Allianz Football League Division 1 relegation play-off
ARMAGH 1-17 ROSCOMMON 0-11
By Dan Bannon
Armagh extended their stay in Allianz Division 1 with a comfortable nine point win over a seasoned Roscommon side at home at the Athletic Grounds.
A huge turnover by the returning Andrew Murnin on Roscommon wingback Richard Hughes swung not only the ball in his side’s favour, but their league status for 2022.
Impressive Jemar Hall was on hand to pounce and scoop up the loose possession before swiftly providing the ball for Oisín O’Neill to finish.
The major on the half hour mark shook Roscommon and injected the home side with a dose of confidence that fuelled them for the rest of the relegation play off.
Up until that point, Roscommon came to the Cathedral City with a real sense of purpose and romped to an early 0-5 to 0-1 lead after 13 minutes. Both Murtagh brothers Ciarán and Diarmuid landed a brace apiece after Conor Cox settled the Connacht men right away from the throw-in.
Interestingly, Armagh squeezed Colm Lavin’s restarts in the Roscommon goal after the first half water break and profited directly from the tactic with two quick points as well as rousing the home support with sublime Niall Grimley and Ciaron O’Hanlon marks
Hall was instrumental in that dominant second quarter period for the hosts, clever decision making saw the Forkhill man hand pass the ball over the bar twice and pick up a mark in between to make it 1-7 to 0-7 in his side’s favour at half time.
The second half was a bit of a non contest such was Armagh’s stranglehold on the game. Packing their defence with numbers and breaking at pace, the hosts outscored Roscommon 5-2 in both quarters.
Roscommon rarely threatened to create a goal chance and quickly ran out of idea’s despite Cox’s ability to singlehandedly bring the fight to Armagh, with the Listowel man clipping over two free’s and one from play in vain.
In contrast, Rory Grugan’s three second half points were well supported by the O’Neills who added to their tallies with ease and Niall Grimley brought the house down with the final score of the game to please his partisan supporters even more.
Scorers for Armagh: Rian O’Neill 0-5 (2f, 1m), Oisín O’Neill 1-1, Jemar Hall (1m) and Rory Grugan (2f) 0-3 each, Andrew Murnin 0-2 (1m), Stefan Campbell, Niall Grimley and Greg McCabe 0-1 each
Scorers for Roscommon: Conor Cox 0-5 (2f, 1m), Ciarán Murtagh 0-3 (1f 1m) Diarmuid Murtagh 0-2, Niall Daly 0-1.
ARMAGH: Blaine Hughes; Ross Finn, Greg McCabe, Aaron McKay; Aidan Forker, Connaire Mackin, Ciaron O’Hanlon; Niall Grimley, Oisín O’Neill; Jemar Hall, Rían O’Neill, Tiernan Kelly; Rory Grugan, Andrew Murnin, Stefan Campbell.
Subs: Conor Turbitt for Murnin (41) Jarly Óg Burns for Kelly (41), Conor O’Neill for Hall (49), Ryan Kennedy for Forker (58), Brendan Donaghy for O’Hanlon (66), James Morgan for McKay (68).
ROSCOMMON: Colm Lavin; Conor Daly, Richard Hughes, David Murray, Brian Stack, Ronan Daly, Conor Hussey; Enda Smith, Tadhg O’Rourke; Niall Kilroy, Ciarán Murtagh, Shane Killoran; Diarmuid Murtagh, Donie Smith, Conor Cox.
Subs: Niall Daly for Hughes (32) Eddie Nolan for E Smith (ht), Fergal Lennon for R Daly (ht), Cathal Cregg for Kilroy (44), Conor Devaney for Killoran (44), Ciarán Lennon for D Murtagh (55) Cian McKeon for D Smith (55) Hubert Darcy for Devaney Blood (64-67).
REFEREE: Seán Hurson (Meath)