Kernan recalls 05 rivalry with Tyrone

Aaron Kernan recalled the Armagh and Tyrone rivalry from 2005, when the counties met three times in the championship.

The sides drew in the Ulster final before Armagh won the replay. Tyrone would have the last laugh however, winning the All-Ireland semi-final.

Speaking on the new GAAGO series, ‘RATIFIED – ALL BETS WERE OFF’ Kernan looked back at the 2005 All-Ireland semi-final.

“It was my first year and it was Tyrone in the All-Ireland semi-final,” said the 2004 u21 All-Ireland winner.

“Fermanagh had beaten us the year before in ’04. So, we had a score to settle in the first round and then we beat Donegal after a replay.

“We beat a real good Derry team, so we were building the whole year and then we ended up with Tyrone in the Ulster final.

“We stole it probably; it was a draw the first day. There was a bit of controversy over a few sending offs in the replay.

“Stephen O’Neill and (Peter) Canavan got sent off and Ciaran McKeever for us. The it all came down to the big game.

“We were the All-Ireland champions in ’02, they done it in’03, we both went AWOL in ’04 and it all came down to that day.”


Kernan would go on to win Young Player of the Year for his performances at wing half back in 2005.

But he held a very different position in that All-Ireland semi-final. His father and manager Joe Kernan had a job for him to do.

“I was by no means a man-marker and never really got man-marking jobs,” added Kernan. “But Dad called me into the office and said I was going on Brian McGuigan.

“He said I could do a job on them; he was a very, very important player for them. I walked out and my heart was racing.

“Quite quickly then, I was able to park that Dad was my Dad and he was the manager, and I took confidence from that.

Aaron Kernan recalled the Armagh and Tyrone rivalry from 2005, when the counties met three times in the championship.
Photo Credit: John Merry

“He knows enough about football and if he thinks I can do a job, he’s going to tell me what my role is or what I have to do, that’s fine.

“It’s something that I really enjoyed and even now, to have competed against a player of that calibre, in a game that big, he was just class.”

One point

Armagh led by the minimum of margins in the final few minutes of the game, but ultimately lost by one-point.

Tyrone legend Peter Canavan fired over a late free to secure the win for Mickey Harte’s side, who went on to win their second All-Ireland title.

“I remember at one stage towards the end, looking at the scoreboard and we were a point up with five or six minutes left.

“Your whole life, you’re dreaming about getting to an All-Ireland final and maybe that’s where some of us took the eye off the ball.

“That instantly hit with me, but the job wasn’t done. There was so much that happened and to be fair, they were an unbelievable team.”