Late goal gives Roscommon a famous Nicky Rackard Cup final win over Armagh
Roscommon 2-12 Armagh 1-14
Captain Fantastic Micheal Kelly struck gold with a sensational goal in stoppage time to win the Nicky Rackard Cup for Roscommon amid high drama at Croke Park.
Kelly smashed a 20-metre to the net to give the 14-man Rossies a dream finish to a game that looked destined to go against them once sub Cathal Kelly was sent off with 15 minutes to play.
But they refused to accept defeat, and in a heroic effort, they gave every ouince of passion and desire in the quest for a cherished title.
Roscommon made a dream start with an Adrian Murphy goal after just five minutes, drilled past Simon Doherty aftrer he had been found in acres of space by Ronan O’Meara.
The Connacht men stayed in front for much of the opening half, with Keith Kilkenny, John Moran and Cillian Egan adding points.
Armagh were never far away, mainly due to Ryan Gaffney’s accuracy from frees, but they burst into spectacular action with a 1-3 blast between the 24th and 30th minutes.
David Carvill and Conor Corvan thumped over points, and on 30 minutes, Eoin McGuinness slipped the ball inside for Cathal Carvill to smash to the roof of the net from close range.
Armagh led by 1-8 to 1-5 at the interval, and stretched the advantage to five through Gaffney, but the Rossies hit back with scores from John Moran and Jerry Fallon, who converted two frees.
They lost substitute Cathal Kelly to a straight red card on 56 minutes, but managed to narrow the gap to a single point through Fallon, with John Moran and sub John Coyle also slotting over scores.
Armagh could not live with the passion of their opponents, and could only manage a couple of Gaffney frees in the closing stages
Then came that sensational finish, a rocket to the net from Kelly, and Armagh hearts were broken.
Roscommon scorers: A Murphy 1-1, M Kelly 1-0 (f), J Fallon 0-4 (4f), J Moran 0-3, J Coyle 0-2, C Egan, K Kilkenny 0-1 each.
Armagh scorers: C Carvill 1-0, R Gaffney 0-8 (8f), D Coulter 0-2, N Curry (’65), D Carvill, E McGuinness, C Corvan 0-1 each.
Roscommon: N Fallon, I Delaney, P Kellehan, L Kilcline, D Leonard, M Kelly, T Seale, C Dolan, J Kilkenny, J Moran, R O’Meara, J Fallon, C Egan, K Kilkenny, A Murphy.
Subs: C Kelly for Dolan (33), J Coyne for Seale (h-t), C Kenny for Egan (43), E Flanagan for Murphy (60)
Armagh: S Doherty, S Renaghan, C Clifford, C Devlin, K McKernan, N Curry, S Gaffney, J Corvan, D Coulter, R Gaffney, C Carvill, D Carvill, M Moan, E McGuinness, C Corvan.
Subs: C Gorman for Moan (52), C Magee for McGuinness (62), G Fallon for J Fallon (63), A McGuinness for D Carvill (65)
Referee: J O’Brien (Tipperary)