Armagh minor footballers finished the group stages of the Ulster minor football league with a good win over near neighbours Down at Pearse Óg Park on Saturday.
The Mourne county got off to the better start, racing ahead 0-3 to 0-0 before Rian O’Neill hit the first of his personal haul of 0-10 over the 60 minutes. Down pushed forward and took a 0-6 to 0-4 lead after 15 minutes but Armagh took control of the remainder of the half with O’Neill impressing in front of the posts. Armagh were also guilty of some wayward shooting and hit a huge number of wides in the period, which Down punished on the stroke of half time with the right corner forward finishing to the net on the third attempt after efforts came off the post and crossbar. Armagh responded before the whistle with another two points to leave the half time score Ard Mhacha 0-7 An Dún 1-7.
The half time talk from Paul McGrane paid dividends as the Orchard boys opened up the second half with a goal from full forward Eoghan McDonnell in the first minute. The Down response was superb though and a great finish had the green flag flying again. In the next passage of play, Armagh spurned a further chance of a goal after Kevin McAlinden failed to connect properly with the ball, having seen an effort come off the upright. Down hit two further scores through their number 15 and O’Neill kept the gap to three by converting a 50. The final 15 minutes of the half, similar to the first, saw Armagh take complete control. Callum O’Neill added his name to the scoresheet after an effort from Leo Monteiro was blocked and Eoghan McDonnell hit one from play to bring Armagh to within two. While Armagh were finding it hard to win frees in the second half despite the Down foul count, two converted frees from Rian O’Neill on the 26th and 28th minute drew the sides level. As the game entered time added on, Armagh hit the front for the first time when substitute Conor Turbitt found the net to secure a good win for the Orchard. Full time Ard Mhacha 2-12 An Dún 2-9