Armagh edge Down after instant classic

Ulster Senior Football Championship Quarter-Final 2019

Down 3-13 Armagh 2-17

From Odhrán Crumley in Pairc Esler

Armagh have edged Down in an absolute thriller to claim their first win at the venue in 63 years.

The Mourne County lost Caolan Mooney to a very harsh red card but, led by the minimum at the break on a scoreline of 1-5 to 0-7 thanks to a major from Pat Havern.

Armagh would rally in the second half as the home team lost all shape in the immediate aftermath of goalkeeper, Rory Burns’ black card.

In the space of three restarts the Orchard men hit 1-2 as Mark Shiels jinked past Mark Hynes to fire into the empty net.

Kiernan McGeaney’s men built up a five point lead and appeared to be cruising before, Donal O’Hare rattled home a fine major to give Down hope as substitute, James Guinness fired over an equaliser.

The game would be sent to extra-time and a sharp 1-1 from Andrew Murnin appeared to send the game Armagh’s way once again.

Rian O’Neill who hit eight points over the course of an impressive debut fired over for the final time and the scale of his fist-pump made it look like the winner as four separated the teams.

However, the drama wouldn’t end their as Paul Devlin’s high-ball into the area tailed all the way into the net to put one between them.

In the end, that O’Neill score would prove decisive as Armagh march on to face Cavan in the last four.

Scorers for Armagh: Rian O’Neill 0-8 (4fs), Andrew Murnin 1-1, Mark Shields 1-0, Jamie Clarke, Ryan Kennedy, Stefan Campbell 0-2 each, Aidan Nugent, James Morgan 0-1 each

Scorers for Down: Donal O’Hare 1-2 (2fs), Paul Devlin 1-2 (2fs), Pat Havern 1-1, James Guinness 0-2, Jerome Johnston 0-2 (1f), Conor Poland, Conor Francis, Connaire Harrison, Barry O’Hagan 0-1 each

Armagh: Blaine Hughes; Patrick Burns, Aaron McKay, Paul Hughes; Ryan Kennedy, Brendan Donaghy, Aidan Forker; Charlie Vernon, Jarlath Og Burns; Aidan Nugent, Ethan Rafferty, Jemar Hall; Rory Grugan, Rian O’Neill, Jamie Clarke.

Subs: James Morgan for Burns (7), Mark Shields for Vernon (31), Joe McElroy for Hughes (45), Stefan Campbell for Rafferty (46), Stephen Sheridan for Kennedy (64), Greg McCabe (70) Ben Crealey for Sheridan (77), R Kennedy for Nugent (77), Andrew Murnin for McCabe (80), E Rafferty for Grugan (87).

Down: Rory Burns; Darren O’Hagan, Ruairi Wells, Gerard Collins; Ryan McAleenan, Kevin McKernan, Daniel Guinness; Caolan Mooney, Conor Poland; Conor Francis, Jerome Johnston, Conor Maginn; Pat Havern, Donal O’Hare, Connaire Harrison.

Subs: James Guinness for Wells (26), Barry O’Hagan for Maginn (48), Mark Hynes for Burns (52), Paul Devlin for Johnston (61), Corey Quinn for Havern (61), Ryan Mallon on for start of extra time as Down go back to 15 players, J Johnston for O’Hare (80), C Poland for Guinness (83).

Referee: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow).

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