Armagh minor footballers exited the Ulster Minor League at the semi-final stage when Tyrone claimed a 6 point win in Garvaghey at the weekend. Armagh got off to a bright start leading early on 0-3 to 0-1.
The opening score from Ross McQuillan came right from the throw-in and Shea Loye and Callum O’Neill were also on target in the opening period. Tyrone responded with four points and a great block from Seán McAlinden on the Armagh full-back line won back some of the momentum for the Orchardmen. Rian O’Neill converted a free from the right wing before Tyrone added a further two to put them back ahead. Rian O’Neill converted his second, but spurned a couple of opportunities to draw the sides level. Tyrone took control from then on in, converting 0-3 from the dead ball and 0-2 from play, In the same period, an Armagh effort from Conor McConville came off the post and fell wide and team captain, Callum O’Neill also added to the wide tally. Despite the good start, Armagh trailed at half time, Ard Mhacha 0-5 Tír Eoghain 0-11.
Tyrone claimed the first score of the second half, converting what was an extremely harsh free and Armagh struggled to get going again with another couple of wides to add to their tally. Tyrone continued piling on the pressure and only for a super block from Cathair McGeary, the game could have been wrapped up early in the second half. The Armagh response was a point from a Rian O’Neill free, but a second free a minute later trailed wide. Tyrone added another score, but Armagh received a lifeline when a great ball in from Rian O’Neill was won by halftime substitute Matthew Girvan who fed it to Aodhán McConville to finish to the net. The score stood at Armagh 1-6 Tyrone 0-13. Tyrone’s response was rapid with two points and a good block from Seán McAlinden prevented a third. Shea Loye saw an effort rebound off the post and with the ball being worked up the field, the Tyrone left-corner forward cut through the Armagh defence too easily to bury the ball to the net with just ten minutes to go. Armagh never dropped the heads, however, and two points apiece for Loye and Rian O’Neill brought the sides closer. Armagh needed a goal with the time ticking away, but an effort from Matthew Girvan was straight at the keeper. Tyrone will go on to play Donegal in the final, while Armagh will regroup and focus on the upcoming Ulster championship. Final score Ard Mhacha 1-10 Tír Eoghain 1-16