Armagh finish strong against Clare to return to top tier

Clare just about avoid the drop after Armagh score five points unanswered to seal win

Job done, Armagh’s win against Clare means they are back in Division 1 in 2021. File photograph: Inpho

Job done, Armagh’s win against Clare means they are back in Division 1 in 2021. File photograph: Inpho

 

Armagh 1-18 Clare 1-13

On a hectic afternoon in Division 2 of the Allianz football league Armagh overcame Clare by five points at Cusack Park to seal their promotion.

Kieran McGeeney’s men will compete in Division 1 of the Allianz football league next season, the first Armagh team to do so since 2012, while results elsewhere mean Colm Collins’ charges avoided the drop. Just about. They edged Cavan on a head to head after both finishing on six points. At one point however they were eyeing a win here which would have seen them promoted to the top tier.

Armagh got off to the best of starts and inside two minutes Callum Cumiskey had the ball in Eamonn Tubridy’s net. He received a quickly taken free by Rory Grugan, and scored with the Banner defence off guard. This early goal put them in pole position and by the water break they held a deserved 1-6 to 0-3 advantage. But as in many cases since the water break was introduced, the losing side returned with a point to prove. Clare did exactly that.

They outscored their opponents by six points to one before the half-time break, going in just a point behind, 1-7 to 0-9. They grabbed scores from team-captain Eoin Cleary (0-4), Jamie Malone and Keelan Sexton. Armagh’s lone scorer in this period was Jason Duffy who fired over after an impressive string of passes.

The Ulster side looked to be in command early in the second half, leading by 1-11 to 0-10. But a never-say-die Clare replied with a Cian O’Dea goal in the 49th minute. He fielded a Gary Brennan lob from out the field and made no mistake from close range. It looked as if a comeback was on when the teams were level at 1-13 apiece, but five unanswered Armagh points, including a valuable pair by Oisin O’Neill before full time, ensured promotion.

Armagh: B Hughes, A Forker, R Kennedy, P Burns, J Duffy (0-1), M Shields, J Morgan, S Sheridan (0-1), R O’Neill (0-6, 0-5 frees), R Grugan (0-3, 0-1 free), C Cumisky (1-0), C O’Neill (0-1), J Clarke (0-1), O O’Neill (0-3), N Grimley.

Subs: G McCabe for Shields (34 mins), S Campbell (0-1) for Duffy (h-t), J Og Burns (0-1) for Cumisky (40 mins), C McKenna for Grimley (50 mins), C Turbitt for Clarke (64 mins).

Clare: E Tubridy, G Kelly, C Brennan, E Collins, A Sweeney, A Fitzgerald, P Lillis, C O’Connor, C Russell, G Brennan (0-1), E Cleary (0-8, 0-6 frees), J Malone (0-1), K Sexton (0-3, 0-1 45), J McGann, C O’Dea (1-0).

Subs: S Collins for Fitzgerald (43 mins), D Tubridy for Russell(43 mins), P Collins for McGann (58 mins),K Harnett for E Collins (67 mins), G O’Brien for O’Connor (69 mins).

Referee: D O’Mahoney (Tipperary)

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