Memories Monday – Armagh vs Tyrone 2014

Armagh 0-13 Tyrone 0-10

Following over a decade of provincial dominance, the Armagh/Tyrone rivalry had dwindled down to a Round 2 qualifier meeting by 2014, far away from the big days in Croke Park years before.

Donegal had stepped out of their shadows and were now the kingpins of Ulster football, having collected three Anglo Celt trophies in four years.

This game clung on to the days gone by with heroes of the historic rivalry sharing the battlefield one last time, with the likes of  Cavanagh, Gormley and O’Neill coming up against Kernan, McKeever and Mallon for the final showdown.

This didn’t take away from hatred surrounding the contest and the game was barely one minute old when the teams commenced into a melee, with only Aidan Forker and Mattie Donnelly seeing their names taken and both were shown yellow cards.

Donnelly received his marching orders just after the half hour mark with another bookable offence against his man marker for the day Aidan Forker.

Tyrone played with a looseness that was unrecognisable to the three time All-Ireland winners and their lethargic approach gifted a great opportunity to Paul Grimley’s men.  

Several times a player in an orange jersey latched on to a slack Tyrone pass and Armagh moved the ball with more control than their opponents, although they did make some poor mistakes themselves.

Tony Kernan had a huge part to play in Armagh’s victory, as he displayed real leadership in linking defence with attack and working up and down the field.

Interestingly, Jamie Clarke’s first three possessions came from three kick passes from Tony Kernan and Clarke was a throne in Tyrone’s side all afternoon, the pairs connection forcing Mickey Harte to switch up his pre-planned match ups.

Although there were plenty of mistakes during the 70 plus minutes of action, the sides served up an entertaining contest for all those in attendance, with almost 11,000 crammed into Healy Park.

Niall Morgan kept his side in contention with three crucial saves, two coming in the second period denying Armagh the chance to finish off the hosts and the Tyrone net-minder gave his side a glimmer of hope in the final quarter.

A surge of scores from Stephen Harold (Armagh’s only score from play in the first half), Tony Kernan (2) and Jamie Clarke (2) saw the Orchard County open up a four point lead heading towards the interval.

Sean Cavanagh knocked over a brace of frees just before the break, Tyrone’s only score from play coming from Kyle Coney in the 4th minute.

This saw Armagh’s lead reduced to two points, 0-7 to 0-5, by the time Cormac Reilly sounded the short whistle and Armagh’s advantage was well deserved.

Tyrone burst out of the traps in the second period and the introduction of Stephen O’Neill provided a focal point of their attack, earning two frees with his first two possessions. Cavanagh pointed from the placed balls on both occasions to add to Niall McKenna’s opening effort.

Suddenly the Red Hands were back on top, but the away side answered emphatically with the next three points.

Two huge scores followed in as many minutes, when Andy Mallon rushed off Tony Kernan’s shoulder to slot over his first score of the campaign and get the teams back on level terms.

60 seconds later Stefan Campbell latched on to a Jamie Clarke pass to swing over a score with his left foot after all the hard work had been done by Clarke, who beat four defenders before setting up the score that put his side ahead.

Aaron Kernan grabbed his only score with a free before Niall Morgan was called upon to brilliantly save a goal-bound Mark Shields shot, keeping Tyrone in the contest.

Darren McCurry followed up with two frees to level the score once again and although Armagh were on top they were struggling to shake off their rivals.

The Orchard County did push on and dominated the Tyrone kick outs in the final 20 minutes, adding points through Jamie Clarke, Mark Shields and Rory Grugan to claim their first win over their neighbours since 2005, winning 0-13 to 0-10.

Armagh: 1. Phillip McEvoy, 2. James Morgan, 3. Charlie Vernon, 4. Andy Mallon (0-1), 5. Mark Shields (0-1), 20. Mickey Murray, 7. Ciaran McKeever, 8. Aaron Findon, 9. Stephen Harold (0-1), 24. Aidan Forker, 11. Kevin Dyas, 12. Stefan Campbell (0-1), 18. Tony Kernan (0-4 4f), 23. Stefan Forker, 15. Jamie Clarke (0-3 2f). Subs: 10. Eugene McVerry for Dyas, 25. Aaron Kernan (0-1 1f) for Morgan, 13. Kyle Carragher for S. Forker, 17. Rory Grugan (0-1) for A. Forker, 6. Brendan Donaghy for T. Kernan.

Tyrone: 1. Niall Morgan (0-1 1f), 2. Aidan McCrory, 3. Ronan McNamee, 4. PJ Quinn, 5. Ronan McNabb, 6. Mattie Donnelly, 7. Justin McMahon, 8. Colm Cavanagh, 9. Sean Cavanagh (0-5 5f), 10. Emmet McKenna, 11. Kyle Coney (0-1), 12. Ciaran McGinley, 13. Darren McCurry (0-2 2f), Niall McKenna (0-1), Conor McAliskey. Subs: 20. Conor Gormley for McGinley, 18. Barry Tierney for McMahon, 21. Stephen O’Neill for McAliskey, 19. Martin Penrose for Quinn, 25. Patrick McNeice for McKenna, 17. Mark Donnelly for Coney.