Armagh defeat Down to reach decider

Armagh 4-10 Down 0-12

Armagh stormed to their first Ulster decider in 15 years, putting four goals past arch-rivals Down to win by ten points.

Four goals, from four different scorers, proved the difference and the Orchard County were full value for their win.

Two first half majors from Andrew Murnin and Shane McPartlan fired Armagh into a commanding position.

McPartlan’s short effort was punched home by Murnin before McPartlan rattled the net himself, brilliantly finishing a fantastic, individual goal.

Down opened the scoring through Pat Havern, who hit three first half points, all from frees.

Aidan Forker, Murnin and Rory Grugan all raised white flags before Havern knocked over his second.

Then came Armagh’s two three-pointers, split by another from Havern, as Kieran McGeeney’s side opened up a six-point lead.

Down took over in terms of scoring for the rest of the half, with Ryan Johnston and Patrick Branagan narrowing the gap.

Conor O’Neill fired over one of the points of the game with his left foot, but that was cancelled out by Liam Kerr.

Kerr’s strike was the final score of the half and while Armagh were the better side, it kept Down in the game. 2-4 to 0-6 at the break.

Jemar Hall and Murnin both pointed early in the second period as Armagh retained their six-point advantage.

Photo Credit: John Merry

Armagh added a third goal, with Ciaran Mackin getting the final touch on Rian O’Neill’s long ball to the square.

O’Neill once again played provider, setting up Duffy for his second point of the game.

But the Crossmaglen man soon got on the score sheet himself, rounding his marker to place the ball low to the net.

Down hit three more points, but they were soon matched by substitutes Aidan Nugent, Callum Cumiskey and Stefan Campbell.

It’s Derry up next for Armagh, and an Ulster to look forward to in two weeks time.

Armagh: Ethan Rafferty, Conor O’Neill 0-1, Aaron McKay, Aidan Forker 0-1, Ciaran Mackin 1-0, Greg McCabe, Jarly Og Burns, Ben Crealey, Shane McPartlan 1-0, Jason Duffy 0-2, Jemar Hall 0-1, Rian O’Neill 1-0, Rory Grugan 0-1, Andrew Murnin, Conor Turbitt. Subs: Connaire Mackin for B. Crealey, Ross McQuillan for J. Hall, Stefan Campbell for S. McPartlan, Aidan Nugent for C. Turbitt, Oisin Conaty for A. Murnin.

Down: Niall Kane, Pierce Laverty, Shane Annett, Miceal Rooney, Danny Magill, Niall McParland, Daniel Guinness, Conor Poland, Ryan McEvoy, Ceilum Doherty, Ryan Johnston, Liam Kerr, Patrick Branagan, Pat Haven’t, Eugene Branagan. Subs: Andrew Gilmore for E. Branagan, Shealan Johnston got S. Annett, Ross Carr for P. Branagan, Eamon Brown for C. Poland.