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Last-minute goal snatches draw as Armagh boost survival hopes

Niall Grimley was the hero as Tyrone dropped their first point of the campaign.

Tyrone's Colm Cavanagh tackles Armagh's Joe Mc Elroy.
Tyrone's Colm Cavanagh tackles Armagh's Joe Mc Elroy.

Tyrone 0-13

Armagh 1-10

A LATE GOAL from substitute Niall Grimley secured Armagh a valuable and unlikely draw against their bitter rivals Tyrone in Healy Park tonight.

Tyrone were in control for most of the encounter but Grimley palmed Tony Kernan’s high ball to the net in time added on to give Armagh a major boost in their quest to avoid relegation to Division 3.

Kieran McGeeney’s men scrapped hard throughout at the drenched Omagh venue but were outclassed by the unbeaten leaders for lengthy spells.

Tyrone moved the ball at speed, no mean feat considering the amount of surface water on the field, allowing star man Ronan O’Neill and Connor McAliskey to cause plenty of problems for Armagh’s rearguard.

O’Neill excelled for Tyrone, as he demonstrated his balanced skill-set; his powerful running, excellent distribution and clinical finishing on show.

A buoyant Armagh will now travel Derry next week with their Division 2 status still to fight for.

Mickey Harte’s side, who secured promotion back to Division 1 with a win against Meath a fornight ago, will be looking to keep their unbeaten streak going when they travel to Fermanagh for another Ulster battle next weekend.

The first half was a typically physical affair between the two as both sides struggled to deal with the atrocious handling conditions.

The game began at a blistering pace with impressive Red Hand centre-forward O’Neill putting the ball over the bar after just 20 seconds.

It was a bittersweet beginning for Harte though as he lost nephew Peter Harte through injury after the Errigal Ciarán clubman picked up a knock in the build-up to O’Neill’s score.

Chances were at a premium, as the free counts began the build, although there were a couple of glorious first-half scores, including a brace of points from the boot of Tyrone wing-forward Richard Donnelly.

The second one was reminiscent of Brian Dooher, as he boomed the ball over, off the outside of his right boot, from the 45-metre line.

The first 35 minutes were tight but Tyrone found scores slightly easier to come by, and it was that edge that saw them ahead by 0-8 to 0-6 at the break.

The two teams scuffle as Colm Cavanagh is carded The two teams scuffle as Tyrone's Colm Cavanagh receives a yellow card. Source: Presseye/Matt Mackey/INPHO

O’Neill began the second period as he did the first, showing strength and intelligence to point from Armagh’s 21-metre line.

A couple of fine frees from the boot of Stefan Campbell kept McGeeney’s men in touch but the league leaders still had them at arm’s length thanks to two placed balls from the left boot of Darren McCurry.

Colm Watters, who scored two points from play in the first period but was starved of possession in the second, was then sent off for a second yellow with just over 10 minutes to go.

Armagh now had a mountain to climb but substitute Tony Kernan gave them a bit of hope with a booming score from play just afterwards.

Harte’s side seemed to be managed the game well in its final stages to secure a three-point win but Grimley’s late heroics ensured the shares were spoiled.

Scorers for Tyrone: Ronan O Neill (0-5, 3f), Connor McAliskey (0-3), Richard Donnelly (0-2), Darren McCurry (0-2, 2f), Mark Bradley (0-1).

Scorers for Armagh: Stefan Campbell (0-6, 6f), Niall Grimley (1-0), Colm Watters (0-2), T Kernan, A Forker (0-1).

Tyrone

1. Niall Morgan (Edendork)

2. Aidan McCrory (Errigal Ciarán)
3. Pádraig Hampsey (Coalisland)
4. Cathal McCarron (Dromore)

5. Niall Sludden (Dromore)
6. Rory Brennan (Trillick)
7. Tiernan McCann (Killaclogher)

8. Colm Cavanagh (Moy)
9. Mattie Donnelly (Trillick)

10. Peter Harte (Errigal Ciarán)
11. Ronan O’Neill (Omagh)
12. Richard Donnelly (Trillick)

13. Darren McCurry (Edendork)
14. Sean Cavanagh (Moy)
15. Connor McAliskey (Clonoe)

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Subs:

17. Mark Bradley (Killaclogher) for Harte (4)
25. Barry Tierney (Omagh) for Sludden (52)
19. Conall McCann (Killaclogher) for McAliskey (57)
23. Padraig McNulty (Dungannon) for R Donnelly (61)

Armagh

1. Patrick Morrison (Armagh Harps)

2. Andy Mallon (Parnells)
3. Charlie Vernon (Armagh Harps)
4. Shea Heffron (Clann Eireann)

5. Mark Shields (Whitecross)
18. Sean Connell (Cullyhan)
7. Aidan Forker (Maghery)

20. Joe McElroy (Armagh Harps)
9. Ethan Rafferty (St Colmcille’s Grange)

10. Rory Grugan (Ballymacnab Round Towers)
11. Miceal McKenna (St Colmcille’s Grange)
12. Ciaron O’Hanlon (Killeavy)

13. Colm Watters (Cullaville)
14. Stefan Campbell (Clan na Gael)
15. Gavin McParland (Ballymacnab Round Towers)

Subs

24. Tony Kernan (Crossmaglen Rangers) for O’Hanlon (ht)
23. Niall Grimley (Madden) for Rafferty (59)
8. Aaron Findon (St Peter’s) for McKenna (65)
22. Stefan Forker (Maghery) for McParland (65).

Referee: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon).

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Alan Waldron

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