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Dublin: 2°C Monday 12 April 2021


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COULD ARMAGH OVERCOME Ulster champions Donegal and book a spot in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-finals?

It’s the first of a double-header of football quarter-finals in Croke Park and we’re following the action all the way.

As always, we’d love to hear your comments. Send them to, tweet them @TheScoreGAA, find us on Facebook, or leave a comment below.

Hello and welcome to today’s coverage of both All-Ireland Senior Football Championship quarter-finals live from Croke Park.

Arriving at the stadium ridiculously early means I have heard the Four of Us practise ‘Mary’ about ten times now and the song is now burned into my brain.

And they’re playing it again!

Thankfully, the rain seems to have scared them off.

Now, back to the reason we’re here, the football.

Here is the Armagh team as named in today’s programme:

1. Philip McEvoy (Dromintee)

2. James Morgan (Crossmaglen Rangers)
3. Charlie Vernon (Armagh Harps)
4. Andy Mallon (Parnells)

5. Mark Shields (Whites Cross)
6. Brendan Donaghy (Clonmore)
7. Aaron Kernan (Crossmaglen Rangers)

8. Stephen Harold (Carrickcruppen)
9. Aaron Findon (St Peter’s)

10. Aidan Forker (Maghery)
11. Kevin Dyas (Dromintee)
12. Tony Kernan (Crossmaglen Rangers)

13. Kyle Carragher (Crossmaglen Rangers)
14. Stefan Campbell (Clann na Gael)
15. Jamie Clarke (Captain, Crossmaglen Rangers)

And not forgetting the Ulster champions:

1. Paul Durcan (The Four Masters)

2. Eamonn McGee (Ghaoth Dobhair)
3. Neil McGee (Ghaoth Dobhair)
4. Frank McGlynn (Glenfin)

5. Anthony Thompson (Naomh Conaill)
6. Karl Lacey (The Four Masters)
7. Paddy McGrath (Ardara)

8. Neil Gallagher (Glenswilly)
9. Odhrán Mac Niallais (Ghaoth Dobhair)

10. Christy Toye (Naomh Mícheál)
11. Leo McLoone (Naomh Conaill)
12. Ryan McHugh (Chíll Chartha)

13. Patrick McBrearty (Chíll Chartha)
14. Michael Murphy (Captain, Glenswilly)
15. Colm McFadden (Naomh Mícheál)

And Armagh are the first team out of the dressing rooms. They Orchard will be warming up into the Canal End.

But it didn’t take Donegal long to follow them out.

Croke Park filling up nicely now and there’s even a smattering of Dublin fans on the Hill over two hours before their game.

Just minutes to throw-in here and thankfully the sun has come out again.

Just the one change to the named teams with 19. Finnian Moriarty coming in for James Morgan at corner back.

And we’re under way

First chance of the game falls to Donegal but McBrearty’s effort goes wide.

Donegal 0-1 Armagh 0-0:

3mins – And it’s first blood to the Ulster champions, Michael Murphy tapping over a free from close range.

Donegal 0-1 Armagh 0-0:

4 mins – Armagh with a great chance to reply but Jamie Clarke somehow sends it wide when it looked easier to score.

Donegal 0-1 Armagh 0-0:

7mins: Armagh dominating all the possession so far but with nothing to show for it on the scoreboard as yet. Donegal doing a good job of closing down their men in defence.

Donegal 0-1 Armagh 0-1:

8mins: Armagh finally on the scoreboard with a speculative effort from Tony Kernan but it went over.

Donegal 0-1 Armagh 0-1:

9mins: Not quite sure what’s going on down the Hill end as it was happening off the ball and now there’s handbags in midfield.

Donegal 0-1 Armagh 0-1:

11mins: Absolute carnage here with Armagh manger Paul Grimley getting involved too.

A football match might break out soon.

Yellow card for Aaron Findon at the end of it all.

Armagh 0-2 Donegal 0-1 :

13mins: Armagh take, I’m going to say deserved lead, with Aaron Kernan landing a close-range free.

Armagh 0-2 Donegal 0-1 :

14mins: Donegal miss a very kickable free, dropping well short.

Armagh 0-2 Donegal 0-1 :

17mins: Awful in front of goal from Colm McFadden there as his effort dribbles wide to the right of Philip McEvoy’s goal.

Armagh 0-2 Donegal 0-1 :

18mins: There’s been very little wrong with the approach play of both teams so far but when they get within sight of goal it breaks down, Stephen Harold with the latest miss for Armagh.

Armagh 0-3 Donegal 0-1 :

20mins: After seemingly an age with out a score, Aidan Forker kicks a lovely point to double Armagh’s advantage.

Donegal 1-1 Armagh 0-4

24mins: Odhran MacNiallis grabs the games first goal out of nowhere really and questions have to be asked about the goalkeeping.

Armagh equalise through Stefan Campbell.

Armagh 0-4 Donegal 1-1 

25mins: That goal was totally against the run of play and Armagh have played most of the football. They retake the lead through Andy Mallon.

Armagh 0-5 Donegal 1-2 

26mins: Donegal are level again thanks to Michael Murphy’s free kick.

