Tyrone 1-15 Armagh 2-15
It’s been a long wait for Armagh fans, almost eight years, but they finally got one over the All-Ireland champions.
They needed a goal from second half substitute Rory Grugan to confirm the victory, but Kieran McGeeney’s men were full value for their win.
Their disciplined defence, particularly in the first half, were top class. They built a solid structure at the back, which the 2021 All-Ireland winners struggled to breakdown.
Not only did they defend heroically, but the way they transitioned their turnovers into scoring opportunities also caught the eye.
The long ball game worked a treat against an inexperienced last line of defence. Armagh showed no sympathy to the newbies at by the half time whistle, the full forward line at atoned for 1-6.
Jason Duffy rattled off 1-2 and made an assist having only touched the ball five times. A tight hamstring saw him replaced at the first water break.
Rian O’Neill excelled and picked up the Man of the Match award while Aidan Nugent was in super form as well.
Mattie Donnelly breathed some life into the Red Hands, before Conn Fitzpatrick dragged them back into contention.
The Edendork man found a rare gap in the Armagh rear-guard and bundled the ball to the net, cutting Armagh’s half time advantage to four. 1-9 to 1-5.
Paul Donaghy posed a different threat for the All-Ireland champions after the restart. The substitute rattled off four points (two marks) in 14 minutes.
Armagh’s replacements made their own mark on proceedings. Stefan Campbell fired over a terrific score after charging almost 40 yards with possession.
Grugan made the big difference after collecting a superb pass from Man of the Match O’Neill. The Ballymacnab man showed his killer instict, easing the ball into the bottom corner.
Jemar Hall could have also raised a green flag, but his effort just tailed the wrong side of the post.
While there are bigger games ahead, and they’re coming thick and fast, Armagh’s performance and win will offer an air of confidence to the team going forward.
The experience of Campbell and Grugan saw them over the line but there were great displays from the lesser known names such as Ciaran Mackin, Ciaran Higgins and Conor O’Neill.
It’s semi-final time on Tuesday evening as Armagh welcome Monaghan to the Athletic Grounds. A repeat of last season’s Ulster semi-final classic.