Pearse Ogs 0-17 (0-5) Madden 2-11 (0-3)
It was all action in the Athletic Grounds on Saturday evening as we witnessed the first EVER game in the Armagh Championship to be decided by a penalty shootout.
Paul Duffy was the hero on the night as he slotted home the game-winning penalty, securing a semi-final spot for the Ogs.
Misfortune fell at the feet of Joe Sheridan as it was his penalty miss that allowed the Ogs to steal ahead and gain the advantage.
But only for young Sheridan, there would have been no extra time. It was the pacey wing half forward who raised both of Madden’s green flags it a pulsating contest.
The sides were level seven times throughout the 80 plus minutes of action which, as predicted, went right down to the wire.
Madden will walk away from the clash knowing they let a golden opportunity slip through their fingertips and perhaps should now be preparing for a semi-final.
They were marginally the better team throughout, and lead by four points with around fifteen minutes of normal time remaining, but the introduction of Conor Clarke swayed the game in Pearse Ogs favour.
The Ogs came bursting out of the traps after the final water break, outscoring their opponents 0-5 to 0-2.
Conor Clarke made a huge impact after being sprung from the bench, swinging over four points from placed balls, including the point that brought the game to extra time.
The sides were evenly matched midway through normal time, with Joe Sheridan’s late score seeing his side hold a 0-6 to 0-5 lead at the break.
Two early second half points from Aron McKenna and Conor Grimley handed Madden the ascendancy before points from Anto Duffy and Clarke closed the gap to one.
A huge catch in centre field from Niall Grimley sent Madden on their way and Conor Grimley soon found himself in possession.
He shipped the ball to Joe Sheridan who had one thing on his mind. He showed serious pace as he drove forward and smashed the ball into the back of the net.
Niall Smith traded scores with Marc Cullen as Shane McConville’s men began to claw their way back into contention.
Three points on the trot through Clarke (free), Ruairi Duffy and Anto Duffy narrowed the margin to just one point.
Conor Grimley had a chance to win it when his goal attempt was turned away by Ryan Kearney and the ball fell to a Madden player who’s rebound effort was also cleared from danger.
The chance to tie the game fell on the trusty left-boot of Conor Clarke and there was no room for error as he found his target.
Meaning only one thing. Extra time.
Niall Grimley got Madden off to a great start with a huge score from near the side-line. His point was equally matched by an enormous Eoin Lennon effort, the substitute smashing over a score with his first touch.
James Freeman curled over a point to give the Ogs the lead at the interval, while Anto Duffy stretched the margin to two, 12 seconds into the second half, 0-16 to 1-11.
Madden went in search of a goal that would surely see them through and the chance fell to the hard-working Niall Smith.
The number 15 raced along the end line before crashing the ball off the crossbar. The Ogs could blow a huge sigh of relief, with their lead still intact.
But for how long? Conor Grimley powered into attack and fed Smith who once again bore down on the goals.
He spilled possession but with his quick thinking, palmed the ball across to the waiting Joe Sheridan, who volleyed the ball past the keeper and Madden were back in front.
The Raparees fought furiously to hold on, but the Ogs were guaranteed one last chance.
Once more it was Conor Clarke who was handed responsibility and once again Clarke eased the ball over the black spot.
Madden went on search of a winner, but time had gone against them and the final whistle was met with the excitement of what loomed. Penalties.
Anto Duffy and Kyle Morgan confidently drove home the first shots to leave the score 1-1 after two penalties.
Vincy Brady and Aron McKenna both netted from the spot before Conor Clarke shot the Ogs ahead.
Sheridan’s miss meant Ruairi Duffy’s cool finish handed the Ogs the ascendancy before Conor Grimley smashed home his effort.
This left Paul Duffy with the chance to be the hero and the ex-Armagh star wheeled away in celebration as he secured a first semi-final spot for his side since 2012.