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Dublin: 6°C Saturday 8 May 2021


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Full-time: Armagh 1-13 Tyrone 0-19

It was fast and frantic with Armagh’s next generation showing well, but in the end some old head’s got the better of them. Stephen O’Neill, Martin Penrose, Colm Cavanagh and Joe McMahon rose to a serious challenge and after conceding an early goal and after conceding the lead in the final minutes, Tyrone calmly regrouped and showed serious composure. For them, Donegal await. For Armagh, the qualifiers await although despite defeat, if they can repeat that intensity and hunger, they may well be the best team in those qualifiers thus far.

Throw-in moments away at a colourful and packed Athletics Ground so let’s get straight to it and here are the teams..

Armagh: P McEvoy; A Mallon, B Donaghy, D McKenna; A Kernan, C McKeever, F Moriarty; K Toner, M Mackin; A Forker, K Dyas, A Duffy; J Clarke, B Mallon, C Rafferty.

Tyrone: P McConnell; A McCrory, Justin McMahon, D Carlin; C McCarron, C Gormley, S O’Neill; Joe McMahon, C Cavanagh; R McNabb, M Donnelly, P Harte; M Penrose, S O’Neill, O Mulligan.

Referee: J McQuillan (Cavan).

Huge game as Tyrone don’t want to follow Kerry into the qualifiers and into the category of a side that is past it. We don’t think so, although this is a hard place to beat Armagh and the home side are hugely unpredictable. But there’s a huge weight on the shoulders of Jamie Clarke, we wonder will they get him enough ball and we wonder if they can contain Peter Harte at wing-forward and a dangerous looking inside forward line of Mulligan, O’Neill and Penrose. The national anthem rings out and there’s an empty seat/standing position in the house.

1 minute, Armagh 0-1 Tyrone 0-0: Brian Mallon fouled and scores the free himself. Refreshing to see a stadium packed for an early championship Sunday. Meanwhile Finian Moriarty on Peter Harte and  Aidan McCrory on Jamie Clarke in two of the key match-ups.

2 mins, Armagh 0-1 Tyrone 0-1: Fast and frenetic as Joe McMahon hits a huge free over.  In tactical news, Martin Penrose has dropped deep in the hope of isolating Stephen O’Neill and Owen Mulligan inside.

6 minutes, Armagh 0-1 Tyrone 0-2: Brian Mallon has started really well and only a great save denies him a goal as Justin McMahon mops the ball off the line. At the other end, Colm Cavanagh breaks from midfield and nails a great score. Huge intensity and pace, much more so than in the first game of the day. We are already licking our lips.

10 minutes, Armagh 1-1 Tyrone 0-3: There’s no time to breath here. Aidan Forker on his championship debut goals. Great finish after the two corner-forwards set him up for a run through the middle. Brilliant from Armagh and that’s pretty impressive from Tyrone as well as Colm Cavanagh sends the ball into the scattered clouds and it comes down over the bar.

13 minutes, Armagh 1-2 Tyrone 0-4: Good response from Tyrone as Owen Mulligan has them level but Jamie Clarke cancels it out. Tyrone look the more controlled but if Armagh can keep up this movement and pace, we are in for a serious game.

15 minutes, Armagh 1-2 Tyrone 0-6: He may look like a washed up Nascar driver, but he sure doesn’t play like one. Mulligan with a dummy that has characterised his career and it buys him time and he lays off to Martin Penrose. Level. Peter Harte now with a good score. Tyrone ahead. Mulligan again with the assist.

18 minutes, Armagh 1-2 Tyrone 0-7: Now Peter Harte getting into it, Armagh can’t handle his speed and he is fouled. Mulligan points. Ireland-Croatia will seem dull after this! Paul Duffy already in for Declan McKenna, says a lot about the trouble in the Armagh full-back line.

22 minutes, Armagh 1-3 Tyrone 0-8: Jamie Clarke is getting ball and he is surprisingly strong, holds off a challenge and we know he can finish. Best game of the year so far, by a massive distance and it doesn’t let up. Stephen O’Neill sells a sweet dummy to Ciaran McKeever and then clips over on the right. Brilliant.

22 minutes, Armagh 1-4 Tyrone 0-8: Back up the other end, good passing and while Kevin Dyas has the hair of an Australian after his experience down under, he has the finish of a really good Gaelic footballer.

25 minutes, Armagh 1-5 Tyrone 0-8: If the Armagh full-back line is struggling, so is Aidan McCrory on Jamie Clarke as he gives away a free. Aidan Forker clips over. The half has flown and we are level once more.

28 minutes, Armagh 1-5 Tyrone 0-9: My fingers will be mere stubs if this keeps up. Colm Cavanagh has had a wonderful start, getting forward a lot. He sets up Mark Donnelly. Tyrone do look like a juggernaut and will be hard to stop. Armagh, as good as they’ve been, may need more goals to keep pace with this.

