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Galway beat Armagh on penalties after incredible All-Ireland quarter-final

They advance to play Derry in the last four.

Galway's Shane Walsh with James Morgan of Armagh.
Galway's Shane Walsh with James Morgan of Armagh.
Image: Evan Treacy/INPHO

Galway 3-18

Armagh 2-21

Galway win 4-1 on penalties 

A REMARKABLE ALL-Ireland quarter-final was decided by a penalty shoot-out as Matthew Tierney’s winning kick sent Galway into the last four.

Tierney was the hero for the Tribesmen after Shane Walsh, Damien Comer and Robert Finnerty converted earlier spot kicks for Padraic Joyce’s team.

Rian O’Neill drilled in his effort but Stefan Campbell and Conor Turbitt missed penalties for the Orchard County. It was rough justice on Turbitt considering his 1-1 off the bench was a major reason Armagh went this far. 

Galway will play Derry in the All-Ireland semi-final having been severely battle-hardened after a classic encounter that will live long in the memory.    

The teams were level seven times throughout the contest, but it never should have gone this far.

Galway should have had the game wrapped in normal-time when they took a six point lead into injury-time. Desperately chasing the game, Armagh went route-one on two occasions and both times if paid off.

Aidan Nugent and Conor Turbitt struck late goals, before Rian O’Neill’s stunning long-range equalising free sent the game to extra-time. 

Unsavoury scenes followed as both teams became embroiled in a brawl before they headed into the dressing rooms. An eye-gouge by a member of Armagh’s extended panel on Damien Comer was caught on camera and incensed his team-mates. 

It was a strange start to extra-time as Sean Kelly and Aidan Nugent were shown red cards before the ball was thrown-in. 

It was impossible for the game to retain the game intensity for the afters.

Even though they were restored to the full 15, Armagh looked like they were running out of legs. Galway recovered impressively to lead by two at half-time in extra-time. 

collan-mcdaid-celebrates-scoring-a-goal Cillian McDaid celebrates scoring an extra-time goal. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Rory Grugan and the excellent Cillian McDaid traded goals in the second period and then Ethan Rafferty burst forward and fed Jemar Hall to nudge Armagh ahead by one.

McDaid had the final say with a booming point to send us to penalties.

Ultimately it was Galway who prevailed in the shoot-out. Overall, they deserved to come through here. 

It was an incredible 100 minutes of action, a ferocious encounter where both teams deserve immense credit for the football they played and the heart they showed. 

McDaid stood up at midfield, particularly when they needed him in extra-time. Robert Finnerty clipped four points in an excellent outing and Damien Comer likewise had several important contributions.

Initially the game was played on Armagh’s terms.  

Their system of dropping 14 men behind the ball stifled the Galway attack. The Orchard County had space to pick out Rian O’Neill at full-forward. Four of their front six were on target from play after the first 13 minutes, as they raced 0-4 to 0-1 clear. 

Eventually, Galway settled into the game. Led by Kieran Molloy, their tackling improved immensely. They started turning over Armagh and playing on the counter attack. It allowed them find pockets of space around the D for their shooters to take aim.  

Shane Walsh curled over a free off either foot, the second one a delightful effort off his left near the sideline from a tight angle. Matthew Tierney finished off a Galway counter-attack with his second score of the half to send the teams in level at the interval, 0-7 apiece.

Things ratcheted up another notch at the start of the second period as the Tribesmen started to conjure up goal chances. Patrick Kelly was at the heart of them both.

Johnny Heaney struck with a palmed finish to the net five minutes after the restart. It arrived after Matthew Tierney was initially put through and rattled a shot off the crossbar. The Armagh defence were caught flat-footed and Kelly fed Heaney for the goal.

Moments later, Tierney intercepted a misplaced Ethan Rafferty kick-out and sent Kelly in on goal. His drilled shot went narrowly over, when a pass inside to Finnerty might have been the better option.  

Armagh stayed in the hunt. Pulling the strings at centre-forward, Stefan Campbell stroked over a pair of efforts from play. 

Shane Walsh went down after a heavy off the ball challenge from James Morgan. It evoked memories of an incident with Padraig O’Hora in last year’s Connacht final in a similar position at the same venue that badly hurt Walsh’s shoulder.

Fortunately for Galway, he was okay to return after receiving some attention. 

Speedster Coor Turbitt was among the substitutes introduced by Kieran McGeeney and he hand passed over the bar to bring Armagh within two, 1-12 to 0-13. 

