Ulster Senior Football Championship Semi-Final
Armagh 4-10 Down 0-12
By Steve Malone at St Tiernach’s Park
Armagh are back into the Ulster Final for the first time since 2008 after putting rivals Down to the sword in Sunday’s Ulster semi-final.
Four goals did the damage, two in each half and Down didn’t have the answers.
This result means Down will compete in the Tailteann Cup later this year and they’ll be confident of getting to the latter stages of that competition.
The day belonged to Armagh. Firstly, Shane McPartlan kicked long to the edge of the square where the magnificent Andrew Murnin punched into the net. The second goal came on 27 minutes when McPartlan displayed courage and conviction when he simply marched through the packed Down defence before ruthlessly firing into the net.
The Orchard men led 2-3 to 0-3 at that point and Down hadn’t scored from play with Pat Havern converting the frees, while Armagh’s Aidan Forker, Conor O’Neill, Jason Duffy and Rory Grugan (free) tagged on points. Liam Kerr, Patrick Branagan and Ryan Johnston were on target to go in at the break trailing by four points (2-04 to 0-06) but Armagh controlled the second period.
Down were kept scoreless for 20 minutes, while Armagh stormed ahead with Ciaran Mackin flicking Rian O’Neill’s long-ball into the net. Jemar Hall, Murnin, Duffy, substitutes Stefan Campbell, Aidan Nugent and Callum Cumiskey all pointed but it was Rian O’Neill’s goal on 47 minutes that killed the contest off.
Down’s Ryan McEvoy got on the scoresheet and his team-mates battled to the end but the contest was long over before the final whistle.
Armagh will face much tougher test against Derry in the Ulster Final on Sunday, May 14.
Scorers for Armagh: Andrew Murnin 1-1, Ciaran Mackin, Shane McPartlan, and Rian O’Neill 1-0 each, Jason Duffy 0-2, Conor O’Neill, Jemar Hall, Aidan Nugent, Aidan Forker, Callum Cumiskey, Stefan Campbell, and Rory Grugan (f) 0-1 each.
Scorers for Down: Pat Havern 0-6 (5fs), Ryan McEvoy 0-2 (2fs), Ryan Johnston, Liam Kerr, Patrick Branagan, and Andrew Gilmore 0-1 each.
Armagh: Ethan Rafferty, Conor O’Neill, Aaron McKay, Aidan Forker, Ciaran Mackin, Greg McCabe, Jarly Og Burns, Ben Crealy, Shane McPartlan, Jason Duffy, Jemar Hall, Rian O’Neill, Rory Grugan, Andrew Murnin, Conor Turbitt.
Subs: Connaire Mackin for Crealy (35+2), Ross McQuillan for Hall (51’), Stefan Campbell for McPartlan (51’), Aidan Nugent for Turbitt (57’), Oisin Conaty for Murnin (60’), Callum Cumiskey for Mackin (63’).
Down: Niall Turbitt, Pearse Laverty, Shane Annett, Miceal Rooney, Danny Magill, Niall McParland, Daniel Guinness, Conor Poland, Daniel Guinness, Conor Poland, Ryan McEvoy, Ceilum Doherty, Ryan Johnston, Liam Kerr, Patrick Branagan, Pat Havern, Eugene Branagan.
Subs: Andrew Gilmore for E Branagan (40’), Shealan Johnston for Annett (40’), Donnach McAleenan for Doherty (49’), Ross Carr for P Branagan (53’), Eamon Brown for Poland (58’).
Referee: Conor Lane (Referee).