Armagh Senior Championship Match Reports

Group 1

Ballymacnab 5-20 Clann Eireann 0-10

A hugely impressive Ballymacnab side took the field on Friday evening and led the contest from start to finish, causing Clann Eireann all sorts of problems from the opening whistle. The visiting side were no match for the aggression and intensity Ballymacnab played with and the Round Towers now sit top of Group 1 with one round remaining.

Jack Grugan got the ball rolling within the opening minute before Rory Grugan doubled the hosts’ advantage. Barry McCambridge broke forward to land the opening score for the Lurgan side but it was met with a brace of Ballymacnab points with Gavin McParland and Oisin McGivern getting the scores.

Clann Eireann dragged themselves back into contention with John Magee and Conor Turbitt raising a white flag each but Ballymacnab soon pulled away as two goals in as many minutes through Gavin McParland and Brendan Toner left the Nab ahead 2-4 to 0-3 after 10 minutes of play.

The next 10 minutes followed a similar pattern although Clann Eireann failed to hit the target during this period while Ballymacnab went on to kick eight points in a row with Brian McCone, Jack Grugan (4), Cormac Gribben, Rory Grugan and Oisin McGivern all getting in on the action.

 Clann Eireann did hit back with a point from McCambridge but it was cancelled out immediately by Jack Grugan while McGivern and Grugan continued to torture the away sides back six. This saw an end to the first half with the home side well ahead at the interval, 2-15 to 0-4.

Clann Eireann tried to spark a revival at the beginning of the second period with Turbitt and Ethan Kearney pointing inside the opening two minutes. Any hope of a comeback was destroyed a minute later when Gavin McParland found the net for the second time of the night, 3-15 to 0-6.

Turbitt pointed a free but the Ballymacnab steam train kept rolling as they struck their 4th goal in the 41st minute with Niall McKee punching the ball home for the easiest of finishes. Aodhan McConville’s point was met with two from Gavin McParland and Rory Grugan while Ethan Kearney hit a brace for Clann Eireann.

Jack Grugan rounded off a spectacular performance with a well taken goal to bring his personal tally to 1-7 while his brother Rory knocked over his 4th point of the game. Substitute Pearse Hughes got his name on the score sheet after being introduced and Oisin McGivern pointed a free with the final score of the game, Ballymacnab running out easy winners in the end 5-20 to 0-10.

Ballymacnab’s next opponents Crossmaglen continued their winning form with a victory over Sarsfields although the south Armagh men didn’t have it all their own way as they sneaked through with a 2-18 to 3-11 victory. The round three clashes are now a straight shootout with the winners of Nab vs Cross through to the quarter finals while the losers of Sarsfields vs Clann Eireann crash out of the competition.

Ballymacnab Scorers: Jack Grugan (1-7), Gavin McParland (2-2), Rory Grugan (0-4), Oisin McGivern (0-4), Brendan Toner (1-0), Niall McKee (1-0), Brian McCone (0-1), Cormac Gribben (0-1), Pearse Hughes (0-1).

Clann Eireann Scorers: Ethan Kearney (0-4), Barry McCambridge (0-2), Conor Turbitt (0-2), John Magee (0-1), Aodhan McConville (0-1).

Group 2

St Peter’s 1-8 Armagh Harps 0-19

A powerful third quarter from the Harps saw them leave Lurgan with two points on Saturday evening although St Peter’s did give them their fill of it in the opening period. Seven unanswered points at the beginning of the second half saw Armagh Harps shake off the sticky St Peter’s side, who led at the break by the minimum of margins.

The Harps were extremely wasteful in the opening half, kicking several wides to keep the hosts in touch. St Peter’s opened their account in the 3rd minute through Fearghal Moore before Charlie Vernon’s left footed effort tied the contest five minutes later. St Peter’s led again through Shea Geraghty but once more the Harps replied with Tom O’Kane this time splitting the posts.

