Armagh Senior Championship Match Reports

Silverbridge 1-16 Sarsfields 3-9

What a crazy game this turned out to be. Sarsfields were ahead 0-4 to 0-2 after the first quarter but failed to hit the target again until the 40th minute while their opponents stormed ahead, scoring 1-11 without reply and yet the game still went down to the wire with three second half goals bringing Sarsfields within a whisker of staying in the competition.

Over the course of the game it would have been extremely harsh on Silverbridge if they were beaten as they controlled the game for long periods and were the better team on the day. Jarly Og Burns began proceedings when he gathered possession from the throw in before playing a one-two with Joe Rock and slicing the ball over the bar to open the scoring after 16 seconds.

Sarsfields didn’t have to wait too long to be back on level terms as Eamon McGeown equalised with the next attack before Joe Rock again provided the assist for a Silverbridge point with Ronan Reel kicking the score this time. Again the sides were tied when Caolan Skelton cut through the defence to find Paul McGeown, who saw his shot for goal blocked and deflected over the bar.

Points from Skelton and Colin Stevenson saw Sarsfields take a double score lead but it was all Silverbridge for the remainder of the half, with the South Armagh men dominating the opposition kick outs. Paddy Reel (2), Joe Rock (3), Seamus Kelly and Peter Reel all hit the target to give Silverbridge a strong 0-9 to 0-4 advantage at the break.

Silverbridge carried their momentum into the opening quarter of the second period with Aaron Duffy and Joe Rock torturing the Sarsfields defence. Duffy hit two early on while he also played the final pass across the face of goal to leave the on running Gavin Burns with a simple tap in finish. Brendan Byrne topped off their period of dominance with another score to give them a 12 point lead with 20 minutes left on the clock.

Sarsfields were straight back into contention with Eamon McGeown causing havoc at the edge of the square, setting up two goals in as many minutes with the three pointers coming from Paul McGeown and Paul McCaughey to half the deficit. Aaron Duffy raised another two white flags to settle his side but Sarsfields were far from finished.

Niall Kerr struck a point before Eamon McGeown’s punched effort towards goal just skimmed the bar for a point. Oisin Smyth curled over a 45 before Smith was hauled down in the square and Caolan Skelton made no mistake in easing the ball home from 11 yards to bring the difference back to one point.

The tension continued with Michael Stevenson seemingly stealing the game from Silverbridge with a point in the 26th minute to level the sides but Silverbridge deservingly made it through by the skin of the teeth when midfielder Peter Carragher fired over a point in added time to seal a one point victory and led his side into the last eight.

Ballymacnab 1-10 Armagh Harps 0-12

Similar to the first game played in Pearse Og Park this tie wouldn’t be decided until the final moments. The weather conditions didn’t allow for much free flowing football to be played but both sides served up a nail biting finale with Ballymacnab just edging the contest by the minimum of margins.

The Nab held the upper hand in the opening few minutes, outscoring Armagh Harps 4-1. Gavin McParland got the first score of the afternoon with a sweetly struck 45 but Joe McElroy’s effort two minutes later levelled the game while Jack Grugan handed his side a slender lead after hard work from Cormac Gribben.

A brilliant turnover along the sideline from Ryan Watters began another attack for the men in maroon, ending with McParland hitting his second while Oisin McGivern got on the score sheet as well. The Harps dragged themselves back into contention with the next two scores from Ryan McShane and a Gareth Swift free to leave one the margin.

A beautiful defence splitting pass from Rory Grugan found his brother on the edge of the square and Jack planted the ball into the corner of the net to give the Nab a four point lead. McShane and Swift (free) raised one white flag each before a Jack Grugan point from a placed ball saw the goal the difference at the break, 1-5 to 0-5.

The Harps were determined to fight for their survival and four points in quick succession gave them control of the contest early on in the second half. Lorcan Oliver was sprung from the bench in the opening period and proved his worth with the first score of the second half with points coming from Rory McGrath, Tom O’Kane and Gareth Swift (free) soon after.

Jack Grugan knocked over a free to get his team back on level terms and the Nab hit a purple patch of their own with points from Paul Meegan (2) and Brian McCone settling them into a three point lead. The Harps refused to give in however and Tom O’Kane’s free followed by two Conor White points saw the game tied heading towards injury time.

With the clock ticking towards the final few moments it looked like extra time would be called upon to decide the result but a super long range Gavin McParland point insured the game could finish just past the hour mark as the whistle was blown before the Harps could have one last say. Ballymacnab find themselves in the quarter finals where they can meet Granemore, Maghery or Pearse Ogs.

Madden 1-12 Killeavy 0-7

Madden may have been disappointed they needed a playoff tie to confirm their spot in the last eight after their round one win over Maghery but they are fully deserving of their place in the quarter finals after they conquered Killeavy on Sunday evening. The Raparees took an early five point lead and kept in front until the final whistle was blown with eight points to spare.

Niall Grimley got the game up and running with a pointed free while Liam Grimley doubled his sides’ advantage with the second score of the contest before Aron McKenna hit the first and only goal to fire Madden five points up. The game was 18 minutes old when Paul Quinn got Killeavy off the mark but his score was soon cancelled out through a McKenna point.

Ciaran Rafferty traded scores with Caolan McConville while Niall Grimley’s free was also matched by Killeavy to see out the end of the half. The five point lead Madden built up early on was maintained until the break as the score board read Madden 1-5 Killeavy 0-3 at the short whistle.

Ciaran Rafferty widened the gap to six with the first score of the second half while Caolan McConville pulled one back for Killeavy. Liam Grimley (2), Aron McKenna and Joe Sheridan all pointed to allow their side to go nine points ahead with five minutes remaining of normal time.

Killeavy pulled two points back late on but further scores from Sheridan and Niall Smith kept Madden ahead by nine points before Caolan McConville hit the final score of the game with a 65th minute point to see Madden lead by eight points at the end of the tie and advance into the next stage of the competition.