Drama aplenty as Derry retain Ulster title while Armagh suffer more penalty shootout heartbreak

May 14, 2023

Derry's Lachlan Murray celebrates after scoring a point against Armagh ©INPHO/Tom Maher

Derry are Ulster senior football champions for the second successive year after defeating Armagh 3-1 in a penalty shootout in Clones this evening.

Ciaran McFaul fired in the winning penalty for the defending champions while ‘keeper Odhran Lynch saved three of Armagh’s spot-kicks in the shootout as the Oak Leaf County triumphed to their eighth provincial success.

An airtight decider couldn’t be decided after 90 minutes at a packed-out St Tiernach’s Park, where Rian O’Neill’s free in the second minute of injury-time in extra time had the scoreboard reading 1-15 to 0-18 and left the lottery of penalties to decide the destination of the Anglo-Celt Cup.

Derry had made the perfect start to the game with Brendan Rogers’ punched goal in the ninth minute but their Orchard counterparts would never go away and only a point (1-5 to 0-7) separated the teams when they went in at the half.

The second-half was even tighter and two late points from O’Neill, including a free in injury-time, left it at 1-10 to 0-13 and ultimately forced extra time.

Kieran McGeeney’s men made the better start in the added periods with a Ross McQuillan point and Stefan Campbell’s fine score would have them two up early in the second-half.

As was the theme of this decider, neither side was willing to give up much ground and ace attacker Shane McGuigan would be the man to draw it level with a brace of points before young talent Lachlan Murray shot the holders in front with a minute to go.

Armagh robbed possession back in their own half to win the last free of the match which O’Neill converted under pressure to square it for the last time but, like in last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final loss to Galway, luck wouldn’t be on their side the shootout that followed and it sees their wait for Ulster SFC glory set stretch into a 16th year at least.

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