Allianz FL D1: Gritty Galway defeat Armagh

Allianz Football League Division One

Galway 1-8 Armagh 1-6

By Steve Malone at BOX-IT Athletic Grounds

A tight Allianz Football League game seemed to be edging towards a stalemate when Matthew Tierney fisted home the winning goal in the 69th minute.

The result puts Galway in with a chance of reaching the decider with All-Ireland champions Kerry coming to the Pearse Stadium next, while Armagh are in trouble as they make the trip to rivals Tyrone with relegation a real possibility.

Armagh held Galway to three points in the first half while Galway restricted Armagh to only two minutes during the second period in a game that was cagey in most parts.

Stefan Campbell, Crossmaglen’s Callum Cumiskey and Rian O’Neill and Ciaran Mackin picked off fine first half points but it was goalkeeper Ethan Rafferty that grabbed Armagh’s goal on 21 minutes.

That gave Armagh a 1-2 to no 0-0 lead, but two points in as many minutes from Johnny Heaney and Cathal Sweeney put Galway back into the contest. Shane Walsh pointed from a free as Armagh led 1-04 to 0-03 at the break.

Galway hit 1-05 before Armagh scored only their second point of the half. Rory Grugan opened the half with a point and they should have added to their tally, but for some poor shooting and the Tribesmen improved significantly.

Paul Conroy, Matthew Tierney, Shane Walsh and Johnny Heaney impressed as the Tribesmen cut into Armagh’s lead. The game opened up as it progressed but as Heaney, Conroy and marks from the excellent Tomo Culhane had the sides level with time almost up.

Then came Tierney’s smash and grab winning goal. Armagh came close to equalising deep in additional time, but Galway ‘keeper Conor Gleeson did well to deny Jarly Og Burns.

Galway are making strides, while Armagh have work to do.

Scorers for Galway: Matthew Tierney 1-0, Johnny Heaney, Tomo Culhane (2ms), and Shane Walsh (2fs) 0-2 each, Paul Conroy and Cathal Sweeney 0-1 each.

Scorers for Armagh: Ethan Rafferty 1-0, Ciaran Mackin, Stefan Campbell, Callum Cumiskey, Rian O’Neill, Aidan Nugent, and Rory Grugan (f) 0-1 each.

Galway: Conor Gleeson, John McGrath, Sean Kelly, Sean Fitzgerald, Dylan McHugh, John Daly, Cian Hernon, Paul Conroy, Paul Kelly, Matthew Tierney, Johnny Heaney, John Maher, Patrick Kelly, Shane Walsh, Cathal Sweeney.

Subs: Robert Finnerty for Kelly (HT), Tomo Culhane for P Kelly (43’),Daniel O’Flaherty for Maher (68’), Billy Mannion for Hernon (70’), Ryan Monaghan for J Daly (76’).

Armagh: Ethan Rafferty; Barry McCambridge, Aaron McKay, Aidan Forker, Ciaran Mackin, Greg McCabe, Jarly Og Burns, Stefan Campbell, Tiernan Kelly, Callum Cumiskey, Rory Grugan, Joe McElroy, Rian O’Neill, Andrew Murnin, Jason Duffy.

Subs: Jemar Hall for Cumiskey (29’), Stephen Sheridan for Kelly (ht’), Conor Turbitt for McCabe (48’), Ross McQuillan for McKay (51’), Niall Grimley for Sheridan (58’), Aidan Nugent for O’Neill (65’).

Referee: David Gough (Meath).