Late Armagh blitz sees off Westmeath in Mullingar qualifier

Kieran McGeeney’s team see off hosts after late Ethan Rafferty goal in qualifier clash

James Dolan and Aidan Forker compete for possession. Photograph: Inpho

James Dolan and Aidan Forker compete for possession. Photograph: Inpho

 

Westmeath 1-12 Armagh 1-7

An injury-time goal by substitute Ethan Rafferty propelled Armagh to a flattering five-point SFC qualifier win in Mullingar on Saturday evening.

This was a bad-tempered encounter with four black cards issued, the first of them to marquee Armagh forward Jamie Clarke for a foul committed after just 15 seconds.

The wind-assisted visitors looked in control when leading by 0-7 to 0-3 after 29 minutes, three of the Ulster team’s points coming from play by Gavin McParland. However, a Paul Sharry goal on the half-hour mark and a converted free in injury-time by John Heslin drew Westmeath level by the interval.

The sides were still on level terms (0-9 to 1-6) when Blaine Hughes did very well to keep out a Heslin goal attempt in the 54th minute. Soon afterwards, Kieran McGeeney’s troops were down to 14 men when Gregory McCabe picked up his second yellow card.

The sides were tied (0-10 to 1-7) at the end of normal time. Tom Cribbin’s men looked the more likely winners at this stage but some wasteful shooting was to prove very costly, with points in added-time from Oisin O’Neill and Stefan Campbell, either side of a breakaway goal scored by Ethan Rafferty sparking joyous celebrations among the very large Armagh contingent in the crowd of 5,012.

Armagh: B Hughes; A McKay, C Vernon, P Hughes; A Forker (0-1), B Donaghy, J Morgan; S Sheridan (0-1), N Grimley (0-1, free); C O’Hanlon, A Duffy, R Grugan (0-3, two frees); J Clarke, A Murnin, G McParland (0-3). Subs: S Campbell (0-1) for Clarke (BC, 2 mins), G McCabe for Morgan (BC, 20 mins), M Shields for McKay (45 mins), O O’Neill (0-2) for Duffy (45 mins), C McKeever for McParland (57 mins), E Rafferty (1-0) for O’Hanlon (64 mins).

Westmeath: D Quinn; M McCallon, K Maguire, J Gonoud; D Lynch, F Boyle, J Dolan; P Sharry (1-0), G Egan; J Egan, K Martin, S Duncan; K Reilly, J Heslin (0-6, four frees), K Daly. Subs: T McDaniel for G Egan (28 mins), C McCormack for Reilly (55 mins), A Stone for Duncan (56 mins), N Mulligan for Lynch (60 mins) A Gardiner for McCallon (BC, 66 mins), A Gaughan (0-1) for J Egan (BC, 67 mins)

Referee: P O’Sullivan (Kerry).

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