Allianz FL D1: Tyrone relegate Armagh
Allianz Football League Division 1
TYRONE 0-18 ARMAGH 0-16
By Steve Malone at Healy Park, Omagh
Armagh have been relegated to Division Two by rivals Tyrone after the Red Hands finished the stronger team in an extremely tight tussle.
The teams were level 11 times in Omagh’s Healy Park in a game that went right to the wire, and, with Monaghan seeing off Mayo, Armagh’s fate was sealed while Tyrone recorded a morale boosting win over their neighbours.
Armagh went into the game without their injured captain Rian O’Neill and matters didn’t get much better as Andrew Murnin limped off midway through the first half which doesn’t bode well for the Orchard’s Ulster Championship hopes.
Conor Turbitt replaced the injured O’Neill and his converted free got the ball rolling at Healy Park in Omagh.
The scores went tit-for-tat with Darren McCurry (free) opening Tyrone’s account before Peter Harte grabbed his first of three points. Turbitt’s mark levelled the game again as the contest started get tasty.
Jemar Hall and Turbitt tagged on scores either side of McCurry’s (free) but Niall Grimley’s converted mark had the Orchard ahead. It was cagey stuff with turnovers galore but the liveliness of Darragh Canavan and ingenuity of Darren McCurry meant the Red Hands were finding way through the Orchard defence.
Con Kilpatrick and Harte levelled the scores for the fourth time and McCurry then edged Tyrone ahead for the first time with 23 minutes gone.
Turbitt and Forker added further scores for Armagh but Tyrone finished the half stronger with goalkeeper Ethan Rafferty denying Canavan a certain goal before McCurry’s fourth point put the Red Hands in front, going in at the break.
Armagh knew they were going to have to buck the trend of losing every second half of this campaign if they were to control their own outcome but it wasn’t too be.
Stefan Campbell did edge Armagh back in front 22 minutes into the second half, but it was Tyrone who regained control and were deserved winners.
Ronan McNamee, making his first start this season, and Mattie Donnelly stretched Tyrone’s lead and points followed from the impressive Con Kilpatrick, Michael McGleenan and the brilliant McCurry (0-07).
Campbell was back in form to hit four points, while Grugan and Forker kept Armagh in the hunt. Padraig Hampsey’s point on the hour edged Tyrone ahead and Kilpatrick put two points between the sides. Armagh substitute Justin Kierans got his name on the scoresheet as the Orchard went chasing a goal but McNamee killed off any hope of a comeback, while Tyrone recorded finished campaign on a high with three wins on the trot.
Tyrone: Benny Gallan, Michael McKernan, Padraig Hampsey (0-01), Cormac Quinn, Conor Meylor, Ronan McNamee (0-02), Peter Harte (0-03) Brian Kennedy, Conn Kilpatrick (0-02), Frank Burns, Kieran McGreary, Joe Oguz, Darren McCurry (0-07, 0-5 frees), Mattie Donnelly (0-01), Darragh Canavan (0-01). Subs used: David Mulgrew for McGeary (46’), Michael McGleenan (0-01)for Canavan (47’), Niall Sludden for Harte (73’)
Armagh: Ethan Rafferty, Barry McCambridge, Aaron McKay, Aidan Forker (0-02), Ciaran Mackin, Greg McCabe, Jarly Og Burns, Stefan Campbell (0-04), Niall Grimley (0-01, mark), Callum Cumiskey (0-01), Rory Grugan (0-01), Jemar Hall (0-01), Conor Turbitt (0-04, 0-1 free, 0-1 mark, Andrew Murnin, Jason Duffy. Subs used: Tiernan Kelly for Duffy (47’), Justin Kierans (0-01) for Hall (63’), Cian McConville for Cumiskey (70), Shane McPartland for Turbitt (72’),
Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry).