Quinlivan hat-trick pips the Orchard to the post
Tipperary 3-8 Armagh 0-16
Tipperary showed that last year's arrival in the All-Ireland football semi-finals wasn't without substance when they staged a dramatic revival to snatch a last-gasp victory at the Athletic Grounds yesterday - a win which has earned them a place in Division 2 next year.
And Michael Quinlivan is the player who did most to make a dream come through for the loyal band of Premier County followers who were there to witness their team's elevation.
Armagh had led by 0-7 to 0-4 at the break with Rory Grugan, Andrew Murnin and Jamie Clarke lively in their attack, but the second-half was scarcely two minutes old when Quinlivan delivered the first of his treble by sweeping in a superb goal.
When he scored his second in the 46th minute, Armagh refused to press the panic button and instead responded with points from Murnin, Oisin O'Neill, and Clarke that appeared to have eased them into a more comfortable position at 0-15 to 2-5.
The home side introduced Ciaran McKeever from the bench to fulfil the role of sweeper but, undaunted, Tipperary kept the good wine until the last.
Impressive substitutes Liam Boland and Alan Moloney landed points to inch their side closer to the hosts before the voracious Quinlivan fastened onto a through pass from Liam Casey and drilled a fierce shot to the corner of the net to complete an out-of-the-blue triumph.
Ecstatic Tipperary manager Liam Kerans could scarcely believe the turnaround in his team's fortunes. "To be honest, I thought Armagh were better than us for spells but I have to say that Michael Quinlivan was just sensational," declared Kearns. "We have had our problems lately because of the unavailability of players but today the lads stepped up to the mark in style."
For Armagh this was a particularly bitter pill to swallow and manager Kieran McGeeney certainly did not indulge in excuses afterwards.
"We had goal chances ourselves and did not take them. We maybe took the wrong options at times. This came back to bite us in the end," he said, "We're not allowed to talk about refereeing decisions so I will say no more than that.
"We find ourselves in much the same situation as last year when we were pipped at the post if you like in the promotion race but that's how it goes."
Scorers - Tipperary: M Quinlivan 3-1; C Sweeney (1f), K O'Halloran (2f) 0-2 each; R Kiely, L Boland, A Maloney 0-1 each. Armagh: A Murnin, R Grugan, J Clarke 0-3 each, N Grimley, O'Neill 0-2 each; A Forker, S Campbell, G McCabe 0-1 each.
Tipperary - E Comerford 6; A Campbell 7, P Codd 7, S O'Connell 8; B Maher 7, R Kiely 7, G Hannigan 8; L Casey 7, J Kennedy; J Keane 7, K O'Halloran 7, B Fox 7; C Sweeney 8, M Quinlivan 9, C O'Shaughnessy 7. Subs: K Fahey 6 for O'Shaughnessy (52), L Boland for O'Halloran (66) A Moloney 7 for Hannigan (70).
Armagh - B Hughes 7; J Morgan 8, C Vernon 7, P Hughes 7; N Rowland 6, A Forker 6, A McKay 6; B Crealey 7, O O'Neill 7; N Grimley 7, A Duffy 6, R Grugan 8; J Clarke 7, S Campbell 6, A Murnin 7. Subs: G McParland for Duffy, C McKeever for Crealey (48), C O'Hanlon for O'Neill (65), G McCabe for Forker (70). Yellow cards: O'Neill (24), Murnin (62), Vernon (71).
REF - Rory Hickey (Clare).