Conn Stevenson put his side ahead for the first time but the lead was short lived as brilliant team work and quick hands saw possession transferred to Fearghal Moore who tapped the ball into the net. Keith Totton got the next score with a converted free to put the home side three points up with 10 minutes left in the first half.

Rory McGrath turned the tide back in his sides favour with a well taken score and the Harps should have went ahead when Tom O’Kane’s blistering run finished with his shot on goal bouncing clear off the post but O’Kane did get the next score with a fisted point before Charlie Vernon levelled the contest.

St Peter’s tagged on the final score of the half with goal getter Fearghal Moore extending his tally to 1-2 after excellent work from the tricky Shea Geraghty, who was a thorn in the side of the Harps defence for the opening 30 minutes. The score at the break was St Peter’s 1-4 Armagh Harps 0-6.

The visitors hit a scoring spree in the second period while St Peter’s struggled to get the ball moved from their defensive third of the field. Eoin Fields hit his first two minutes into the second half while points followed from Joe McElroy and Karol Loughran. The Harps were then awarded a penalty after McElroy’s was hauled down but Gareth Swift’s blistering shot flew over the crossbar to put the Harps three ahead.

Tom O’Kane, Karol Loughran and Gareth Swift all fired over points before Shea Geraghty got St Peter’s off the mark in the 18th minute of the second half. Swift hit two massive points to leave seven the margin while Niall McConville and Ciaran McCavigan pulled two points back for St Peter’s.    

Swift kicked a further two points while Conor White also got forward to split the posts. Niall McConville swung over a free which was cancelled out by Conn Stevenson who hit the final score of the night with the Harps well ahead by the time the final whistle sounded, winning 0-19 to 1-8.

Granemore sit top of group two after overcoming hosts Silverbridge on Friday evening with the minimum of margins to spare. The Bridge were ahead at the short whistle 0-9 to 0-6 but a second half Eoghan O’Neill goal allowed Granemore to take the maximum points from the contest and they now find themselves in the quarter finals with one game remaining.

Armagh Harps Scorers: Gareth Swift (0-6), Tom O’Kane (0-3), Charlie Vernon (0-2), Conn Stevenson (0-2), Karol Loughran (0-2), Rory McGrath (0-1), Eoin Fields (0-1), Joe McElroy (0-1), Conor White (0-1).

St Peter’s Scorers: Fearghal Moore (1-2), Shea Geraghty (0-2), Niall McConville (0-2), Keith Totton (0-1), Ciaran McCavigan (0-1).

Group 3

Dromintee 1-14 Madden 0-11

Dromintee earned top position heading into the final round of group fixtures with a fully deserved six point win over visiting side Madden. The game was tied with ten minutes left on the referee’s watch but the victors outscored their opponents 1-4 to 0-1 during this period to come away with the win.

Niall Grimley kicked his first of seven when the game was just one minute old and Ciaran Rafferty doubled the advantage two minutes later. Dromintee pulled two back through Paul Martin and Niall Courtney before a Conor Martin point saw Dromintee get their noses in front for the first time.

The game was soon all square however as Ciaran Rafferty split the posts for the second time. The sides continued to trade scores with Aidan Morgan and Niall Courtney’s points matched by Niall Smith and Niall Grimley before Conor Martin edged his side into a one point lead at the end of the half, Dromintee 0-6 Madden 0-5.

Niall Courtney gave his side their biggest lead of the game (two points) with a point two minutes into the second period before Niall Grimley and Niall Smith split the posts to level the contest once more with the sides locked on 0-9 each with 25 minutes of action still to be played.

Conor Martin saw his three points cancelled out by Niall Grimley before Courtney gave Dromintee a slim one point lead on the 50th minute. Ryan Gaskin traded points with Grimley before Courtney hit the deciding score of the game with a goal in the 55th minute, Dromintee now in full control of the contest.

