Armagh 0-10 Louth 0-8
Armagh secured promotion to Division Two in a rugged, dour encounter against a never-say-die Louth outfit that remained very much in touch despite playing with fourteen players for over 20 minutes.
But Armagh assistant manager Peter McDonnell delivered his own sharp dose of reality when he declared: “We would not be at all pleased with our performance. In fact, the players are very disappointed. This was a crunch game for us and maybe this impacted on the team.”
Despite scoring only one point from play, 14-man Louth stayed on Armagh's shoulder throughout, the superb free-taking of Ryan Burns keeping them well in the contest as their defence performed heroics against a very fancied opposition.
The sides were deadlocked on no fewer than seven occasions, with Jamie Clarke’s failure to convert a 13th minute penalty temporarily deflating the home side.
But a towering performance by Ciaran O'Hanlon, and a brace of points from both Jamie Clarke and Aidan Forker allowed Armagh to close out the game in the second half following Dessie Finnegan's dismissal in the 47th minute. And so Louth's frenetic finish helped to seal Armagh's ascent to a higher plateau.
Armagh: P Morrison; M Shields, C Vernon, J Morgan; C McKeever, F Moriarty, A Mallon; A Findon, C O'Hanlon 0-3; T Kernan 0-1 (f), M McKenna, A Forker 0-2 (1f); J Clarke 0-2, E Rafferty 0-1, A Murnin. Subs: G McParland for Murnin (49), E McVerry for Kernan (52), B Donaghy for Moriarty (57), P Carragher for McVerry (66), S Forker for McKenna (67). Yellow cards: Mallon 42, Morgan 43, McKenna 47, McKeever 69.
Louth: N Gallagher; K Toner, P Reilly, P Rath; A Williams, D Flanagan, J Stewart; B Duffy, E O' Connor; A Reid, D Crilly, D Byrne 0-1; R Burns 0-6 (all frees), C Grimes, D Maguire 0-1 (1f). Sub: T Durnin for O'Connor (72).
Referee: Ciaran Branagan (Down).