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Dyas rolls for Armagh as victory over Galway helps them stay up

ARMAGH retained their place in Division 2 when they dug deep into their reserves of courage, character and skill to see off Galway at the Athletic Grounds.

It was sweet redemption for the Orchard County, who had teetered on the precipice of relegation.

Not only did this performance safeguard their league status, but it also provided a fresh raft of optimism for the championship clash with Cavan – as highlighted by manager Paul Grimley.

"I thought the team had a performance like this in them and they certainly came good on this occasion," he said. "We played some great football and now that we are staying in Division 2 we have the incentive to go and show our true worth in the Ulster championship. That will be the real test for us."

Armagh sauntered through the first 20 minutes, virtually claiming ownership of the ball at midfield, where Stephen Harold and James Lavery were dominant, and launching strong raids down both flanks with Kevin Dyas and Caolan Rafferty prominent.

Streaking

In streaking into a 0-6 to 0-2 lead, Armagh cemented their authority, with Dyas and Aaron Kernan sharing four points and further scores coming from the impressive Harold and Tony Kernan.

But having been restricted to isolated forays up until then, Galway exploded into action in the 28th minute when Conor Doherty galloped through to fire home a goal to offer his side a lifeline.

Doherty's score complemented earlier points from Michael Meehan and Sean Armstrong and, when Stefan Forker and Armstrong traded points, Galway were back in contention at 0-9 to 1-3 before Aaron Kernan potted his fourth point just before half-time.

Galway enjoyed their best stint in the third quarter when lethal finishing by Meehan and Armstrong brought them level at 1-7 to 0-10 before the home side seized the initiative again, Dyas (2), Forker (2) and Kernan piloting them into a 0-15 to 1-7 lead.

And they maintained their momentum with Harold, Kernan and Dyas pulling the strings as they closed out the game, with Rafferty and substitute Sean Clarke joining this trio in posting the points that took their side over the line.

Man of the match: K Dyas (Armagh)

Scorers – Armagh: A Kernan 0-6 (3fs), K Dyas 0-5, S Forker, S Harold 0-3 each, S Clarke, B Mallon, C Rafferty, T Kernan 0-1 each. Galway: S Armstrong 0-5 (2fs), M Meehan 0-3 (2fs), C Doherty 1-0, D Cummins 0-2, P Conroy, G Bradshaw 0-1 each.

Armagh – P McEvoy 7; P McKeown 8, B Donaghy 7,M Shields 6; A Kernan 9, K Toner 8, F Moriarty 7; J Lavery 8, S Harold 9; C Rafferty 7, C Vernon 7, K Dyas 9; G McParland 6, T Kernan 6, S Forker 7. Subs: D McKenna 7 for Shields (14), S Clarke 7 for McParland (41), J Donnelly for Donaghy (61), B Mallon for T Kernan (61), J Kingham for Harold (69).

Galway – M Breathnach 7; J Duane 7, F Hanley 7, C Forde 7; G Bradshaw 8, K Kelly 6, G Sice 7; G O'Donnell 6, A Griffin 6; E Concannon 6, P Conroy 7, C Doherty 7; S Armstrong 8, M Meehan 8, M Hehir 6. Subs: D Cummins 8 for Hehir (h-t), G Higgins 6 for O'Donnell (39), G Sweeney 7 for Sice (45), M Martin 6 for Concannon (53), S Denver 6 for Bradshaw (64).

Ref – M Higgins (Fermanagh)

Irish Independent