Armagh ease past 13-man Sligo
Armagh 1-19 Sligo 1-13
Rory Grugan's goal set up a powerful second-half surge from Armagh that eased them past 13-man Sligo and into the third round of the qualifiers.
Sligo, who came into this fixture on the back of a Connacht semi-final mauling by Galway, were without five players due to injury, including veteran defender Ross Donovan and deft forward Stephen Coen. Dual star Gerard O'Kelly-Lynch, a Lory Meagher Cup winner with the hurlers at Croke Park earlier in the day, was listed among substitutes.
Armagh, who bounced back from their Ulster quarter-final exit to Fermanagh with a decisive win over Westmeath in round one of the qualifiers, were missing injured attacker Ethan Rafferty.
The counties' only previous meeting in the championship was back 2002, a quarter-final clash that went to a replay which Armagh won. The visitors, comfortable winners over Sligo when the counties met in Division 3 in the spring, struggled to cope with Sligo's initial zest as the men in black led 0-3 to 0-1 by the 10th minute. Liam Gaughan landed two of these early points, the second of which was a goal chance which the centre-forward opted to fist over Blaine Hughes's crossbar.
But Sligo turnovers in their own half were punished by an improving Armagh who shot four points without reply to lead 0-5 to 0-3 after 23 minutes, a recovery that hinged on three classy points from skipper Grugan.
Sligo, however, were showing themselves capable of a response - through pacy attacks and free-taker Liam Gaughan's accuracy - and they went back in front, 0-7 to 0-5, with 32 minutes played.
It was Armagh's turn to dominate before the break and they were 0-8 to 0-7 ahead at half-time thanks to fine points from Andrew Murnin, Niall Grimley and Ryan McShane.
The decisive moment was a 39th-minute goal; it was a gift for the excellent Grugan who picked up Sligo goalkeeper Aidan Devaney's short kick-out before planting the ball in the net.
Armagh added to their lead with superb frees from substitute Niall Grimley, and even a wonder point from Sligo's Niall Murphy still left the hosts five points down, 1-13 to 0-11, with 53 minutes on the clock.
Sligo's situation worsened with seven minutes left when veteran forward Adrian Marren received a second booking ,and there was also a red card for Charlie Harrison in stoppage-time.
Sligo bagged a consolation goal in time added on when Cian Breheny netted bravely from close range.
Scorers - Armagh: R Grugan 1-5 (1f); N Grimley 0-6 (4f); R McShane 0-2; J Hall, B Hughes (1f), A Murnin, S Sheridan, J McElroy, C Mackin 0-1 each. Sligo: L Gaughan 0-7 (5f); C Breheny 1-0; N Murphy 0-3 (1f); A Marren 0-2 (2f); S Carrabine 0-1.
Armagh: B Hughes; P Burns, A McKay, G McCabe; M Shields, B Donaghy, A Forker; C Vernon, C Mackin; R Grugan, J Hall, C Higgins; R McShane, A Murnin, O Mac Iomhair. Subs: N Grimley for Forker (31, BC), S Sheridan for Higgins (35); N Rowland for McCabe (57, BC), J McElroy for Mac Iomhair (60), A Duffy for McShane (68), O Lappin for McKay (68).
Sligo: A Devaney; C Harrison, L Nicholson, M Gordon; N Ewing, A McIntyre, C Breheny; K McDonnell, N Murphy; S Carrabine, L Gaughan, P O'Connor; K Cawley, P Hughes, A Marren. Subs: G O'Kelly-Lynch for Breheny (14, blood), G O'Kelly-Lynch for Nicholson (49), C Henry for Gordon (57), F Cawley for Carrabine (65), J Clarke for O'Connor (69), N Rooney for Hughes (69), K Henry for Gaughan (70+2).
Referee: S Hurson (Tyrone)
Sunday Indo Sport