Armagh's Stefan Campbell and Peter Harte of Tyrone. Laszlo Geczo/INPHO
Orchard Delight

All-Ireland champions Tyrone crash out after defeat to Armagh

The Orchard county were six-point winners at the Athletic Grounds.

Armagh 1-16

Tyrone 1-10

IT WAS A bitterly disappointed Tyrone joint-manager Feargal Logan who faced the media after the All-Ireland champions crashed out of the All-Ireland championship to a highly-motivated Armagh.

Beaten at home by Derry to the tune of 11 points and now Armagh by six, it has been one of the poorest defences of an All-Ireland title in at least a decade, and had Logan searching already for answers.

“It’s a very intangible and difficult thing,” he began.

“In terms of focus, and hunger and all those things. It’s very hard to put your finger on it. We thought we would kickstart some day and thought today could be the day. But it didn’t.

“That’s our issue to live with now. Dealing with success, it’s not easy and we saw it all year really.”

This was the third time Armagh have beaten Tyrone this season, but few could have imagined the game would turn out like this, the Red Hands scoring a sum total of 1-4 from play throughout the game, looking a shadow of the version that blazed like a comet last summer.

Here, they were bested in every department by a team that began this game with no fewer than five changes to the team that started against Donegal.

A huge worry for Armagh is the health of Connaire Mackin who was stretchered off the pitch in the closing moments after he collided with Michael McKernan.

A return for Mattie Donnelly meant Tyrone started the same forward line that started the All-Ireland final

At the same time they were leaving plenty of weaponry to roll off the bench with Footballer of the Year Kieran McGeary, Cathal McShane and the Canavan brothers in reserve.

But despite all that, they were nowhere near Armagh. Six points does not flatter the men in orange who had a sensational performance from goalkeeper Ethan Rafferty – questioned widely after the Donegal defeat – who scored a point from play in each half.

They got off to the best possible start after three minutes when Conor McKenna had the ball in the net, but they only scored twice in the opening 27 minutes prior to a minute’s applause for the Harte and McAreavey families following a week in which the memory of the murdered Michaela McAreavey was disgustingly abused at a gathering of the Orange Order.

After chipping away at a few points Armagh took the lead on 15 minutes when Aidan Nugent received a pass from Paddy Burns, burned Ronan McNamee for pace along the endline and beat Niall Morgan on his near post.

Two more goal chances followed for Armagh, who shockingly only went on at half time one point up given their dominance.

In the second half, they beat Tyrone by double scores, ten points to five. Rian O’Neill looked imperious in controlling the game in all sectors of the pitch, and their march, incredibly, continues.

Scorers for Armagh: A Nugent (1-1), R O’Neill (0-4, 3f), E Rafferty, S Campbell, A Murnin (0-2 each), C O’Neill, S Sheridan, R Grugan, J Duffy, C Turbitt (0-1 each)

Scorers for Tyrone: D McCurry (0-7, 4f, 1 mark), C McKenna (1-0), P Harte, C Kilpatrick, R Donnelly (0-1 each)

ARMAGH: E Rafferty; J Morgan, A Forker, P Burns; A McKay, G McCabe, J Óg Burns; S Sheridan, B Crealey; R Grugan, S Campbell, C O’Neill; A Nugent, R O’Neill, J Duffy

Subs: C Mackin for P Burns (33m), C Turbitt for O’Neill (HT), A Murnin for Nugent (60m), J Hall for Duffy (60m), M Shields for Mackin (67m), R McQuillan for Sheridan (74m)

TYRONE: N Morgan; P Teague, R McNamee, P Hampsey; M McKernan, P Harte, R Brennan; C Kilpatrick, F Burns; C Meyler, M O’Neill, N Sludden; D McCurry, M Donnelly, C McKenna

Subs: K McGeary for Teague (31m), R Donnelly for Sludden (HT), D Canavan for Burns (50m), C McShane (55m), M McGleenan (74m)

Referee: David Goldrick (Meath).


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