All-Ireland SFC: Tyrone prevail in Omagh
All-Ireland SFC Group Two
Tyrone 0-13 Armagh 0-11
By Steve Malone at O'Neills Healy Park
Tyrone survived late 14-man Armagh rally to grab their first win of the All-Ireland SFC group stages.
The impressive Red Hands controlled much of the game and forced Armagh into erratic shooting, but Rian O’Neill’s dismissal on 26 minutes was a huge blow.
It was frenetic at times, but it was Tyrone that looked composed and assured even before going a man up, whereas Armagh had to work much harder to gain scoring chances, 15 of which they squandered.
As early as half-time the indications were that this was Tyrone’s game to lose. Armagh suffered a massive blow when captain Rian O’Neill was sent off.
Tyrone were that bit slicker and ruthless in front of the posts with Darren McCurry magnificent, while Matthew Donnelly stroked over and Padraig Hampsey and Darragh Canavan popped up with impressive first half points.
The Orchard side showed a bit more of their attacking teeth than they did against Westmeath but frustratingly for them, left two goal chances behind in the opening 15 minutes. Tyrone keeper Niall Morgan pulled off a great save to deny Conor Turbitt as early as the second minute and he was in the right place again to stop Jason Duffy’s shot hitting the net.
Tyrone were finding it easier to get through the Orchard defence whereas Armagh found gaps, but failed to exploit them fully, although Andrew Murnin, Rian O’Neill (free) and Turbitt picked off points in that first 15 minutes, where the Red Hands led 0-5 to 0-3.
Tyrone’s Micheal O’Neill, Brian Kennedy and Ronan McNamee got vital intercepts in Armagh’s attempted threaded passes and with 27 minutes gone the Red Hands could have been out of sight, but Peter Harte’s shot crashed off the woodwork.
Then O'Neill was red carded.
McCurry was incredible and finished the game with five points, three from play and Tyrone were looking good, but Rory Grugan’s innovative point before the break suggested Armagh had something to offer as the home team led 0-8 to 0-4.
Armagh needed everything to go their way and they enjoyed the first three attack,s but kicked wide and struck the post before Jarly Og Burns fisted over on 43 minutes.
Tyrone were content to retain possession as Armagh were wasteful in front at goal with some bad wides before McCurry added to his tally and Michael McKernan became the Red Hands second corner back to score and Conor Meyler tagged on.
Grugan’s converted a free on the hour and substitute Oisin Conaty tagged on another as the large Orchard support sensed an unlikely comeback and then Turbitt’s free made it a one-score game with six minutes remaining.
Tyrone needed cool heads and sharp feet and Darragh Canavan had both as he bagged a big score to but there was still a few more twists as Grugan’s third point kept their hope alive. Murnin made some big fetches, while Jason Duffy pressed.
The Red Hands were content to keep ball and drag Armagh out and hit on the break and Ruairi Canavan slotted two beauties.
Then at the death keeper Morgan was caught in possession and with Shane McPartland ready to pounce McKernan kicked out for a 45’. Armagh needed a goal but instead Conaty took a point, which was a relief for Tyrone as it was the last kick of the game.
Tyrone face Westmeath next while Armagh take on Galway.
Scorers for Tyrone: Darren McCurry 0-5 (2fs), Darragh Canavan 0-3, Padraig Hampsey, Conn Kilpatrick (m), Conor Meyler, Mattthew Donnelly, and Michael McKernan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Armagh: Rory Grugan 0-4 (2fs), Oisín Conaty 0-2, Jarly Óg Burns, Conor Turbitt, Andrew Murnin, Shane McPartlan and Rian O'Neill (f) 0-1 each.
Tyrone: Niall Morgan, Michael McKernan, Ronan McNamee, Padraig Hampsey, Cormac Quinn, Michael O’Neill, Peter Harte, Brian Kennedy, Conn Kilpatrick, Conor Meyler, Joe Oguz, Niall Sludden, Darren McCurry, Matthew Donnelly, Darragh Canavan.
Subs: Kieran McGeary for Sludden (42’), Ruairi Canavan for Oguz (53’), Richard Donnelly for McCurry (69’), Aidan Nugent for McKay (62’).
Armagh: Ethan Rafferty, Conor O’Neill, Aaron McKay, Aidan Forker, Greg McCabe, Callum Cumiskey, Jarly Og Burns, Ben Crealy, Ciaran Mackin, Jason Duffy, Rory Grugan, Stefan Campbell, Conor Turbitt, Rian O’Neill, Andrew Murnin.
Subs: Ross McQuillan for Cumiskey (HT), Shane McPartlan for Crealy (43’), Oisin Conaty for Campbell (56’), Cian McConville for Turbitt,
Referee: Martin McNally (Monaghan).