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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 27 March, 2019
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Friends reunited: 3 memorable Armagh-Tyrone clashes

Since the turn of the millennium these sides are used to meeting one another in Ulster finals, All-Ireland semi-finals and even an All-Ireland final.

Tyrone's Sean Cavanagh against Armagh in 2005 at Croker.
Tyrone's Sean Cavanagh against Armagh in 2005 at Croker.
Image: INPHO/ Dan Sheridan

THE TWO DOMINANT sides over the past decade in Ulster football are set to meet once again this weekend.

Since the turn of the millennium these sides are used to meeting one another in Ulster finals, All-Ireland semi-finals and even an All-Ireland final.

This year however, both counties suffered defeat at the semi-final stage of the provincial championships and are set to match up in the qualifiers. It will be the latest in a series of parochial showdowns.

2009 Ulster SFC quarter-final

Result: Tyrone 2-10 Armagh 1-10 (St Tiernach’s Park)

The last time these they met in the white heat of championship football was this meeting in the proverbially sun-drenched Clones. The All-Ireland champions succeeded in defeating the reigning Ulster kingpins.

A superb goal by Stephen O’Neill ensured that the Red Hand ended the first half with a lead of 1-05 to 0-03. Late in the second half Armagh gallantly fought back and with 15 minutes to go Tyrone only held a two-point advantage. However Tyrone held their nerve and went on to win the game by three points.


2003 final  All-Ireland final

Result: Tyrone 0-12 Armagh 0-9 (Croke Park)

The first All-Ireland final to be played by two teams from the same province was won by Tyrone in front of a crowd of almost 80,000 in 2003.

Despite criticism aimed at both teams for defensive tactics the game was played in a surprisingly open manner. Captain Peter Canavan produced a stunning firs-half performance scoring five points as Tyrone lead the orchard county by four points at the break.  Canavan was replaced by Eoin Mulligan after the break and Mulligan scored two points. Footballer of the year Stephen McDonnell kept the defending champions in the tie with some wonderful points, however the scoring ability of Tyrone’s forwards proved too much for Armagh as they went on to claim their first All-Ireland title.

Peter ‘The Great’ Canavan was reportedly out of the final with an ankle injury sustained in the semi-final against Kerry and was only drafted into the starting line up at the 11th hour.

His superlative first half performance coupled with his return to the field for the last ten minutes of play inspired Tyrone to victory. Canavan was also the highest scoring player of the 2003 Championship totalling 51 points in the campaign.


2005 Ulster final replay

Result: Armagh 0-13 Tyrone 0-11 (Croke Park)

After a pulsating Ulster final that finished all square in Croker, the two sides met again.

This time Armagh appeared to have avenged the defeat two years previous. The match was a controversial affair and three players were dismissed in the contest including Peter Canavan who had been on the pitch for less than a minute.

Tyrone failed to start the match with any intensity and were forced to wait twenty minutes for their first score. However scores from Brian Dooher, Brian McGuigan and Stephen O’Neill helped Tyrone take the lead. It looked as though Micky Harte’s side were going to go on to claim their eleventh Ulster title, leading the tie by four points with only ten minutes remaining, however the dismissals of O’Neill and Canavan allowed increased space for Armagh. The Orchard County displayed great determination, scoring six unanswered points in the closing stages.

Oisin McConville sealed the victory with the final two points to snatch the Anglo-Celt Cup from their bitter rivals. However it was Tyrone and Canavan that would laugh last. The sides met for an unprecedented third time in the 2005  All-Ireland semi-final as Tyrone won by a single point in a enthralling encounter.

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Feargal Rooney

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