19 June 2013
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Ulster SFC: Tyrone beat Armagh ... again
10 June 2012
Armagh's Kieran Toner puts pressure on the grounded Colm Cavanagh of Tyrone during the Ulster SFC quarter-final ©INPHO/Presseye/Russell Pritchard
Tyrone reaffirmed their superiority over Armagh with a 0-19 to 1-13 victory at The Athletic Grounds.
In front of 16,418 spectators, the O'Neill County survived a spirited late revival from the 14-man Orchard County to march through to the last four in the northern province.
Armagh, who were playing catch-up throughout, made a gallant late surge to draw level with three successive points between the 56th and 66th minutes after having had centre forward Kevin Dyas dismissed but their experienced opponents kept their composure to sneak across the winning line.
Eight different Tyrone players got on the scoresheet in the first half as Mickey Harte's men established a 0-11 to 1-5 half-time lead, with Aidan Forker bagging the Orchard major on nine minutes. It was a thoroughly-enjoyable opening 35 minutes, with plenty of energy, honesty and endeavour from both sets of players.
Brian Mallon's free from in front of the posts put the hosts in front after one minute but Tyrone's Mr Versatile Joe McMahon equalised with a beautifully-struck free from the hands off the outside of his right foot following a foul on his midfield partner Colm Cavanagh.
Martin Penrose sent a much easier free wide (from a similar angle but closer to goal) off his left boot. Pascal McConnell then made a fine save to deny Mallon a goal and half-hearted Armagh appeals for a penalty (when Jamie Clarke went over far too easily under pressure from Dermot Carlin) fell on deaf ears before Cavanagh popped Tyrone into the lead in the sixth minute.
In the ninth minute, the Orchard men hit the front when Aidan Forker expertly placed his shot past McConnell to the corner of the net for the game's only goal. But the O'Neill County replied instantly with points from Cavanagh and Owen Mulligan to tie the scores up.
Clarke beat his man and arrowed over a trademark point and the Armagh No.13 was just inches away from gathering a brilliant pass from his Crossmaglen team-mate Aaron Kernan - any sort of contact and it would have been a second Armagh goal. Instead, Tyrone levelled again through their No.13, Penrose.
Peter Harte took full advantage of his good fortune to point the visitors back in front when the ball popped into his grasp after Mulligan was dispossessed and Kernan screwed a shot uncharacteristically wide for Paddy O'Rourke's men.
Cathal McCarron sent a shot wide from a difficult angle when he had men well positioned inside, but Tyrone still managed to stretch their lead a minute later when Mulligan converted a free won by Harte: 0-7 to 1-2 after 19 minutes.
Clarke responded with a fantastic score off his less-favoured right boot from an acute angle; Stephen O'Neill did exactly the same at the other end after selling the Armagh defence a trademark dummy; influential Armagh centre forward Dyas closed the gap back to one point, 0-8 to 1-4.
Clarke was wreaking havoc in the visitors' rearguard every time the ball came in to him and he won the free from which Forker brought the sides level for the fourth time with ten minutes remaining in the first half.
Mark Donnelly became the seventh Tyrone player to score in the first half when he collected a pass off the impressive Cavanagh before finishing nonchalantly but efforts from Clarke and McCarron at opposite ends of the pitch flew wide as we witnessed a lull in the scoring. Stephen O'Neill also missed the target from a difficult position.
In the 33rd minute, Penrose clipped over a fine point from play, with Harte the provider, and the home side suffered a blow when Aaron Kernan - who had started brightly - sustained a hamstring injury. (The wing back was replaced by Gavin McParland at half time.)
Corner back Dermot Carlin unconventionally kicked his man out of the way before whacking over a stunning eleventh O'Neill County point - enough to give them a three-point interval cushion.
Tyrone had notched the last three points before the break and they picked up where they had left off when Penrose won and converted a free. Mallon replied from a close-range free after Clarke was felled and Cavanagh missed the target for the Red Hands.
Again, Penrose stroked over a Tyrone free; again, Clarke sidestepped his markers to register for the hosts. McParland landed the Orchard County's second point inside a minute and they were back within two points with ten minutes played in the second half, 0-13 to 1-8.
It was end-to-end stuff now, with some wonderful personal duels ongoing - most notably perhaps Ciaran McKeever V Mulligan. Armagh seemed to be getting on top and McParland hit the target for the second time with a nice overhead finish, reducing the arrears to just one point.
Stephen O'Neill drew a foul from Brendan Donaghy and Penrose took his fifth point from the resultant free to restore Tyrone's two-point cushion in the 52nd minute. Tyrone had managed just three points in the third quarter and all of those were from Penrose frees.
That man Penrose pointed from play after O'Neill had a fleeting glimpse of goal and Armagh were reduced to 14 men when Dyas picked up two yellow cards in the space of as many minutes, forcing him out of the action with 14 minutes of normal time left.
Clarke dragged a free to the right for Armagh's tenth wide and substitute Paul Duffy followed suit.
Nine minutes from the end, Clarke clipped over an unmissable free from in front of the posts after Joe McMahon, who was posted at full back since the interval, was harshly penalised for a 50/50 challenge on substitute Johnny Hanratty. Seconds later, Mallon's free brought it back to a one-point match.
McMahon did magnificently to repel two dangerous high Armagh deliveries into the Tyrone goalmouth but, on 66 minutes, the 14 men drew level when their No.14 Mallon nailed a free from 50 metres. In the ten minutes since losing Dyas, Armagh had landed three consecutive scores.
Harte was the coolest man in The Athletic Grounds as he arced over a timely Tyrone lead point in the 68th minute and Brian Mallon's foul on Donnelly presented Penrose with his seventh point from a routine free.
In the first of four minutes of injury time, O'Neill blasted over a brilliant solo point; Clarke replied with a 13th Armagh point and his fifth of the game.
Conor Gormley won another free and Penrose tapped over his eighth point to complete the scoring.
Tyrone: Pascal McConnell; Aidan McCrory, Justin McMahon, Dermot Carlin (0-1); Cathal McCarron, Conor Gormley, Sean O'Neill; Joe McMahon (0-1), Colm Cavanagh (0-2); Ronan McNabb, Mark Donnelly (0-1), Peter Harte (0-2); Martin Penrose (0-8), Stephen O'Neill (0-2), Owen Mulligan (0-2). Subs: Michael Murphy, Niall McKenna, Ryan McMenamin, Patrick McNiece.
Armagh: Philip McEvoy; Andy Mallon, Brendan Donaghy, Declan McKenna; Aaron Kernan, Ciaran McKeever, Finian Moriarty; Kieran Toner, Malachy Mackin; Aidan Forker (1-1), Kevin Dyas (0-1), Anto Duffy; Jamie Clarke (0-5), Brian Mallon (0-4), Caolan Rafferty. Subs: Paul Duffy, Gavin McParland (0-1), Johnny Hanratty, Charlie Vernon, John Kingham.
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