Armagh 0-13 Tyrone 0-11
It’s hard to know where to start with this game; the late winning scores from Oisin McConville, some of the incredible shooting from both sides, the horrible referee decisions that arguably turned the tide in Armagh’s favour.
Tyrone held a three point lead when their top-scorer Stephen O’Neill was sent to the line for a second yellow card offence, having not picked up a first yellow.
No more than one minute after bring introduced, Peter Canavan was sent off for his involvement in a melee, but it was hard to pick out what the 2003 All-Ireland winning captain did to warrant an early shower.
A man up, Armagh drove on to outscore the opposition five points to no score in the final ten minutes and secure their second Ulster crown in as many seasons.
Oisin McConville was the match winner with the last two scores to edge Armagh ahead 0-13 to 0-11 by the time the final whistle sounded.
Joe Kernan’s men made the brighter start with points from Brian Mallon, Aaron Kernan, Ronan Clarke and McConville easing Armagh into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead.
Superb points from Ryan Mellon and Brian McGuigan were matched by Brian Dooher and Stephen O’Neill to see Tyrone take the advantage.
Aaron Kernan continued to raid forward from wing half back and fired over to level the score for the third time.
The Red Hands edged ahead just before the half time whistle sounded.
Roaming corner back Ryan McMenamin slotting over from close range while Stephen O’Neill added to his growing tally to see Tyrone in front 0-5 to 0-7 at the break.
O’Neill continued his deadly accuracy in the second half with possibly the best two scores of the game.
Andy Mallon marched the Tyrone full forward into the corner but O’Neill had enough composure to swing the ball over with his favourite left foot.
Moments later the same incident occurred, only on the other side of the field, with O’Neill this time using his right foot to split the posts and put his side four points to the good.
Oisin McConville halted the Tyrone momentum with a pointed free while Ronan Clarke outmuscled Chris Lawn on the edge of the square to capture possession and cut the deficit to two points.
Tyrone could have been out of sight with the next move. Martin Penrose stole away from his marker and with Paul Hearty off his line; Penrose could have put the game beyond doubt.
The Carrickmore man fired the ball over the crossbar when a goal was on, and Armagh remained in the game. Stephen O’Neill tapped over his fifth to see Tyrone take a four point lead.
With Tyrone well on top, Mickey Harte decided to spring the deadly duo of Canavan and Mulligan from the bench to put the game beyond doubt.
But a scuffle saw both teams receive red cards, with Ciaran McKeever picking up a second yellow card and join Canavan in exiting the play.
Steven McDonnell offered Armagh a glimmer of hope with his first of the day, before the game began to swing in Armagh’s favour.
A late charge of Stephen O’Neill left Andy Mallon emptied on the sideline and referee mistakenly booked O’Neill for what he believed to be the second time.
With the Tyrone sharp-shooter receiving his marching orders, Armagh grabbed their opportunity with both hands and reeled in Hartes side.
Points from McDonnell, Clarke and Paddy McKeever levelled the tie 0-11 each with the hands of time drawing to a close.
The games fourth red card should have been issued when Ryan McMenamin’s knee-dive on John McEntee’s chin seemed to leave the referee with no option.
It offered the most obvious sending off of the day, but in keeping with the strange decision making of the rest of the game, Collins issued a yellow card and the game continued.
McConville curled over the resulting free to give Armagh the lead for the first time since the 23rd minute and the Crossmaglen man was presented with the chance to see the game out.
Right man, right place. There was only one thing on McConville’s mind as he darted past the Tyrone defence to slot over the insurance score.
Armagh claimed their second Ulster title in a row, seeing off their old rivals after a replay and continued their search for a second All Ireland crown, but as we know now, it wasn’t to be.
Armagh Scorers: Oisin McConville 0-4, Ronan Clarke 0-3, Steven McDonnell 0-2, Aaron Kernan 0-2, Brian Mallon 0-1, Paddy McKeever 0-1.
Tyrone scorers: Stephen O’Neill 0-5, Ryan McMenamin 0-1, Brian Dooher 0-1, Brian McGuigan 0-1, Ryan Mellon 0-1, Martin Penrose 0-1, Davy Harte 0-1