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Armagh make history in reaching last eight

Armagh 1-17 Kildare 0-17

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Armagh goal hero Andrew Murnin. Photo: Sportsfile

Armagh goal hero Andrew Murnin. Photo: Sportsfile

Armagh goal hero Andrew Murnin. Photo: Sportsfile

Armagh's summer rehabilitation went into overdrive in Croke Park last night when they became the first Division 3 team to reach the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

A 31st-minute goal from Andrew Murnin which took a wicked deflection of Kildare corner back Mick O'Grady and a wonderful second half performance from Jamie Clarke - who scored 0-4 - and was involved in at least as many other scores were the key features of the Armagh win.

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Stefan Campbell of Armagh in action against Mick O'Grady of Kildare during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 4B match between Armagh and Kildare at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile

Stefan Campbell of Armagh in action against Mick O'Grady of Kildare during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 4B match between Armagh and Kildare at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile

Stefan Campbell of Armagh in action against Mick O'Grady of Kildare during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 4B match between Armagh and Kildare at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile

Judged by the exchanges in the first quarter, Armagh had learned more from Kildare's defeat to Dublin than Kildare had from Armagh's three wins in the qualifiers. Kieran McGeeney opted for a three man forward line of Clarke, Murnin and Rory Grugan.

This enabled them to pour extra bodies into the middle third of the field and essentially they formed a human barrier across their 45m line and clogged up Kildare's pathway to goals in a far more effective way than Dublin had done in the Leinster final

Aidan Forker 18th minute point enabled Armagh to deserving lead 0-6 to 0-3 after 18 minutes. But between the 21st and 28th minutes Kildare finally got some traction hitting four points on the spin to level the tie 0-7 each.

Indeed, they were particularly unfortunate as Armagh's rapid counter-attack down the left flank after they collected the second rebound led directly to the key score in the first half - Murnin's 31st-minute goal.

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Paddy Brophy of Kildare in action against Joe McElroy of Armagh. Photo: Sportsfile

Paddy Brophy of Kildare in action against Joe McElroy of Armagh. Photo: Sportsfile

Paddy Brophy of Kildare in action against Joe McElroy of Armagh. Photo: Sportsfile

Rory Grugan set up Murnin whose shot was half blocked by Mick O'Grady but it had sufficient momentum to roll over the line as Mark Donnellan had dived in the other direction.

The impressive Gavin McParland kicked his second point of the contest immediately afterwards and although Niall Kelly grabbed his second point before the break Armagh were still in the driving seat at the break leading 1-8 to 0-8.

James Morgan was fortunate to stay on the field when, immediately after being booked, he clattered into Niall Kelly but the referee took no action, though Kevin Feely knocked over the two frees. But it was Armagh who continued to look the better team as they cantered down the right side of the Kildare defence and kicked a brace of points from Clarke and substitute Joe McElroy.

But Kildare got back into the game with two in a row from Paddy Brophy and Keith Cribbin - though the level of Armagh fouling at the time suggested it was tactical. Kildare finally drew level after 45 minutes with a peach of a point from Daniel Flynn.

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Then came a decisive moment as Keith Cribbin was rightly black carded for pulling down Joe McElroy. Grugan popped over the free and then the most influential player on the field, Clarke, set up sweeper Brendan Donaghy for a point to give the Ulster side a two point cushion.

Even though Feely's fifth free narrowed the gap to a point again it was Armagh who finished the stronger with points from substitute Ethan Rafferty and a free from Niall Grimley - inevitably after a foul on Clarke.

It was sufficient to send them into this afternoon's quarter-final draw in which Dublin and Tyrone will be in one hat and they will be drawn against Monaghan or Armagh, with both games to be played next Saturday.

Armagh: B Hughes; P Hughes, J Morgan, A McKay; A Forker (0-1), M Shields, B Donaghy (0-1); S Sheridan, N Grimley (0-2, 2f), C Vernon, S Campbell (0-1) R Grugan (0-2, 1f); J Clarke (0-4), A Murnin (1-1), G McParland (0-3). Subs: J McElroy (0-1) for McKay 37m; C O'Hanlon for Forker 45m; E Rafferty (0-1) for Murnin 48m; O O'Neill for Campbell 49m; A Duffy for Grugan 63m

Kildare: M Donnellan (0-1, 1f); M O'Grady, D Hyland, O Lyons, P Kelly, J Byrne, K Cribbin (0-2); K Feely (0-5, 5f), P Cribben, F Conway (0-2), N Kelly (0-2), D Slattery; P Brophy (0-3), D Flynn (0-1), B McCormack (0-1) Subs: C McNally for McCormack 44 ; F Dowling for Slattery 50m; M Hyland for Kelly 56m; C O'Donoghue for K Cribbin BC 58m; E O'Callaghan for Kelly 64m; T Moolick for Flynn 67m

Referee: Derek O'Mahony (Tipperary)


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