Mayo 2-13 Armagh 1-15
Mayo just about got over the line in a stern test by Armagh at McHale Park on Saturday evening. James Horan’s men could have lost it in the end, but they held on for a 1 point win which will them in the draw for Round 4 of the qualifiers on Monday.
It was Conor Loftus that got the opening score of the game on 4 minutes. But it was Armagh who made the better start, Rory Grugan equalised and then Kieran McGeeney’s men got their only goal of the game. The impressive Rian O’Neill the man coming up with the three-pointer after a long delivery was palmed to the net after 6 minutes. Mayo had a goal of their own a few minutes later after Fionn McDonagh netted, he gave Armagh keeper Blaine Hughes no chance. Rian O’Neill had the Orchard County ahead though on 8 minutes 1-2 to 1-1. Rory Grugan and Conor Loftus traded scores before McDonagh levelled up the scores after 15 minutes. Jamie Clarke knocked over a free but it was cancelled out by Darren Coen. Jason Doherty and Stefan Campbell traded scores, however, Mayo were dealt a massive blow with Lee Keegan forced off with what appeared an ankle injury. Paddy Durcan had the final score of the half which meant Mayo went in 1-06 to 1-05 ahead.
Jamie Clarke kicked two points in a matter of minutes to give the Orchard County the lead. Clarke converted a free off the ground from around 40 metres, before going on to score from play soon after. Armagh leading by 1-07 to 1-05 now. Kevin McLoughlin pointed from close range to tie up the scores. Jamie Clarke kicked another score on the 45th minute, but Donie Vaughan who was a late addition to the starting team kicked a sublime point in response to a Niall Grimley score from the 45. Mayo had the ball in the Armagh net on 51 minutes when Kevin McLoughlin ran through the Orchard defence to loop the ball past Hughes. Coen made it 2-11 to 1-09 in favour of James Horan’s charges, while David Clarke at the other end had to pull off a superb save from a goal-bound effort from Jamie Clarke. Armagh kicked four scores in a row though with Clarke, Grugan and Stefan Campbell (2) all pointing. It was 2-11 to 1-13 approaching the final 8 minutes.
James Horan sprung Cillian O’Connor from the bench (his first game in 12 months for Mayo). The Ballintubber man pointed a 66 minute free which was moved closer to the goal. The former two-time young footballer of the year would register another free on 70 minutes. Into injury time Rian O’Neill pulled back a point from a free. Stefan Campbell pointed almost instantly from the subsequent kick out. Niall Grimley had a chance to send the game to extra time but his effort went wide.
Mayo – D Clarke; C Barrett, B Harrison, K Higgins; L Keegan, C Boyle, P Durcan (0-1); M Murray, A O’Shea; C Treacy, J Doherty (0-1), F McDonagh (1-1); D Coen (0-4), A Moran, C Loftus (0-2f). Subs: K McLoughlin (1-1) for A Moran, S Coen for L Keegan, D Vaughan (0-1) for M Murray, C O’Connor (0-2f) for C Loftus, F Boland for J Doherty, E Regan for C Treacy.
Armagh – B Hughes; M Shields, P Burns, A McKay; P Hughes, A Forker, B Donaghy; J Og Burns, N Grimley (0-1); J Hall, A Nugent, S Campbell (0-4); J Clarke (0-5, 2f), R O’Neill (1-2, 0-2f), R Grugan (0-3). Subs: E Rafferty for A Nugent, G McCabe for A McKay, B Crealey for J Og Burns.