Drama aplenty in Newry as Armagh and Clare draw
David Tubridy ultimately salvages precious point for Clare as three red cards brandished
Clare’s David Tubridy scored 1-7 against Armagh. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho
Armagh 1-13 Clare 2-10
It may have been Armagh’s controversial decision to unlawfully engage in warm weather training ahead of last year’s championship that led to this game being played in the neutral environment of Pairc Esler, Newry but that episode paled in relation to the drama that unfolded on Sunday.
Three dismissals, Armagh’s contention that neither of Clare’s goals should have stood and a serious leg injury accidentally incurred by the Banner side’s Dermot Coughlan in the opening minute all contrived to lend tension, passion and pathos to the occasion.
Clare manager Colm Collins even went so far as to indicate that the game should not have been played in the first place because of what he felt was deep-seated frost while his opposite number Kieran McGeeney was again left to lament what he perceived to be another ration of ill-luck.
By half-time Armagh’s Jamie Clarke had been red-carded, his team trailed by 1-8 to 1-6 with Gregory McCabe’s goal sustaining their challenge before Gavin Cooney found the net for Clare but when Clare lost Cathal O’Connor to a red card in the 54th minute, Armagh with Jemar Hall, Joe McElroy and Rory Grugan surged into a 1-13 to 1-9 lead.
It was the majestic David Tubridy who ultimately salvaged a precious point for Clare, though. After flighting over his seventh point, he drilled in a free from the sideline that eluded the Armagh defence with the ball ending up in the net.
A frustrated McGeeney said afterwards: “I don’t think either of the goals should have stood. The referee thought that Gavin Cooney’s fisted effort had taken a deflection and so allowed the score to stand. I think it will be shown that this was not the case and as for the second goal I believe that the ball did not cross the line.”
Understandably, Clare boss Collins was more concerned with the welfare of Coughlan whose serious injury after just 20 seconds resulted in a 12-minute delay in play before he was removed to hospital.
“Obviously that was a setback and I honestly thought that the game maybe should not have been played because of the extent of frost there was underneath the surface,” said Collins.
Armagh: B Hughes; A McKay, J Morgan, M Shields; C Mackin 0-1, G McCabe 1-1, A Forker; S Sheridan, N Grimley 0-3 (2f); J Hall 0-2, R Grugan (0-1f), C Vernon 0-1; S Campbell, R O’Neill 0-3 (1f), J Clarke: Subs: J McElroy for Campbell (51), R McShane for Vernon (56), J Duffy for Shields (63), R McQuillan for hall (67). Yellow cards: McKay (28), Shields (35), Grugan (35+9), Hall (42), Morgan (50). Red card: Clarke (30). McKay (two yellows 72).
Clare: P DeLoughrey; K Harnett, C Brennan, G Kelly 0-1; D Ryan, C hAinifein, D Masterson 0-1; G Brennan, C O’Connor; C O’Dea, J Malone, D Coughlan; K Malone 0-1, K Sexton, D Tubridy 1-7 (4f). Subs: G Cooney 1-0 for Coughlan (1 min), E Collins for Masterson (46), D Bohannon for K Malone (59), G O’Brien for J Malone (66), C Murray for Sexton (66). Yellow cards: Masterson (32), J Malone (42), Cooney (50), Kelly (55). Red card: O’Connor (54).
Referee: Cormac Reilly (Meath)