Armagh 0-18 (1) Derry 1-15 (3)
Penalties proved Armagh’s undoing once again as they lost Sunday’s dramatic Ulster final to Derry after a shootout.
Memories of last summer’s Croke Park dual with Galway came flooding back and unfortunately for Armagh, the result was the same.
Armagh came agonisingly close to ending their 15-year wait for an Ulster title, but it wasn’t to be.
Three missed penalties left the game in Derry’s hands and Ciaran McFaul made no mistake from the spot to secure his side a famous two-in-a-row.
From start to finish the game ebbed and flowed, but Derry’s first half goal just kept them ahead of Armagh for the majority of the match.
Brendan Rogers punched to the net to give the Oak Leafers some breathing space. A Rian O’Neill point left Armagh just one down at half time, 1-5 to 0-7.
Armagh always chasing
The sides traded scores throughout the second half, and it was deep into added time before Armagh drew level.
O’Neill fired over the last two scores of the game to ensure extra time, and to keep Armagh’s hopes alive.
Those hopes were sky high in extra time as Derry played the majority of the first half with 14 men following Brendan Rogers’ black card.
Armagh took the lead for the very first time through Ross McQuillan and Jarly Og Burns had the Orchard one up at half time.
Stefan Campbell stretched the lead before Ethan Rafferty grabbed his second, matching an earlier Derry point.
With three minutes left, Armagh were two to the good, but Derry showed all their class to get back on level terms.
Shane McGuigan and Conor Glass in particular stepped up and Derry hit three on the bounce to go ahead.
Once again it was up to O’Neill to level matters, and he did so right in front of the posts. Penalties were the only way.
Unfortunately for O’Neill, Odhran Lynch denied his effort and pulled off great saves against Aidan Nugent and Ethan Rafferty as well.
Only Callum Cumiskey hit the net for Armagh, while Rafferty made a fine save himself, but couldn’t stop McFaul’s effort.
Armagh had plenty of chances throughout the game and will look back on the day with plenty of regrets.
But they certainly left it all on the field and as Armagh fans and supporters, you couldn’t ask for much more.