Tuesday 21 November 2017

Armagh leave it late to see off Fermanagh in ill-tempered clash

Armagh 1-10 Fermanagh 0-12

Eoin Donnelly, Fermanagh, in action against Aaron Findon, Armagh
Eoin Donnelly, Fermanagh, in action against Aaron Findon, Armagh

STEFAN CAMPBELL struck a last-gasp winner for Armagh to leave Kieran McGeeney breathing a sigh of relief.

After two straight defeats, Armagh were desperate for a win over Fermanagh at the Athletic Grounds and Tomas Corrigan thought he’d grabbed a draw for the visitors, nailing a long-range free in the third minute of stoppage time.

But there was still time for one last attack – and Campbell stepped up with a winner from 40 metres.

A spiteful, bad-tempered game, marred by a half-time tunnel scuffle, sprang to life in the closing stages.

Armagh started and finished well, with Fermanagh pretty good in between, and the home side coasted into a 1-3 to 0-1 lead.

Kieran McGeeney’s side were totally dominant with Campbell the star turn of their attack, hitting 1-2 in the first half.

Aidan Breen, Fermanagh, in action against Mark Shields
Aidan Breen, Fermanagh, in action against Mark Shields

Colm Watters and Niall Grimley scored quality long-range points for Armagh in the early stages and, although Campbell missed a simple free, his superb goal was the decisive score of the opening half.

He gathered Micheal McKenna’s long ball in and rolled the defender, drilling the ball low into the far corner.

Sean Quigley’s sixth-minute free was all Fermanagh had to show for their early efforts but they slowly warmed to the task and outscored the home side by 0-5 to 0-2 during a fine rally.

Quigley almost grabbed a goal for the Erne men, his fisted shot smashing the bar.

Armagh led 1-5 to 0-6 at the break.

A row involving up to 20 players erupted in the wake of Tony Kernan’s black card for tripping Quigley.

It looked a harsh call, and after a verbal exchange between Armagh boss McGeeney and Quigley, tempers rose as referee Cormac Reilly blew the half-time whistle and the row continued as the players made their way down the tunnel.

Late, cynical hits marred the third quarter but Aidan Breen and Tomas Corrigan drew Fermanagh level after 43 minutes.

Micheal McKenna restored Armagh’s lead but a Quigley free and a superb point from Aidan Breen put Fermanagh ahead.

Armagh rallied through Campbell and McKenna and, while Tomas Corrigan levelled it up, Campbell hit his first from play to nudge Armagh ahead 1-9 to 0-11.

Corrigan levelled it up before Campbell nailed a superb winner from 40m with the last kick of the game.

ARMAGH: M McNeice; S Heffron, C Vernon, A Mallon; S Forker, A Forker, M Shields; A Findon, N Grimley (0-1); S Campbell (1-5, 3f), M McKenna (0-3), S Connell; C Watters (0-1), C O’Hanlon, A Murnin. Subs: G McParland for Murnin (20), T Kernan for O’Hanlon (21), N McConville for Kernan (BC, 35), J Morgan for Watters (BC, 44), J McElroy for Grimley (55), J Feeney for McConville (63)

FERMANAGH: C Snow; M Jones, C Cullen, N Cassidy; P Rehill (0-1), J McMahon, A Breen (0-2); E Donnelly, D Kelly; B Mulrone, R Jones, K Connor; R Corrigan (0-1), S Quigley (0-3, 3f), T Corrigan (0-5, 3f). Subs: R O’Callaghan for Kelly (55), P McGovern for Rehill (58), D Teague for Connor (63), E McManus for R Corrigan (68)

REFEREE: Cormac Reilly

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