Joe McElroy
7. Aidan Forker

8. Jarlath Og Burns
9. Niall Grimley 

10. Rory Grugan
11. Charlie Vernon
12. Jemar Hall

23. Ethan Rafferty
14. Pearse Casey
24. Stefan Campbell

Substitutes: 15 Jamie Clarke for Campbell (29), 14 Rian O’Neill for Vernon (44), 17 James Morgan for Hughes (51), 26 Aidan Nugent for Casey (58)


1. Mark White

2. Kevin Flahive
3. Thomas Clancy
4. Conor Dennehy

5. Kevin Crowley
6. Tomas Crowley
7. Mattie Taylor

8. Ian Maguire
9. Cillian O’Hanlon

10. Eoghan McSweeney
24. John O’Rourke
12. Ruairi Deane

26. Brian Hurley
14. Mark Collins
21. Sean White

Substitutes: 23. Kevin O’Driscoll for O’Rourke (26), 20. Cian Kiely for Taylor (HT), 25. Damien Gore for Hurley (48), 15. Peter Kelleher for McSweeney (66), 19. Stephen Cronin for White (70)

Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois).

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