Revitalised Galway spring a major shock to end Armagh’s season
Danny Cummins goal gives Tribesmen the impetus to push on for a notable victory
Galway’s Danny Cummins celebrates scoring his side’s opening goal with Michael Martin. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Galway 1-11 Armagh 0-9
Galway manager Alan Mulholland felt the tough outings they had against Tipperary and Waterford served them well going into this qualifier at Pearse Stadium on Saturday.
Armagh had scored facile wins over Leitrim and Wicklow but Mulholland felt that his side were in a better position having endured anxious moments en route.
“Having Armagh taking care of Leitrim by such a big margin and Wicklow as well, this really was set up for us. Them coming down here, maybe lulled into a false sense of security after those two victories,” said Mulholland.
Armagh manager Paul Grimley hopes to be given the chance to stay in charge next year because he feels progress has been made this season. “This is the job I always wanted and I still want it.”
He dismissed the theory that Armagh underestimated Galway. “All week and right up to a half an hour before the game we were warning the players.”
Armagh never led in this game and, in truth, never looked like achieving the win which would send them to Croke Park next Saturday for a tilt at Cork.
Galway wasted little time in letting Armagh know they were in for a serious test and opened up a 0-3 to 0-0 lead after 10 minutes. Tony Kernan got Armagh off the mark with a free after 12 minutes, and there was just a point between the sides after Seán Armstrong and his marker Ciarán McKeever exchanged points when the key score of the game came after 24 minutes.
Paul Conroy struck a 50m free from the left and Danny Cummins, possibly inside the square, rose highest to fist the ball across goal and into the left corner. That put Galway ahead by 1-4 to 0-3, and two points from play from Michael Martin pushed them further ahead.
Grimley responded with a couple of substitutions and one of them, Stefan Campbell, got the first of three points and Aaron Kernan also found the range to leave them 1-6 to 0-5 adrift at the break.
Armagh needed a solid start to the second half and while the wides continued to mount, points from Campbell and Etan Rafferty halved the deficit.
However Galway responded well and Martin took on the responsibility and kicked a key point after 48 minutes.
Campbell hit back with a third point but Michael Meehan tacked on two more frees for Galway. Armagh managed just one score in the final 21 minutes, a late point from McKeever.
In between Galway played some excellent possession football and Conroy and Gary Sice both burst forward to fire over points to help secure an impressive victory.