Armagh battle all the way against Fermanagh to win Allianz League Division 3 Final
GALLANT Armagh overcame the handicap of playing with 14 men from the 27th minute to defeat Fermanagh in the Allianz League Division 3 final at Croke Park.
ARMAGH 0-16 FERMANAGH 0-11
Finnian Moriarty got his marching orders for two yellow card offences just eight minutes from half time but Armagh battled all the way to clinch the silverware
These sides drew at 1-10 each in their regular League series meeting at the Athletic Grounds on March 7, and both teams finished the Division 3 campaign on 11 points from seven games.
Fermanagh topped the table on points difference, so another close game was expected.
Armagh had named Ciaran McKeever and Aaron Findon in midfield but they did not start.
Instead Ciaran O'Hanlon and Kevin Dyas lined out. Ethan Rafferty and Aidan Forker started in the centre field roles. for the Orchard County.
Fermanagh were first into their stride and led 0-3 to nil after six minutes. Two scores from frees by Sean Quigley followed Tomas Corrigan's first score of the game.
Quigley was narrowly wide with another ground kick from a free before Tony Kernan opened Armagh's account from a free on 11 minutes.
But Ruairi Corrigan quickly responded with a score from play and already the game was looking to be a more open affair than was anticipated beforehand between two these Ulster sides.
Jamie Clarke clipped over Armagh's second point after 16 minutes to make it 0-4 to 0-2 in Fermanagh's favour.
An injury to Fermanagh centre back Ryan McCluskey left the big defender clearly in pain and needing treatment. He was limping when he resumed his position, but carried on with the match.
By the 22nd minute Kieran McGeeney's men were level, after a point from a free by Tony Kernan and a powerful drive over the bar by Aidan Forker.
Forker actually had the goal at his mercy but shot high. A welcome score at that moment, but it could have yielded a goal.
The task for Armagh became more difficult when centre back Finnian Moriarty was sent off for a second yellow card offence in the 27th minute.
At that stage Armagh had taken the lead at 0-5 to 0-4, thanks to a 24th minute score by Kernan (free), but Sean Quigley's terrific drive, again off the deck from a free, equalised for Fermanagh in the 29th minute.
The closing stage of the half yielded some dramatic action. Armagh pushed on to 0-8 by the interval, thanks to points by Ethan Rafferty and Tony Kernan, both from frees, and a typical Jamie Clarke snap shot.
But Fermanagh keeper Thomas Treacy made two important saves to deny goal-bound efforts by Dyas and Andrew Murnin in time added on for injuries.
Half time: Armagh 0-8; Fermanagh 0-6
Ciaran McKeever came on at half time ofr Micheal McKenna, and the 14 man Armagh quickly got into a fast tempo.
By the 42nd minute they extended their lead to 0-11, thanks to a score from play by Kernan, and two more from frees by Rafferty.
They kept drawing frees from their opponents in those opening stages, and Kernan from another free brought Armagh to 0-12 after 44 minutes.
Two minutes later Sean Quigley notched up Fermanagh's first score of the half from a close range free, leaving them five points adrift.
Then goalie Treacy made a third vital save as Armagh's Murnin tried to force the ball into the net, and at the other end, Tomas Corrigan fired the ball over the bar for his team's eighth point of the match.
That man Quigley reduced the gap to to just three points with his fifth score from a free in the 53rd minute, but Fermanagh's wide count reached seven in the second half and 12 overall by the 60th minute and that wastage was nullifying the advantage of the extra man.
Ciaran O'Hanlon struck point number 13 in the 58th minute, and Quigley replied with yet another point from a free, four minutes later to put the scores at 0-13 to 0-10 with eight minutes left for play.
Sub Stephen Harold gave Armagh a bit of breathing space with a 68th minute well-taken score after McKeever played him into space for the shot.
A Quigley point from a free for 0-11 to Fermanagh was cancelled out by a Kevin Dyas score and finally Stephen Harold fisted over the coup de grace with the last move of the match.
Armagh: N Geoghegan; A Mallon, C Vernon, M Murray; J Morgan, F Moriarty, M Shields; K Dyas (0-1) C O'Hanlon (0-1) A Findon; T Kernan(0-6, 5f), M McKenna, A Forker (0-1), E Rafferty (0-3, 3f), A Murnin, J Clarke (0-2)
Subs: C McKeever for M McKenna (h.t); E McVerry for A Forker (47); S Harold (0-2) for A Murnin (58); G McParland for E Rafferty (62); C Rafferty for C O'Hanlon (65)
Fermanagh: T Treacy; M Jones, T Daly, M O'Brien; B Mulrone, R McCluskey, N Cassidy; R Jones, R O'Callaghan; P McCusker, R Corrigan (0-1), D McCusker; T Corrigan (0-3), S Quigley (07,6f, 45), C Flaherty.
Subs: D Kille for T Daly (h.t); A Breen for P McCusker (54); C Jones for R Corrigan (56); D McQuade for C Flaherty (60)
Ref D O'Mahoney (Tipperary)