Armagh 0-13 Donegal 1-22
Armagh suffered a harsh lesson in Breffni Park on Saturday afternoon as Donegal cruised into the Ulster final.
This season ended in brutal fashion. With promotion secured, nothing was expected from Armagh today, but even at that, no one saw this coming.
Memoires came flooding back to the last time these sides met in the championship. Donegal where nine points better off back in 2015.
Kieran McGeeney’s men have made a lot of progress from that clash, but on Saturday’s evidence still have a lot to do.
They will not only rue some missed chances, but also the way in which Donegal continuously punished their mistakes.
Several times in the opening period Armagh saw their attack turned over and in the blink of an eye there was a white flag raised at the other end.
By the first water break the Tir Chonaill men had built up a three-point lead but it was the second quarter that they made the burst for home.
They penned in the Armagh kick outs with great joy and rattled off several scores to put the game to bed before the break.
Man of the match Peadar Mogan picked up the only goal of the game, at the end of the first half, that knocked the heart out of the Armagh side.
A high ball to Michael Murphy was batted away by Aidan Forker, who was superb in stalking the Donegal captain all afternoon.
Possession fell to Mogan and the pacey wing half forward raced past two Armagh defenders before rippling the back of the net.
By the interval, Donegal had amassed eight different scorers, with five registering more than a single point.
While on the other hand, Armagh had one name on the scoresheet, with Rian O’Neill slotting over three frees.
With the Ulster final now well out of reach, pride was all that was at stake for Armagh in the second half and they did show some spirit.
O’Neill nailed two further scores (one free and one 45) before Jamie Clarke swung over their first score from play in the 48th minute.
Conor Turbitt displayed some dash during his championship debut, in the same venue he made his first county appearance in the McKenna Cup last December.
The Clann Eireann man claimed two scores after being introduced, but Donegal kept their side of the score board ticking over as well.
Murphy landed two points from the dead ball while substitutes Patrick McBrearty and Oisin Gallen also got in on the scoring act.
The game started as it finished, with Michael Langan knocking the ball over the bar and with the final score, Donegal brought the margin to twelve.
Armagh witnessed the jump in class that lies between the top two divisions and will hope to learn from their loss today.
Armagh Team: Blaine Hughes, Paddy Burns, Ryan Kennedy, James Morgan, Conor O’Neill, Aidan Forker, Mark Shields, Oisin O’Neill (0-1), Stephen Sheridan, Rory Grugan, Greg McCabe, Stefan Campbell, Jamie Clarke (0-2), Rian O’Neill (0-7 7f), Jarly Og Burns. Subs: Niall Grimley (0-1 one mark) for S. Sheridan, Jemar Hall for C. O’Neill, Andrew Murnin for J. Og Burns, Ethan Rafferty for A. Murnin, C. Turbitt (0-2 one mark) for R. Grugan.
Donegal Team: Shaun Patton, Stephen McMenamin, Neil McGee, Eoghan Ban Gallagher (0-1), Ryan McHugh (0-2), Paul Brennan, Peadar Mogan (1-2), Hugh McFadden (0-1 one mark), Caolan McGonigle (0-2 one mark), Ciaran Thompson (0-2 1f), Niall O’Donnell (0-2 one mark), Michael Langan (0-3), Eoin McHugh, Michael Murphy (0-2 2f), Jamie Brennan (0-2). Subs: Jaeic McKelvey for S. McMenamin, Andrew McClean (0-1) for P. Brennan, Patrick McBrearty (0-1) for J. Brennan, Oisin Gallen (0-1) for E. McHugh.