Roscommon secure place in Super 8s with brilliant win over Armagh
Roscommon 2-22 Armagh 1-19
What a game, what a contest and at the end of it all, Roscommon are into the Super 8s.
They just about deserved it, with their bench making a much bigger impact than Armagh's in the Portlaoise heat.
Yet the victory was still in the melting pot, if you'll excuse the phrase, until Enda Smith scored his and Roscommon's second goal in second half injury time.
Had Roscommon lost, referee Joe McQuillan might have been helping with their enquiries.
Armagh hit hard, most often legitimately, but once or twice they strayed over the line and frees didn't always follow.
For Armagh's part a saved penalty from Rory Grugan midway through the second half, Roscommon goalie Colm Lavin blocked it, was a huge miss.
They did get a goal five minutes later through Mark Shields.
But in between the two incidents Roscommon had tacked three points and the goal didn't haul the Orchard County back into the match as obviously as the penalty would have done.
Attacking heroes abounded in this one as the forwards made hay against defences that were using sweepers but not using them well.
The first half of this match was an astonishing affair, one that ended with Roscommon leading 1-11 to 0-12.
Neither team was using their sweepers to good effect as the two attacks ripped into their opposition with gusto and kept the scoreboard rattling along.
It was into the 17th minute before a wide was kicked as the likes of Andrew Murnin and Rory Grugan (Armagh) and Cathal Cregg and Diarmuid Murtagh for the Rossies made hay.
The key score, though, was Enda Smith's 29th minute goal for Roscommon.
The ball was worked beautifully up the length of the pitch after Roscommon had intercepted a stray pass almost on their own 20m line.
Pass after pass ended with Smith drilling his low shot to the corner of the Armagh net.
The Armagh men did manufacture a second half goal of their own from wing-back Shields who had moved to play as a target-man full-forward.
But the missed penalty and a few wayward efforts for points would come back to haunt the Orchard County at the end before Enda Smith's late green flag ended a great game.
Now Roscommon can look forward to hosting Donegal in Dr. Hyde Park and playing the Dubs in Croker as part of the Super 8s.
It's what they surely set their sights on for this summer.
Scorers- Roscommon- E. Smith 2-1, D. Murtagh 0-7, C.Murtagh 0-6, C. Cregg 0-3, D. Smith 0-3, C. Devanney 0-1, C. Compton 0-1.
Armagh- R. Grugan 0-5, N. Grimley 0-5, A. Murnin 0-4, M. Shields 1-0, S. Sheridan 0-1, J. Hall 0-1, R. McShane 0-1, A. Forker 0-1, G. McParland 0-1
Roscommon- C. Lavin; D. Murray, N. McInerney, S. McDermott; J. McManus, P. Domican, C. Devanney; N. Kilroy, T. O'Rourke; C. Murtagh, C. Cregg, E.Smith; D. Smith, U. Harney, D. Murtagh. Subs-Gc. Patterson for Domican 44mins Finbar Cregg for C. Murtagh 56mins C. Compton (0-1) for D. Smith 59mins C.Daly for McDermott 61mins Fintan Cregg for Kilroy 65mins I. Kilbride for Daly 71mins
Armagh- B. Hughes; P. Burns, C. Mackin, G. McCabe; M. Shields, B. Donaghy, A. Forker; C. Vernon, R. O'Neill; R. Grugan, J. Hall, N. Gimley; R. McShane, A. Murnin, S. Sheridan. Subs- J.McElroy for McCabe 33mins R. McQuillan for Sheridan 42mins N. Rowland for Donaghy 47mins G. McParland (0-1) for Mackin 52mins J. Duffy for Hall 63mins K. Dyas for Murnin 66mins
Referee- J. McQuillan (Cavan)