Armagh 1-13 Kerry 3-15
A blistering second half display, where Kerry outscored their opponents 2-10 to 0-6, saw the Ulster Champions crash out of the All-Ireland series
The Orchard County were by far the better team in the opening 35 minutes, but Kerry turned the game on its head, with a superb second half showing.
The joint effort of Bellew and McGeeney had sniffed out the threat of a young Kieran Donaghy, but the big full forward only needed once chance.
Paul McGrane edged his duel with Darragh O’Se in the first half, but O’Se led the Kerry charge in the second with a phenomenal performance.
Up front, Clarke and McDonnell were simply unplayable before the break, but weren’t provided the same supply after the restart.
And of course, Kerry are Kerry.
Tomas and Marc O’Se charged forward at each and every chance, both getting on the score sheet and taking the game to their opponents.
Kieran Donaghy finally got the break he had desperately craved, and made no mistake when provided with the opportunity in front of goal.
Armagh took an early two point lead with Clarke and McDonnell establishing themselves from the off, with a point apiece.
Kerry were soon ahead when Darragh O’Se made a magnificent catch and buried his way past McGrane.
Quick hands saw the ball transferred to Eoin Brosnan who fumbled possession and lost control.
Brosnan had the composure to strike the ball on the deck, and plant it straight to the back of the net, putting the Kingdom ahead by one.
The sides traded scores before Oisin McConville, who had been crowned Ulster’s highest ever scorer the game previous, stepped up to level the tie.
Colm Cooper and Aaron Kernan traded frees before McDonnell saw his shot on goal fly over the crossbar, but it wasn’t long before the Killeavy man had the ball in the net.
A superb turnover in defence saw Armagh on the attack once more, with the Kerry players failing to rise to the challenge of Joe Kernan’s side.
Ciaran McKeever, who had been involved twice in the move, played a long, diagonal ball to the square.
Clarke was on hand to palm the ball down to the elusive McDonnell, who rounded the helpless Kerry keeper and rattled an empty net.
McDonnell added to his growing tally to see Armagh ahead by four with the clock ticking closer to the interval.
Cooper slotted over another free before Paul Hearty was called into action.
Although bringing little success, Kerry persisted with the long ball tactic, knowing it would eventually pay off.
A hanging drive from midfield found the giant hand of Donaghy, who flicked through Cooper, leaving ‘The Gooch’ one-on-one with Hearty.
Hearty pulled off a fantastic save and possession spilled out to Mike Frank Russell.
The corner forward made another attempt on Hearty’s goal, but had to settle for a point when the Crossmaglen man tipped the shot over the crossbar.
That saw an end to the opening period, Armagh ahead 1-7 to 1-5.
In truth the men in orange and white could have been further ahead, but would have been pleased with their first half performance.
That margin was halved within 13 seconds of the restart. Darragh O’Se captured the throw in and darted towards the Armagh rear-guard.
The ball made its way to Sean O’Sullivan, who split the posts to claim his second point of the contest.
Kerry had levelled by the time O’Sullivan was again involved, this time sending the ball towards the edge of the square.
Donaghy towered above the powerless Bellew to claim possession, and blasted the ball past Hearty to hand Kerry the lead for the first time since 21st minute.
The O’Se’s began to control the contest. Marc earning himself a score with a brilliant hook shot while Darragh captured the resulting kick out.
The bustling midfielder handed possession to the on running Tomas, who swung over his first and left four the margin.
Armagh hung in there, and even with the game going against them, some bright moments offered a sense of hope.
Ronan Clarke kicked a few outrages scores to keep his side in touch, and when Paul Galvin was sent to the line for an altercation with John Toal, the Armagh water carrier on this occasion; it seemed the tide could be turning.
With 10 minutes left to play, and Armagh a man up, three points separated the sides, but the game took one final swing in the green and gold favour.
Enda McNulty attempted play the ball over a Kerry players head, but substitute Darren O’Sullivan latched onto the ball and drove for the goalmouth.
The speedster raced through the defence and rattled the roof of the Armagh goal to signal the end of the contest.
Both sides added on scores but the game was gone and the Kingdom were fully deserving of their victory, following their classy second half.
The game is available to watch on YouTube!
Armagh: Paul Hearty, Andy Mallon, Francie Bellew, Enda McNulty, Aaron Kernan (0-1 1f), Ciaran McKeever, Paul Duffy, Kieran McGeeney, Paul McGrane, Martin O’Rourke, John McEntee (0-1), Malachy Mackin, Steven McDonnell (1-5), Ronan Clarke (0-3), Oisin McConville (0-3 3f). Subs: Phillip Loughran for M. Mackin, Brian Mallon for J. McEntee, Paddy McKeever for M. O’Rourke.
Kerry: Diarmaid Murphy, Marc O’Se (0-2), Mike McCarthy, Tom O’Sullivan, Tomas O’Se (0-1), Seamus Moynihan, Aidan O’Mahony, Darragh O’Se, Tommy Griffin, Sean O’Sullivan (0-2), Eoin Brosnan (1-0), Paul Galvin (0-1), Colm Cooper (0-3 1f), Kieran Donaghy (1-0), Mike Frank Russell (0-2 1f). Subs: Darren O’Sullivan (1-0) for S. O’Sullivan, Declan O’Sullivan (0-1) for T. Griffin, Bryan Sheehan (0-2 2f) for MF Russell, Eamon Fitzmaurice (0-1) for E. Brosnan.