Armagh hurlers unbeaten run in the league sees them through to the Division 3A Allianz Leagues decider. For the third week running, Armagh hurlers were forced to battle to the bitter end to secure a draw.
Sunday 1 March 2020, Athletic Grounds
Armagh 3-16 Tyrone 0-25
Tyrone opened up the scoring when Damien Casey converted a 65 after he shot wide. Nathan Curry equalised early on but Tyrone hit three consecutive scores to build up a three lead. With the next piece of action Armagh pulled level as good work from Ryan Gaffney and a lovely pick up and pass from Nathan Curry sent Danny Magee through for goal. However Tyrone soon regained their three point advantage, thanks to a brace from Conor Grogan and a good effort from Conor McNally. Eoin McGuinness cut the gap before Dean Gaffney stepped up to strike for a penalty. Armagh were soon three ahead after Danny Magee passed his marker and finished to the net for his second green flag, a score that put Armagh three ahead. Yet again Tyrone hit back and with the refereeing curiously penalising Armagh handpasses on four occasions, Damien Casey was on hand to take advantage, though the visitors did get a few from play. Ryan and Dean Gaffney reduced the arrears to the minimum, but Casey again fired over another soft free to leave two in it at half time in favour of Tyrone.
The ball had barely been thrown in when Paddy McBride got on the scoresheet with a super effort, but Casey converted two, one from play and one from the dead ball. Dean Gaffney pulled one back after great work from McBride, but Tyrone’s Matthew Devlin cancelled that effort out. Nathan Curry fired over a fantastic point, which was followed up by a Dean Gaffney score from play to bring Armagh to within one yet again. A misplaced puck out give Brian McGurk an easy score and Casey and Gaffney maintained their accuracy from the dead ball and with 15 minutes to go, Tyrone still led by a solitary score. Casey with two looked to have swung the momentum for Tyrone with 10 to go, but Fionntán Donnelly got on the scoresheet and captain Nathan Curry hit a super score, before Gaffney equalised as the five minutes of injury time were announced. Armagh had a chance to finish the tie, but Ryan Gaffney was hauled down in the square for what looked to all to be a clearcut penalty. Unfortunately for Armagh, the referee was the only man in the Athletic Grounds who disagreed and a clumsy enough tackle at the other end allowed Casey to fire Tyrone ahead. However, Armagh worked the ball to the other end of the field and Danny Magee converted to secure a much needed point to give Armagh a spot in the League final.
Armagh: Fintan Woods, Paddy Quinn, Tiarnán Nevin, Ciarán Clifford, Oisín Keenan, Artie McGuinness, Kieran McKernan, Aaron Fox, Odhrán Curry, Dean Gaffney 1-7 (1-5 f), Paddy McBride 0-1, Ryan Gaffney 0-2, Eoin McGuinness 0-1, Nathan Curry 0-3, Danny Magee 2-1 Subs used: Connor Devlin, Fionntán Donnelly 0-1, Mark McClatchey
Armagh will play Donegal in the 3A League Final on Sunday 8 March at 2pm in Pearse Park, Longford.