Donegal 1-3 Armagh 0-5 

29mins: Michael Murphy takes his total to 0-3 as Donegal nab the lead with six minutes to go until the break.

Donegal 1-4 Armagh 0-5 

31mins: Neil McGee points for Donegal and suddenly they lead by two. That goal has completely changed the complexion of this game.

Donegal 1-4 Armagh 0-6

33mins: Kyle Carragher reduces the deficit to one with a well-taken score.

Donegal 1-5 Armagh 0-6

35+1mins: Colm McFadden makes no mistake with another close-range Donegal free. It looked a soft enough decision.

Half-time -

Donegal 1-5 Armagh 0-6

Difficult to know what to make of the opening period. Armagh looked the better team for long periods but Odhran MacNiallis’ goal completely turned the game.

Thankfully, all the off the ball stuff seems to have died down.

Scorers for Donegal: Odhrán MacNiallis 1-0, Michael Murphy 0-3 (0-3f), Colm McFadden 0-1 (0-1f), Neil McGee 0-1.

Scorers for Armagh: Aaron Kernan 0-1 (0-1f), Tony Kernan, Aidan Forker, Steffan Campbell, Andy Mallon and Kyle Carraghar 0-1 each.

The referee Joe McQuillan (Cavan) is out for the second half but no sign of either team.

And just as I sent that, Armagh and Donegal emerge to Imelda May’s ‘Mayhem’ which is fitting considering some of the first half action.

And the second half is under way.

Donegal 1-5 Armagh 0-6

36mins: It doesn’t look like either side have made a change at the break.

Michael Murphy looked to have the first score of the second half but his long range effort came off the bar.

Donegal 1-5 Armagh 0-7

40mins: Finally the second half deadlock is broken as Tony Kernan points a free after MacNiallis is adjudged to have brought down Andy Mallon.

Donegal 1-5 Armagh 0-7

40mins: First change of the game as 21. Brian Mallon comes on for Kyle Carragher.

Donegal 1-6 Armagh 0-7

41mins: Real chance of a goal there for Donegal but McFadden opts to fist a point.

Christy Toye leaves the field for Donegal to be replaced by 26. Rory Kavanagh.

Donegal 1-7 Armagh 0-8

44mins: Wonderful curling point from Tony Kernan makes it a two point game but Patrick McBrearty goes straight down the other end and scores.

Donegal 1-8 Armagh 0-8

45mins: Colm McFadden scores his second free of the game to put a goal between the sides.

24. Ethan Rafferty comes in for Aaron Findon.

Donegal 1-8 Armagh 0-9

49mins: Well taken point by Aaron Kernan down the left after some nice inter-play makes it a two point game.

Donegal 1-8 Armagh 0-9

49mins: Yellow card for Aidan Forker for a foul of Leo McLoone.

Donegal 1-9 Armagh 0-9

55mins: The rain’s getting heavier at headquarters – though nothing like last Saturday – and Michael Murphy makes no mistake with the long-range free just moments after sliding one left from a similar position.

17. Rory Grugan on for Kevin Dyas for Armagh while Donegal have sent 24. Martin McElhinney on for Leo McLoone.

Donegal 1-9 Armagh 0-9

58mins: Armagh are fouling themselves out of this quarter-final but Murphy misses another scoreable free.

Just over ten mintues to go here.

Armagh 1-10 Donegal 1-9 

59mins: Armagh back to within two thanks to Tony Kernan’s point before Paul Durcan scores and own-goal for Donegal.

The keeper could do little after Steffan Campbell’s fisted effort rebounded off the upright.

Donegal 1-10 Armagh 1-10

61mins: MacNiallis with a point from play to bring the sides level again.

Armagh 1-11 Donegal 1-10 

63mins: Great play by Armagh results in a Michael Murray point.

Armagh 1-11 Donegal 1-10 

64mins: Almost disaster there for Armagh as a mix up between the defender and goalkeeper nearly let Michael Murphy in. Philip McEvoy punches clear in the end.

Armagh 1-11 Donegal 1-10 

66mins: The Ulster champions badly need a score but giving away possession as cheaply as they did just there won’t help.

Donegal 1-12 Armagh 1-11 

67mins: Michael Murphy leads by example and equalises from play. The Donegal captain was in acres of space.

Seconds later Pat McBrearty puts them ahead.

Donegal 1-12 Armagh 1-11 

70mins: There are two minutes additional time to be added.

Donegal 1-12 Armagh 1-11 

70+2mins: We’re in the second minute of added time, Tony Kernan can convert the long range free.

Donegal 1-12 Armagh 1-11 

70+3mins: Kernan has another chance to make amends after the referee awards Armagh a free for one of the Donegal subs kicking the ball away.

It drops short though…and the final whistle goes.

Donegal are through to the All-Ireland SFC semi-finals.

Full-time -

Donegal 1-12 Armagh 1-11

Two late scores for Donegal followed by two late misses from Armagh’s Tony Kernan are the difference between the sides today.

Thanks as always for joining us. Our coverage of Dublin and Monaghan will start shorty.

About the author:

Steve O'Rourke