Niall Grimley’s late goal earns a dramatic reprieve for Armagh
Vital point throws Orchard County men a lifeline before vital Derry clash
Tyrone’s Mattie Donnelly is tackled by Armagh’s Colm Watters at Healy Park in Omagh. Photograph: Matt Mackey/Presseye/Inpho
Substitute Niall Grimley punched home a precious goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time to level a high-stakes Ulster derby.
Defeat would have almost certainly meant the drop for Kieran McGeeney’s men, but now they will face into next weekend’s clash with Derry galvanised by their heroics on Saturday night.
“It takes a wee bit of luck, those balls can go anywhere,” said Armagh manager McGeeney. “But I was happy in the fact the fellas kept fighting. . .”.
Already promoted Tyrone moved into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead with a couple of Ronan O’Neill scores, and despite their defensive strategy, Armagh were able to win frees, which Stefan Campbell dispatched, with Colm Watters and Aidan Forker hitting the target also.
Watters’ second strike levelled the scores late in the opening quarter, but spectacular scores from Richie Donnelly and Connor McAliskey saw Tyrone lead 0-8 to 0-6 at the interval.
Campbell and O’Neill swapped scores early in the second half. However, it was beginning to look bleak for the Orchard men when Darren McCurry opened up a four points lead, and Watters was sent off on a second yellow card 12 minutes from the end.
However, Armagh refused to surrender, and went route one in search of the vital goal, and finally hit the jackpot when substitutes Tony Kernan and Grimley combined to hit the net right at the death.
TYRONE: N Morgan, A McCrory, P Hampsey, C McCarron, N Sludden, R Brennan, T McCann, C Cavanagh, M Donnelly, P Harte, R O’Neill (0-5, three frees), R Donnelly (0-2), D McCurry (0-2, frees), S Cavanagh, C McAliskey (0-3). Subs: M Bradley (0-1) for Hart (5 mins), B Tierney for Sludden (51 mins), Conall McCann for McAliskey (56 mins), P McNulty for R Donnelly (59 mins).
ARMAGH: P Morrison, A Mallon, C Vernon, S Heffron, M Shields, S Connell, A Forker (0-1), J McElroy, E Rafferty, R Grugan, M McKenna, C O’Hanlon, C Watters (0-2), S Campbell (0-6, five frees, one 45), G McParland. Subs: T Kernan (0-1) for O’Hanlon (h-t), N Grimley (1-0) for Rafferty (55 mins), S Forker for McPaland (59 mins), A Findon for McKenna (63 mins), J Hall for Campbell 68 mins).
Referee: P Neilan (Roscommon).