Friday 15 December 2017

Galway's late show ensures their promotion dream is still on

Armagh 1-15 Galway 1-15

Colm Watters, Armagh, in action against Declan Kyne, Galway Photo: Philip Fitzpatrick / SPORTSFILE
Colm Watters, Armagh, in action against Declan Kyne, Galway Photo: Philip Fitzpatrick / SPORTSFILE
Damien Comer, Galway, in action against Charlie Vernon, Armagh Photo: Philip Fitzpatrick / SPORTSFILE
Damien Comer, Galway, in action against Aidan Forker and Charlie Vernon, Armagh Photo: Philip Fitzpatrick / SPORTSFILE newsdesk

Armagh surely used up their ration of drama and controversy for the remainder of the year in this absorbing shoot-out against Galway at the Athletic Grounds yesterday.

Two dismissals, a towering Man of the Match show from the imposing Stefan Campbell, who landed 1-9, and the concession of an equalising goal in the seventh minute of injury-time, left the Orchard County stunned at the finish - and Galway relieved rather than elated.

Certainly Tribesmen manager Kevin Walsh did not mince his words at the finish when he said: "The boys have been ridiculed of late because of what people thought was a lack of fight but they certainly stood up today. This was a learning curve for us and we will take a lot from it."

Campbell's seven first-half points had helped hoist his side into a 0-13 to 0-6 interval lead and when he converted a 59th-minute penalty to thrust them ahead at 1-14 to 0-10, they appeared destined for a canter down the home straight.

But the earlier loss of Ethan Rafferty to a second yellow card and Galway's robust resilience was to transform the tapestry of the last quarter.

Shane Walsh, Paul Conroy and Danny Cummins landed points that offered the Tribesmen a lifeline before substitutes Sean Denvir and Cummins pulled the game out of the fire.

Denvir's speculative lob was cleverly flicked to the net by Cummins to perhaps hasten Armagh's journey to Division Three, on a day that initially promised real hope but ultimately provided only heartbreak.

And manager Kieran McGeeney believes his team now face "a difficult battle" in their remaining games against Tyrone and Derry, while at the same time returning to what he feels is an all-too-familiar post-match theme.

"The fact that we seem to be talking about referees after almost every game clearly shows that there is a problem in this area," he declared. "Some of the decisions that went against us were puzzling but I thought that the boys showed tremendous character.

"Obviously it's a point lost for us and a point gained for Galway if you like."

SCORERS - armagh: S Campbell 1-9 (1-0 pen), C Watters 0-2, B Donaghy 0-1, E Rafferty 0-1, M McKenna 0-1 , G McParland 0-1. Galway: E Hoare 0-4 (2fs),S Walsh 0-4, P Conroy 0-2, L Silke 0-1, G Sice 0-1 (f), A Varley 0-1, D Comer 0-1, D Cummins 1-1.
Armagh - P Morrison 7; S Connell 7, C Vernon 6, S Heffron 7; M Shields 7, B Donaghy 7 J McElroy 7; R Grugan 6, E Rafferty 6; S Campbell 9, M McKenna 6, A Forker 6; C Watters 7, C O'Hanlon 5, G McParland 5. Subs: A Findon 6 for McParland (40), T Kernan 5 for Watters (58), C McKeever 5 for Grugan (68), J Hall 5 for McKenna (70).
Galway - M Breathnach 6; D Wynne 6, D Kyne 6, C Sweeney 7; L Silke 6, G O'Donnell 7, J Heaney 6; F O Currain 7, P Conroy 8, T Flynn,7. E Hoare 8, G Sice 7, S Walsh 7, A Varley 6, D Comer 7. Subs: S Denvir for Varley (48), D Cummins 1-1 for Wynn (48), E Brannagan for Sice (63).
REF - Sean Hurson Tyrone.

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