Monday 23 April 2018

McGuigan pulls strings to humiliate Armagh

Tyrone 5-16 Armagh 0-7

Ciaran McGinley celebrates after scoring his first goal against Armagh at Healy Park
Ciaran McGinley celebrates after scoring his first goal against Armagh at Healy Park

Tyrone produced a powerful display in Omagh to record a 24-point winning margin over Armagh and book a semi-final date with Derry.

It was a ruthless demolition job by an experimental Red Hand side in front of a crowd of 2,514 at Healy Park.

Armagh's bright start counted for nothing once Tyrone started to move the ball with purpose and precision.


With an embarrassment of riches in terms of men who looked comfortable and composed in possession, they stretched the Orchard defence and picked holes almost at will.

Shay McGuigan was the man who conducted the orchestra, his vision and range of passing uncannily reminiscent of older brother Brian in his prime.

It was McGuigan's defence-splitting pass that created the opening for Ciaran McGinley's 16th-minute goal, the Errigal Ciaran man sending a bullet to the net from Mattie Donnelly's popped pass.

The Red Hands had a second goal eight minutes later. This time Donnelly shuffled past marker Charlie Vernon out on the right to cut inside and beat Philip McEvoy with a low, precise finish to the corner of the net. By that stage, the home side led by 2-5 to 0-2, dominating possession around the middle, where Conan Grugan and Danny McBride shaded their battle with Ethan Rafferty and James Lavery.

Crucially, though, the Red Hands dominated breaking ball thanks to the busy PJ Lavery, Emmet McKenna and Ronan McNabb.

Jamie Clarke showed that he possessed the spark that could ignite his attack, but too often his colleagues carried the ball into the tackle and saw possession turned over. Kyle Carragher nailed a couple of points, but once Tyrone were in possession, there was little Paul Grimley's men could do to stop them.

Ronan O'Neill and Paddy McNeice each hit a couple of points, and goalkeeper Niall Morgan drilled a free between the posts. McGuigan became the ninth Tyrone player to score, giving his side a 2-10 to 0-4 interval lead.

PJ Lavery slotted home a third goal within 30 seconds of the restart, and Peter Harte punished Andy Mallon's foul on Donnelly by slotting home a 44th-minute penalty. A touch of Clarke magic presented Stefan Campbell with a goal chance, but Morgan responded with an excellent save.

There was still no sign of an Armagh response to Tyrone's dominance, although Ethan Rafferty drove forward to flash a shot just wide.

Midfielder Grugan -- one of just three Tyrone players to start all three games so far -- added further to his growing reputation, and the Red Hands wrapped up a clinical display with a superb Lavery strike three minutes from the end.

SCORERS -- Tyrone: PJ Lavery 2-1, P Harte 1-2 (1-0 pen), M Donnelly 1-1, C McGinley 1-0, R O'Neill 0-4 (2fs), P McNeice (1f), E McKenna 0-2 each, D McBride, S McGuigan, C Grugan, N Morgan (f) 0-1 each. Armagh: K Carragher 0-2, T Kernan (f), E Rafferty (f), S Campbell, R Tasker, B Mallon 0-1 each.

Tyrone -- N Morgan; A McCrory, R McNamee, B Tierney; C McGinley, P Harte, R McNabb; D McBride, C Grugan; E McKenna, S McGuigan, PJ Lavery; P McNeice, M Donnelly, R O'Neill. Subs: C Clarke for Tierney (40), P Quinn for Donnelly (49), H Gallagher for McNabb (53), K Campbell for McNamee (56), K Gallagher for McGinley (59), T McCann for Grugan (61)

Armagh -- P McEvoy; A Mallon, C Vernon, P Hughes; M Shields, S Campbell, C Rafferty; E Rafferty, J Lavery; E McVerry, K Carragher, T Kernan; R Tasker, J Clarke, N McConville. Subs: K O'Rourke for McVerry (8), B Mallon for McConville (33), J Hanratty for Kernan (40), C MacIomhair for Carragher (47), C McCooey for Hughes (49)

Ref -- C Branagan (Down).

Irish Independent

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