Armagh dump Tyrone out to keep their summer alive
Mickey Harte’s team looked a pale shadow of their former selves
Tyrone’s Seán Cavanagh finds his way blacked by Armagh’s Stephen Harold during the All-Ireland SFC Round 2B Qualifier at Healy Park in Omagh. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Inpho/Presseye
Tyrone 0-10 Armagh 0-13
Tyrone have kissed goodbye to the 2014 football championship, dumped out on their own turf by an Armagh team clearly more intent to salvage something more for their season.
It was far from pretty, nor indeed particularly exciting, but that won’t matter for Armagh, who now go into draw for round 3A, while Tyrone go back into the off season wondering where it all went wrong.
Indeed it was a desperately lethargic performance from Mickey Harte’s team, who were reduced to 14 men at the end of the first half, and by the end saw most of their old heads, such as Seán Cavanagh and Stephen O’Neill and Conor Cooney, look very old.
It was a hugely disappointing way to go out too, before a home crowd who made up the vast majority of the attendance on 10,819. In fact both teams seemed pale shadows of the giants that met in the 2003 All-Ireland final, at the peak of their powers.
But Armagh definitely played the better football for longer periods, and were deserving winners despite doing their very best to keep Tyrone in the game by hitting repeated wide balls in the closing stages, while Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan also made a couple of crucial blocks.
But key scores from Jamie Clarke, Tony Kernan and later Andy Mallon and Mark Shields and substitute Rory Grugan ensured that Paul Grimley’s team kept their advantage intact until the end. It clearly didn’t help Tyrone’s cause that they went the last 20 minutes without a single score, having been 10-apiece on 50 minutes.
Tyrone were also two points down at the break, but promptly levelled up – O’Neill’s introduction at least then making an immediate difference. Inevitably that prompted Armagh into a response, and suddenly they made the extra man count by hitting the next three points in quick succession, including a free from substitute Aaron Kernan.
Yet Tyrone appeared incomprehensibly lazy, disinterested almost, in the first half – beyond the opening seconds when they livened up for some pushing and shoving with their opponents. It was typically silly stuff, but resulted in yellow cards for Tyrone’s Matthew Donnelly and Armagh’s Aidan Forker. That came back to haunt Donnelly later in the half, when he picked up a second yellow card on 31 minutes – for a foul on Tony Kernan – and so Tyrone were reduced to 14 men.
Both teams looked tense and with that careless in the first half, although Armagh at least put together a more regular string of attacks, building themselves into a slight advantage. Tony Kernan hit three frees and one ’45, and Clarke also added two frees, and with Stephen Harold scoring one from play, they went up 0-7 to 0-3 as the half wound down.
Tyrone did claw two points back, both coming through frees of Cavanagh, although he was well short of his usual influence on the game. Tyrone also lost defender Ronan McNamee to concussion, just before the break, bringing on Gormley instead. Indeed it was a uphill battle for most of the second half, despite the brief surge at the beginning of it, and in the end Armagh should have been even more than three-point winners.
TYRONE: 1 N Morgan (0-1, a free); 7 J McMahon, 3 R McNamee, 4 PJ Quinn; 5 R McNabb, 6 M Donnelly, 2 A McCrory; 8 C Cavanagh, S Cavanagh (0-5, all frees); 10 E McKenna, 11 K Coney (0-1), 12 C McGinley; 13 D McCurry (0-2, both frees), 14 N McKenna (0-1), 15 C McAliskey.
Subs: 20 C Gormley for McNamee (32 mins, inj), 18 B Tierney for McGinley (33 mins), 21 S O’Neill for McAliskey (half time), 19 M Penrose for Quinn (48 mins), 17 M Donnelly for Coney (62 mins).
ARMAGH: 1 P McEvoy; 4 A Mallon (0-1), 2 J Morgan, 20 M Murray; 5 M Shields (0-1), 3 C Vernon, 7 C McKeever; 22 S Harold (0-1), 9 A Findon; 12 S Campbell (0-1), 24 A Forker, 11 K Dyas; 18 T Kernan (0-4, three frees, one ’45), 23 S Forker, 15 J Clarke (0-3, two frees).
Subs: 25 A Kernan (0-1, a free) for Morgan (43 mins), 13 K Carragher for S Forker (45 mins), 17 R Grugan (0-1) for A Forker (52 mins), 10 E McVerry for S Forker (54 mins), 6 B Donaghy for T Kernan (66 mins), 19 F Moriarty for McKeever (67 mins, black card).
Referee: Cormac Reilly.