Tuesday 12 December 2017

The game at a glance

Man of the match

Jamie Clarke (Armagh)

At times it felt like Clarke versus the entire Tyrone defence. He featured on the losing side, but Clarke's deft movement, sublime finishing and ability to create space and win frees made this a contest.

Turning point

So many twists, so many turns, but when Peter Harte surged forward to pop over Tyrone's 16th point in the 67th minute, it broke Armagh's building momentum that had seen them close a three-point deficit over the preceding 12 minutes.

Talking point

The quality of this game couldn't be disputed -- easily the best of the championship to date. Both sides were positive about the way they took the game to each other and if Gaelic football is played like this, then there shouldn't be much issue with the playing rules. But it's the exception, not the rule.

Magic moment

Any moment involving Jamie Clarke qualifies, but his turn onto his right side for his third point off his right foot in the 43rd minute is worth watching again.

Ref watch

Mickey Harte questioned the difficulty Tyrone had in getting frees and, for the two that Brian Mallon converted as Armagh pushed hard in the second half, he may have had a point. But overall Joe McQuillan was sharp and alert to jersey pulls and off-the-ball holding that are ordinarily difficult to see. His team missed a '45' that should have gone to Armagh at a crucial stage near the end, but it looked like he may have been justified in overlooking an Armagh call for a penalty for Dermot Carlin's collision with Clarke in the opening half.

What they said

Mickey Harte (Tyrone manager):

"I thought the people got serious value for money there. People talk about blanket defences and this, that and the other as if there is no right for a team to change what they do or experiment. The scoreline tells its own tale. It wasn't that it was very open. Football has more to offer than some of those narrow-minded pundits would have you believe."

Paddy O'Rourke (Armagh manager):

"We probably lost the game to slightly the better team, but on reflection losing (Kevin) Dyas cost us the match. I think we could have pushed on in the last 10 minutes and won the game, but it's very hard to do that when you're down a man.

Match statistics

Wides: Tyrone 8 (5 first half); Armagh 12 (7)

Frees: Tyrone 25 (13); Armagh 20 (10)

Yellow cards: Tyrone 1 (Joe McMahon 61); Armagh 4 ( John Hanratty 49, Kevin Dyas 54, 55, Brendan Donaghy 70)

Red card: Tyrone 0; Armagh 1 (Dyas 55)

Attendance: 16,418

What next?

Tyrone play the winners of next weekend's Donegal v Derry quarter-final in the semi-final on July 1 in Clones or Casement Park; Armagh are into the second-round qualifiers on the weekend of July 14/15.

Irish Independent

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