Monday 24 April 2017

Armagh hit shell-shocked Offaly for six

Armagh 6-22 Offaly 0-10

Armagh's Stefan Campbell. Photo: Philip Fitzpatrick/Sportsfile
Armagh's Stefan Campbell. Photo: Philip Fitzpatrick/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Armagh ran riot in the Athletic Grounds, thrashing Offaly by a shocking 30 points to inject real purpose into their push for promotion.

The rampant Orchard forwards showed no mercy to an Offaly side hopelessly out of its depth, with the Faithful county slipping to one of their most embarrassing defeats.

The stats all made excellent reading for Kieran McGeeney, as 12 different players got on the scoresheet - with all but four of their huge tally coming from play.

Five of his starting forwards - Jamie Clarke being the surprising exception - scored a goal.

Niall Rowland's early strike got Armagh off to a great start, the home side leading 1-7 to no score after just nine minutes.

Offaly offered themselves on a plate, with Stefan Campbell and Niall Grimley adding goals as the home side romped to a 3-11 to 0-6 interval lead.

Armagh's Anthony Duffy in action against Offaly's Joseph O'Connor. Photo: Philip Fitzpatrick/Sportsfile
Armagh's Anthony Duffy in action against Offaly's Joseph O'Connor. Photo: Philip Fitzpatrick/Sportsfile

Having coughed up big leads in this campaign, Armagh didn't sit back this time, and scored exactly the same tally, 3-11, in both halves.

Campbell top-scored with 1-4, while Andrew Murnin helped himself to goal number four seven minutes after the restart.

He then turned provider for Rory Grugan to palm home a fifth and Anto Duffy netted the sixth eight minutes from the end.

Jamie Clarke linked the play, with his unselfish attitude allowing others to shine.

Armagh's Ciaran McKeever in action against Offaly's Sean Pender. Photo: Philip Fitzpatrick/Sportsfile
Armagh's Ciaran McKeever in action against Offaly's Sean Pender. Photo: Philip Fitzpatrick/Sportsfile

The subs hit 0-4 between them, while the starting full-forward line of Clarke, Murnin and Campbell bagged 2-8.

"Our inside line played very well, some stylish football. As you get more players back you hope there's more competition and it's nice to run up a big score and get a wee bit of confidence in the team," said McGeeney.

Clarke and Murnin weren't involved last year and Geezer appreciates what they're adding.

"There are probably some teams out there who can miss those type of players and move on, but not many," he said.

Stunned Offaly boss Pat Flanagan said: "To concede six goals and whatever amount of points is very difficult to take. It's hard to put your finger on what went wrong, we never saw this coming to be honest."

Scorers - Armagh: S Campbell 1-4 (2f), N Grimley 1-3, R Grugan 1-3 (2f), A Murnin 1-2, A Duffy 1-1, N Rowland 1-0, S Sheridan, J Clarke, B Crealey 0-2 each, C Vernon, G McParland, O McKeever 0-1 each;

Offaly: N Dunne 0-4 (2f), E Carroll, B Allen 0-2 each, D Hanlon, G Guifoyle 0-1 each.

Armagh: B Hughes 7; M Shields 7, C Vernon 7, P Hughes 7; N Rowland 7, B Donaghy 7, A McKay 7; S Sheridan 8, A Findon 7; R Grugan 8, A Duffy 7, N Grimley 8; J Clarke 8, S Campbell 9, A Murnin 9. Subs: B Crealey 7 for Findon (HT), G McParland 7 for Campbell (46), G McCabe 6 for Shields (50), C McKeever 6 for Murnin (56), A Forker 6 for Grugan (58), O McKeever 6 for Clarke (63).

Offaly: K Garry 5; N Darby 5, J Lawlor 5, S Pender 5; C Donoghue 5, E Rigney 5, D Hanlon 5; E Carroll 7, C McNamee 6; G Guilfoyle 6, P Cunningham 5, M Brazil 5; S Doyle 6, N Dunne 7, B Allen 7. Subs: J O'Connor 5 for Donoghue (25), J Walsh 5 for Brazil (45), S Nally 5 for Darby (51), J Gethings 5 for Cunningham (51), N Bracken 5 for McNamee (53), D Carroll 5 for Rigney (66).

Ref - R Hickey (Clare).

Irish Independent

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