After 62 minutes, Armagh were two behind and coming back strong when they were reduced to 14 men. It was a key moment of the game. Greg McCabe caught Matthew Tierney with a high frontal shoulder that drew blood from the Galway forward’s head  

McCabe’s red card gave Galway a boost and they pushed for home. Their big three Walsh (free), Comer and Conroy stroke over scores to extend the lead to five. 

When Molloy extended the lead to six, the Connacht champions looked home and hosed.

The announcement of eight minutes of stoppage-time gave the Armagh support some hope. Then a shot dropped short into the area and Aidan Nugent pushed into the net. All of a sudden, Armagh were three behind with six minutes still to play.

rory-grugan-celebrates-scoring Rory Grugan scored a goal in extra-time. Source: Evan Treacy/INPHO

Galway surged up field and Comer fist pumped after curling over. A four-point margin looked to be enough. More drama. Connor Gleeson gathered possession and gave a poor handpass away under pressure. Turbitt arrived on the scene to bury it into the net. 

Walsh gave away a criminal ball as Galway attacked, allowing Armagh launch one final chance. They drew a foul and O’Neill drove over a stunning equaliser from 47m. 

It was a jaw-dropping finish. And there was plenty more drama to follow. 

Scorers for Galway: Shane Walsh  0-6 (0-5f), Cillian McDaid 1-2, Robert Finnerty 0-4, Johnny Heaney -10, Damien Comer 0-3, Matthew Tierney 0-2, Patrick Kelly, Paul Conroy, Kieran Molloy and Finnian O Laoi 0-1 each. 

Scorers for Armagh: Rory Grugan 1-3 (0-2f), Aidan Nugent 1-2 (0-1m), Conor Turbitt 1-1, Rian O’Neill 0-4 (0-3f), Stefan Campbell 0-3, Jarly Og Burns, Conor O’Neill, Jemar Hall, Justin Kieran and Eoin Woods 0-1 each.

Galway

1. Connor Gleeson (Dunmore McHales)

3. Sean Kelly (Moycullen), 7. Kieran Molloy (Corofin), 4. Jack Glynn (Claregalway)

5. Dylan McHugh (Corofin), 6. John Daly (Mountbellew/Moylough), 2. Liam Silke (Corofin)

8. Paul Conroy (St James’), 9. Cillian McDaid (Monivea-Abbey) 

10. Patrick Kelly (Mountbellew/Moylough), 11. Matthew Tierney (Oughterard),  12. Johnny Heaney (Killannin)

13. Rob Finnerty (Salthill-Knocknacarra), 14. Damien Comer (Annaghdown), 15. Shane Walsh (Kilkerrin-Clonberne) 

Subs 

23. Finnian Ó Laoi (An Spidéal) for McDaid (blood, 49-54)

23. Ó Laoi for Tierney (blood, 62-68)

23. Ó Laoi for Kelly (69)

20. Niall Daly (Kilconly) for Finnerty (70+4)

22. Owen Gallagher (Moycullen) for Walsh (70+9)

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15. Walsh for Gallagher (start of extra-time)

18. Billy Mannion (Mountbellew-Moylough) (start of extra-time)

13. Finnerty for Niall Daly (start of extra-time)

17. James Foley for Silke (82)

19. Cathal Sweeney for McHugh (90)

Armagh 

1. Ethan Rafferty 

2. James Morgan (Crossmaglen Rangers) , 3. Aidan Forker (Maghery), 5. Aaron McKay (Dromintee)

4. Conor O’Neill )Killeavy), 6. Greg McCabe (Shane O’Neill’s), 7. Jarly Og Burns (Silvermines)

8. Stephen Sheridan (Peadar Ó Doirnín), 9. Ben Crealey (Maghery)

24. Andrew Murnin (St Paul’s), 11. Stefan Campbell (Clan na Gael), 15. Jason Duffy (Cullyhanna)

10. Rory Grugan (Ballymacnab)

13. Aidan Nugent (Cullyhanna), 14. Rian O’Neill (Crossmaglen Rangers)

Subs

20. Connaire Mackin (Shane O’Neills) for Sheridan (43)

22. Conor Turbitt (Clann Éireann) for Murnin (43)

23. Ciarán Mackin (Shane O’Neills) for McKay (55)

21. Eoin Woods (St Patrick’s Carrickcruppen) for Duffy (68)

25. Justin Kieran (Grange) for Burns (68)

18. Niall Rowland (start of extra-time)

7. Burns for Nugent (start of extra-time)

17. Mark Shields (Whites Cross) for Forker (74)

12. Jemar Hall for Grugan (83)

15. Duffy for Crealey (83)

Referee: David Coldrick (Meath)

About the author:

Kevin O'Brien  / Reports from Croke Park

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