Tuesday 24 April 2018

Kernan kicks Armagh to title

Armagh 0-16 Fermanagh 0-11: Allianz Division 3 final

Armagh's Mark Shields celebrates with the cup
Armagh's Mark Shields celebrates with the cup
Armagh's James Morgan in action against Barry Mulrone of Fermanagh
Armagh's Kevin Dyas in action against Mickey Jones of Fermanagh

Armagh made light of the fact that they had to play with 14 men for 40 minutes at Croke Park last night to lift the Division 3 title.

Fermanagh had no answer to the intensity and sheer industry the Orchard men brought to the contest in front of 8,134 spectators at GAA HQ. And the winning margin could have been much greater, but for the heroics of Fermanagh goalkeeper Thomas Treacy, who pulled off three wonderful saves.

The Erne men set the early pace with Tomas Corrigan and Sean Quigley, with a brilliant Ruairi Corrigan effort easing them into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead.

Armagh reeled off four on the spin, through Jamie Clarke, Tony Kernan and Ethan Rafferty to go in front on 25 minutes, and Aidan Forker should have had a goal, but blazed over the bar.

Despite losing centre back Finian Moriarty to a second booking, they pushed on to lead by 0-8 to 0-6 at the break.

Kernan slotted his fourth free, and they could have had a couple of goals, denied by Treacy's superb saves from Kevin Dyas and Andrew Murnin.

The arrival of skipper Ciaran McKeever, unable to start due to injury, helped Armagh get their defensive system in order, and they pressed high up the field to create chances which Kernan and Ethan Rafferty converted for a 0-12 to 0-6 lead.

Fermanagh struggled to find an effective way to exploit their numerical advantage, but once they adopted a more expansive approach, they enjoyed renewed reward

Quigley knocked over another couple of frees, and when Tomas Corrigan slotted his third, they were back in it, trailing by three.

But Armagh turned up the tempo once again, closing it out with late scores from Stephen Harold and Kevin Dyas.

Scorers - Armagh: T Kernan 0-6 (5f), E Rafferty 0-3 (3f), J Clarke, S Harold 0-2 each, A Forker, C O'Hanlon, K Dyas 0-1 each; Fermanagh: S Quigley 0-7 (6f, 1 '45'), T Corrigan 0-3, R Corrigan 0-1.

Armagh: N Geoghegan, A Mallon, C Vernon, M Murray, J Morgan, F Moriarty, M Shields, C O'Hanlon, E Rafferty, T Kernan, M McKenna, A Forker, K Dyas, A Murnin, J Clarke. Subs: C McKeever for McKenna (h-t), E McVerry for Forker (46), S Harold for Murnin (58), G McParland for Rafferty (61), C Rafferty for O'Hanlon (65)

Fermanagh: T Treacy, M Jones, T Daly, M O'Brien, B Mulrone, R McCluskey, N Cassidy, R Jones, R O'Callaghan, P McCusker, R Corrigan, D McCusker, T Corrigan, S Quigley, C Flaherty. Subs: D Kille for Daly (h-t), A Breen for P McCusker (53), C Jones for R Corrigan, D McQuade for Flaherty (60), S Cullen for O'Callaghan (70)

Referee: D O'Mahoney (Tipperary).

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