34 minutes, Armagh 1-5 Tyrone 0-10: Calmed down a little here with some ill-advised shooting although Martin Penrose does push Tyrone’s lead to two. Elsewhere Seanie Johnston has kicked 0-5 on his debut for Kildare club St Kevin’s in a Division Two match against Kilcock. We know you have your opinions on that. Meanwhile Tony Kernan about to replace Aaron Kernan whose hamstring looks to have gone. Huge blow.

Half-time, Armagh 1-5 Tyrone 0-11:  Lovely point from Dermot Carlin stretches the lead and Armagh need to stop this three-zip run soon or this could get away from them. Brian Mallon can’t as he misses a 45′ with the last kick of the half. Great game, but Armagh need to rally to keep it that way. Back after the break.

36 minutes, Armagh 1-5 Tyrone 0-12: Aaron Kernan doesn’t emerge for the second half, and it’s Gavin McParland who replaces him. He goes to the half-forward line and Kevin Dyas drops back. More bad news for Armagh, who need a good start as we get back underway. It’s close to getting away from them, especially as Martin Penrose wins a free and kicks the free. Meanwhile Justin McMahon has gone off for Tyrone, Joe McMahon has gone to full-back.

38 minutes, Armagh 1-6 Tyrone 0-12: Here we go again, the second half starts like the first, in a blur of bodies and scores. Brian Mallon pulls a much-needed point back with an easy free.

43 minutes, Armagh 1-7 Tyrone 0-13: Penrose free and Clarke replies but while Armagh are helter-skelter, Tyrone are winning ball around the middle and looking solid going forward.

48 minutes, Armagh 1-9 Tyrone 0-13: That’s a lovely score from substitute Gavin McParland and it lifts the home crowd. It lifts the home side too although they fail to capitalise on three promising attacks and Aidan Forker is forced to go off as well with injury as Johnny Hanratty replaces him. But there’s McParland again.

51 minutes, Armagh 1-9 Tyrone 0-14: Big score for Tyrone. Stephen O’Neill beats Brendan Donaghy down the line and it costs Armagh a free. Easy for Martin Penrose from the deadball. All of Tyrone’s three scores this half have come in that fashion.

55 minutes, Armagh 1-9 Tyrone 0-15: How big a moment will that be? Stephen O’Neill might have goaled but slipped, however he has the where with all to lay it back to Penrose who extends the gap. And how big will this moment be? Kevin Dyas was booked two minutes ago now  goes high on Peter Harte. It’s another yellow. Crazy tackle. He’s off.

John Kingham comes on for Malachy Mackin who has been out of it in the second half. Kingham goes to full-forward though, change in style coming here. Meanwhile in Leinster, after an hour, Wexford 1-7 Longford 0-13.

60 minutes, Armagh 1-9 Tyrone 0-15: Tyrone have been the more assured team but still they aren’t over the line, even as Jamie Clarke sends a free wide. However, if hope isn’t turn into desperation on the part of the hosts and they don’t have to go looking for a late goal, they need to get the next couple of points and relatively quick.

62 minutes, Armagh 1-10 Tyrone 0-15: There’s one of them as the big lump that is John Kingham wins and free and Joe McMahon picks up a yellow. Easy free for Jamie Clarke. Game still on even if the crowd have gone flat.

63 minutes, Armagh 1-11 Tyrone 0-15: There’s another one of them as Brian Mallon kicks a free from the hands. Now the crowd are awake.

66 minutes, Armagh 1-12 Tyrone 0-15: Gavin McParland has been immense on both sides of the ball. He turns over possession in one stretch of play, he wins a free in the next and in no small part down to him, his side have so much momentum. Owen Mulligan has gone, Niall McKenna takes his place. But all eyes are on Brian Mallon as he points from a free from the hands from outside of 45′.

69 minutes, Armagh 1-12 Tyrone 0-17: Peter Harte has been out of this game, wing-forward has been too peripheral for him but it’s the sign of his class that he gets on the ball and kicks a score on the run. And now Mark Donnelly is fouled in front of the posts. What a telling couple of minutes as Penrose kicks the free. Game-winning, surely, and that took guts from Tyrone because they were on the ropes.

70 minutes, Armagh 1-12 Tyrone 0-17: We’ll have four minutes of added time as Jamie Clarke kicks another wide, Armagh’s 12th and that is costly. Still time though…

70+2 minutes, Armagh 1-13 Tyrone 0-18: Stephen O’Neill has been well marshaled this half but muscle memory there and a great score. Clarke responds, two to go, two between them…

70+4 minutes, Armagh 1-13 Tyrone 0-19: The old guard have really stood up here. Conor Gormley wins a free, clever from him, and Penrose pops it over. Tyrone won’t be losing today but is there a goal and a draw in Armagh. Unlikely but there may be time for one last attack

Full-time, Armagh 1-13 Tyrone 0-19: There’s not, the referee blows it up from that kickout. Fine win and Tyrone will play Donegal in the Ulster semi-final.

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