They added further scores to confirm their victory with Barry Toner and Courtney again getting involved in the action. Darren McKenna sparked some life into Dromintee with his second half introduction and his catch and assist allowed Courtney to grab the crucial goal that gave Dromintee the victory.

Maghery got back to winning ways on Friday night with a five point victory over Annaghmore away from home. Maghery led 0-6 to 0-3 at the half time break and pulled away in the second period to win 0-13 to 0-8.

Dromintee Scorers: Niall Courtney (1-5), Conor Martin (0-5), Paul Martin (0-1), Aidan Morgan (0-1), Ryan Gaskin (0-1), Barry Toner (0-1).

Madden Scorers: Niall Grimley (0-7), Ciaran Rafferty (0-2), Niall Smith (0-2).

Group 4

Cullyhanna 0-14 Pearse Ogs 3-13

Marc Cullen was on fire during Pearse Ogs second win of the group stages as he tormented the Cullyhanna defence all evening long and finished the contest with 2-5 while also assisting in other scores for his team. Paul Duffy’s major 12 seconds into the second half was also a defining factor as it put Cullyhanna on the back foot immediately after the restart.

Aidan Nugent fired over five of Cullyhanna’s six first half points (four from free kicks) and it was Nugent who stroked over the first of the game after two minutes of play. He doubled his tally with another point one minute later before Pearse Ogs replied through a Calum Murray score.

Nugent once again hit the target from the dead ball before Pearse Ogs centre half forward Anto Duffy brought it back to a one point game. One of Cullyhanna’s most experienced team members Malachy Mackin found himself in a new position (goals) and showed his inexperience in his new surroundings when he charged off his goal line to foul an Ogs player and give away a spot kick.

Marc Cullen duly stepped up and tucked away the penalty kick to give the Ogs a two point advantage. Aidan Nugent pulled one back but three points on the trot from man of the match Marc Cullen landed Pearse Ogs firmly in the driving seat with the first half drawing to an end.

Ross McQuillan pulled one back for the home side while Aidan Nugent continued his accurate free taking to see two point the difference at the break, the score board reading Cullyhanna 0-6 Pearse Ogs 1-5.

Paul Duffy brilliantly passed the ball to the net with a lovely soccer-style finish after Cullen had played the ball through to leave Duffy one on one. Nugent was of course the man to reply for St Pat’s but four unanswered points from Paul Duffy, Chris Rafferty and Marc Cullen (2) really displayed the Ogs dominance.

Cullyhanna came roaring back into the contest and they themselves hit a purple patch, firing over four points of their own with Nugent (2), Kyle Reid and Jason Duffy all raising white flags, bringing the difference back to four once again with plenty of time remaining to steal something from the game.

Cullyhanna’s optimism was soon swatted aside as Paul Duffy’s beautiful long ball sailed over the Cullyhanna defence and landed straight into the arms of Cullen. Cullen made the rest look so easy and he dummy left the keeper for dead and Cullen easily dispatched the ball to the back of the empty net.

Shea Hoey struck for his first but two more Pearse Ogs scores from Eoghan Heaney and Justin Graham put the game beyond doubt with the margin eight points heading into the final five minutes. Ciaran McKeever tagged one on for St Pat’s but his effort was matched by a brilliant Vincy Brady score. Anto Duffy and Conor Nugent traded scores at the end of the game as Pearse Ogs were full value for the victory.

 Cullyhanna Scorers: Aidan Nugent (0-8), Ross McQuillan (0-1), Kyle Reid (0-1), Jason Duffy (0-1), Shea Hoey (0-1), Ciaran McKeever (0-1), Conor Nugent (0-1)

Pearse Ogs Scorers: Marc Cullen (2-5), Paul Duffy (1-1), Anto Duffy (0-2), Calum Murray (0-1), Chris Rafferty (0-1), Eoghan Heaney (0-1), Justin Graham (0-1), Vincy Brady (0-1).