Allianz Football League Division 1
ARMAGH: 2-14 TYRONE: 0-14
By Declan Bogue at the Athletic Grounds
TYRONE had four players red carded after a fracas in injury time in this chastening defeat to neighbours Armagh.
There were five points in it when Michael McKernan, Padraig Hampsey, Peter Harte and Kieran McGeary were all sent to the line, along with Armagh’s Greg McCabe as the clock slipped into the red.
In front of a 14,328 attendance here in a squally Athletic Grounds, Armagh ran through the 2021 All-Ireland champions at ease in the first half.
The huge crowd were no doubt encouraged by last week’s six point victory over Dublin and this was expected to be a more realistic test, coming signposted as it was.
By the half time break, Tyrone were 2-8 to 0-4 adrift. It could have been an awful lot more as Armagh also created three goal chances that they weren’t able to capitalise upon.
It took seven minutes for the first major to arrive. For this game, Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney moved Rian O’Neill to a deeper position.
He created the first goal with a ball inside to Greg McCabe and with Liam Rafferty caught under the dropping ball, he made space to dispatch his shot to the net.
Tyrone replied with points from Darragh Canavan and Michael McKernan, but the space afforded to Armagh soon told as they ran in six of the next seven points.
The second goal arrived in first half injury time when Connaire Mackin secured possession from an Armagh kickout. It was worked to the completely unmarked Tiernan Kelly who drew the defence before slipping to Jason Duffy who skipped around Niall Morgan to plant the ball in the net.
Tyrone managed to narrow the lead to six by the end. But with a raft of suspensions to follow, this was a meltdown from the Red Hands.
Armagh will know that some feel they are peaking early. It has happened other teams in the past but there is no club-only month of April to contend with. Perhaps if that is the case, their approach may be seen to be ultimately correct.
Scorers for Armagh: R O’Neill (0-4, 2f), J Duffy (1-1), G McCabe (1-0), R Grugan (0-2f), A McKay, J Óg Burns, Ciaran Mackin, T Kelly, J Hall, A Nugent, S Campbell (0-1) each
Scorers for Tyrone: C McShane (0-7f), M McKernan, P Hampsey, N Donnelly, K McGeary, D Canavan, N Sludden (0-1) each, D McCurry (0-1f)
ARMAGH: B Hughes; G McCabe, A McKay, A Forker; Connaire Mackin, N Rowland, J Óg Burns; Ciaran Mackin, S Sheridan; J Hall, R Grugan, T Kelly; A Nugent, R O’Neill, J Duffy. Subs:S Campbell for Kelly (HT), M Shields for Connaire Mackin (45m), N Grimley for Sheridan (50m – 64m, Blood sub), C O’Hanlon for Duffy (63m), J Morgan for Rowland (67m), N Grimley for Nugent (73m)
TYRONE: N Morgan; M McKernan, P Hampsey, L Rafferty; C Meyler, F Burns, P Harte; N Donnelly, B Kennedy; K McGeary, D Canavan, N Sludden; D McCurry, M Donnelly, C McShane. Subs: J Munroe for Rafferty, C Shields for M Donnelly (HT), P Donaghy for McCurry (47m), C McKenna for N Donnelly (52m), B McDonnell for Sludden (73m)
Referee: David Gough (Meath)