Donegal 1-16 Armagh 0-12
Armagh crashed out of the 2022 Ulster Championship on Sunday, losing to Donegal in Ballybofey by seven points.
There was a real championship buzz prior to the game, with the sun blazing down on the Ballybofey turf.
Paddy McBrearty’s second half goal was the crucial score. Armagh failed to get back in touch after that and couldn’t close the gap.
Armagh could, and should, have at a goal of their own straight from the throw in at the start of the second half.
A long ball to the square, launched by Aidan Nugent, was beautifully claimed by Rian O’Neill.
After a goal line scramble, O’Neill punched the ball to the net, but the referee, strangely, pointed for a free out.
Moments later it was Nugent’s turn, but his effort crashed off the legs of Donegal keeper Shaun Patton.
Apart from that third quarter burst from the Orchard, Donegal controlled the majority of the game.
Some wayward shooting from the hosts kept Armagh in it as the gap was just three at the half time break.
Donegal dominated the middle third of the field and Armagh really struggled with their own kickouts.
They brought more intensity to the game after the turnaround. Despite Armagh’s terrific start to the second period, it was Donegal who opened the scoring through Shane O’Donnell.
Then came the goal that diminished all hope. McBrearty played a one-two with Caolan Ward and palmed home the three-pointer.
Stefan Campbell got his customary score after being introduced. But every time Armagh closed the gap, Donegal responded with a score.
They managed to narrow the margin to five on three occasions, but that’s as close as they got. Greg McCabe earned the final score of the game, but Armagh were out of the championship by that stage
It’s through the backdoor now for Kieran McGeeney’s men. The draw will take place once the provincial finalists are confirmed.