Armagh hurlers scraped into the Division 3A final against Roscommon, despite defeat and a poor performance against Tyrone on Sunday. A late rally from Monaghan giving a one point victory over Louth left three sides on 6 points, with scoring difference replacing head to head to put Armagh into the decider.
Dylan McKenna and Ruairí Fullerton with two put Armagh 0-3 to 0-1 ahead, Damian Casey with a free for the home side. The on-form Casey then caught a high ball inside and turned to hit the net, and followed up with a point from play. The two sides traded scores, but Tyrone gained good momentum with scores from Casey, Bryan McGurk and Tiarnán Morgan. Armagh did come back into it and three from Ruairí Fullerton, one from Eoin McGuinness and a Paddy McGrane effort dragged them back level. But Tyrone were full of determination right across the field and stopped the Armagh purple patch hitting two further scores from Seán Donaghy and Matthew Mulgrew. A free from Ruairí Fullerton was Armagh’s sole response as Tyrone took a one point lead into half time.
Half time: Armagh 0-10 Tyrone 1-8
Tyrone hit the ground running in the second half with early scores for Casey and Donaghy. Armagh’s woes were confounded when they were reduced to 14 men, with referee James Connors strangely awarding a second yellow to Tiarnán Nevin. Casey increased his tally with a lovely sideline cut and added a free, before Armagh finally got their first score of the half on 13 minutes through Danny Magee from the dead ball. A Casey 65 and a Matthew Mulgrew goal should have been added to with the home side guilty of a big wide count, which could have closed out the game and sent Tyrone to the final. Armagh did up their game and a fortuitous goal from Danny Magee, which looked to be going over but dropped into the net, reduced the arrears to five. Points from Magee and Eoin McGuinness were cancelled out by the ultra-reliable Casey and Armagh were again left reeling with the referee issuing a straight red to McGuinness, much to the Armagh man’s consternation. Armagh did try gamely to get something out of the tie with two further efforts from Magee but a goal from Bryan McGurk put paid to the Armagh challenge and a late free from the superb Casey give Tyrone the league points, which fortunately for Armagh didn’t prove enough.
Full time: Armagh 1-16 Tyrone 3-16
The Allianz Hurling League Division 3A Final will take place in Páirc Tailteann, Navan on Sunday 10th March at 2pm.
Armagh: Simon Doherty, Odhrán Curry, Artie McGuinness, Paddy Quinn, Tiarnán Nevin, David Bridges, Ciarán Clifford, Odhrán McCann, Stephen Renaghan, Paddy McGrane 0-1, Ruairí Fullerton 0-6 (0-4f), Shaun Toal, Danny Magee 1-5 (0-5f), Dylan McKenna 0-2, Eoin McGuinness 0-2
Subs used: Dean Gaffney, Caolán Rice, Nathan Curry, Glenn McKeown