A tense and exhilarating finish to this second round tie in Group A of the Nicky Rackard Cup saw Armagh return home with a hard earned point as the sides finished level 2-18 to 1-21.
Apart from a bright opening five minute spell for the visitors, Warwickshire provided the main threat in the first half. Dylan McKenna, Dean Gaffney and Danny Magee from play, as well as a Gaffney free had Armagh 0-4 to 0-1 ahead, but 7 consecutive scores and a lion’s share of break ball by Warwickshire had Armagh in trouble. Three frees in three minutes from the sharpshooting Gaffney brought the margin down to one, but Warwickshire took advantage of some dodgy decisions from the home umpires and pushed ahead again with four more scores to Armagh’s one before the small whistle.
Half time: Warwickshire 0-12 Armagh 0-8
Whilst the hosts hit the opening score of the second half, Armagh hit the next six to go in front by the smallest margin 10 minutes into the half. Warwickshire pulled one back and scores were traded with the score standing 0-15 apiece, before a couple of defensive errors let in the home side for a soft goal. A shocking call from the home linesman, ruled out a legitimate Dylan McKenna score and Warwickshire added another two points to take a five point lead with just ten minutes remaining. However, Dean Gaffney kept the Armagh scoreboard ticking from the dead ball and a long range free two minutes into injury time, his 16th point of the day, drew the sides level. Having indicated three minutes of time added on, Armagh won the next puck out and when Danny Magee got on the ball, a great solo effort and super finish to the net looked to have secured an unlikely victory. But that ecstasy turned to agony within 60 seconds, as Armagh man Jack Lynch finished to the net at the other end for his adopted county to share the spoils.
Full time: Warwickshire 2-18 Armagh 1-21
Armagh’s final group game in the Nicky Rackard Cup is an away fixture to Longford, a side buoyed by a good win over Monaghan at the weekend. An Armagh win or draw on Saturday 1 June would see them through to a semi-final.
Armagh: Simon Doherty, Caolán Rice, Artie McGuinness, Paddy Quinn, Davy Bridges, Ciarán Clifford, Tiarnán Nevin, Odhrán Curry 0-1, Paddy McGrane, Shaun Toal, Eoin McGuinness 0-1, Dean Gaffney 0-16 (0-13f, 0-2 65), Stevie Renaghan, Dylan McKenna 0-1, Danny Magee 1-2
Subs used: Odhrán McCann, Glenn McKeown