Thursday 27 July 2017

Jamie Clarke's moment of magic sees Armagh past Tipperary and into football's final 12

Tipperary 1-15 Armagh 1-17

15 July 2017; Jamie Clarke of Armagh celebrates scoring a goal in the 70th minute of the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 3B match between Tipperary and Armagh at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
15 July 2017; Jamie Clarke of Armagh celebrates scoring a goal in the 70th minute of the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 3B match between Tipperary and Armagh at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Sean McGoldrick

Armagh knocked last year's All-Ireland semi-finalists Tipperary out of the 2017 race in Thurles to reach the last 12 for the first time in three seasons.

An eight point haul from Man of the Man of the Match Niall Grimley and a goal from Jamie Clarke in the final minute of normal time were the key scores as the visitors avenged the defeat they endured against Tipperary in the last round of the league which cost them promotion.

Tipperary could have no complaints, though they were unhappy with the performance of referee Paddy Neilan, whose decision not to apply the advantage rule in many instances caused a lot of frustration.

A Michael Quinlivan goal early in the second half gave Tipp a four point lead but the fact that they didn't score again from play until the eighth minute of injury time summed up their below par second half performance.

Scores – particularly from play - were at the premium in the early exchanges, though Tipperary kept their noses in front through most of the first quarter.

But they had a significant let-off in the 19th minute when a peach of a pass from Clarke put McPartland through; he shook off the challenge of Emmet Moloney and drove the ball to the net only for the referee to whistle back for a dubious free which Rory Grugan knocked over.

But midfielder Liam Casey, Josh Keane and Brian Fox – who kicked five points between them in the first half – drove Tipp forward and they ought to have led by more than two points (0-10; 0-8) at the break.

Tipperary introduced Philip Austin at the start of the second half but Armagh were first off the mark with an excellent strike from Gavin McPartland.

Then came one of the pivotal sequences of play in the contest. Rory Grugan was penalised for over-carrying and from the resultant free Tipperary worked the ball up their left side with Austin, Robbie Kiely and Conor Sweeney all involved before the latter squeezed the ball through to Quinlivan who accelerated from the cover and drove the ball to the net. For the first time in the contest four points separated the sides.

It took a brilliant save from Tipperary goalkeeper Ciaran Kenrick to deny Andrew Murnin at the other end and then Jamie Clarke's effort for a point from the rebound was cleared. In the event they ultimately got a point from the attack when the increasingly influential Grimley pointed a free.

He kicked the next three scores as well – one from play – as Armagh enjoyed their best spell of the game and Tipp's woes increased when Jack Kennedy was black carded. The sides were now level and Tipp were still looking for their first point in the second half after 20 minutes.

Kevin O'Halloran butchered two chances for scores as Tipp visibly wilted but they edged back in front in the 57th minute with a pointed free from Josh Keane after a foul on Austin. But Armagh were on a roll now and points from McPartland and Clarke gave them the lead for the first time with nine minutes of normal time remaining.

Armagh wrapped up their place in the next round when they caught Tipperary on the counter attack in the 70th minute. A brilliant foot-passing movement which criss-crossed the field and involved Brendan Donaghy and Gavin McPartland before Jamie Clarke kept his cool and jinked the ball over the line.

Tipperary laid siege to the Armagh goals in the seven minutes of injury time and kicked two frees with Philip Austin finally getting their first point from play of the half in the eighth minute of injury time. It was too little, too late.

The official attendance was 6,823.

Armagh: B Hughes; B Donaghy, J Morgan, C Vernon; G McCabe (0-1), P Hughes, A Forker (0-1); S Sheridan (0-1), N Grimley (0-8, 5f, 1 45); C O'Hanlon, M Shields. R Grugan (0-2, 1f); A Murnin, J Clarke (1-1), G McPartland (0-2). Subs: J McElroy for McCabe 28m; S Campbell (0-1) for O'Hanlon 46m; C McKeevber for Clarke 72m; E Rafferty for Murnin 78m

Tipperary: C Kenrick; E Moloney, A Campbell, P Codd, B Maher, R Kiely, J Feehan; L Casey (0-2), G Hannigan; J Keane (0-4, f), K O'Halloran (0-2, 1f), B Fox (0-1); C Sweeney (0-3, 3f), J Kennedy (0-2, 2f), M Quinlivan (1-0) Subs: P Austin (0-1) for Hannigan ht; L Boland for Moloney 48m; D Foley for O'Halloran 72m; L McGrath for Boland 72m.

Referee: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon)

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