Declan Bogue reports at Athletic Grounds
TYRONE HAD FOUR players red carded after a fracas in injury time in this chastening defeat to neighbours Armagh, who also lost Greg McCabe to a red card in that dramatic ending.
In front of a 14,328 attendance here in a squally Athletic Grounds, they ran through the 2021 All-Ireland champions like they were a club side.
The huge crowd were no doubt encouraged by last week’s six point victory over Dublin and this was expected to be a more realistic test, coming signposted as it was.
By the half time break, Tyrone were 2-8 to 0-4 adrift. It could have been an awful lot more as Armagh also created three goal chances that they weren’t able to capitalise upon.
It took seven minutes for the first major to arrive. For this game, Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney moved Rian O’Neill to a deeper position.
He created the first goal with a ball inside to Greg McCabe and with Liam Rafferty caught under the dropping ball, he made space to dispatch his shot to the net.
Tyrone replied with points from Darragh Canavan and Michael McKernan, but the space afforded to Armagh soon told as they ran in six of the next seven points.
The second goal arrived in first half injury time when Connaire Mackin secured possession from an Armagh kickout. It was worked to the completely unmarked Tiernan Kelly who drew the defence before slipping to Jason Duffy who skipped around Niall Morgan to plant the ball in the net.
Tyrone managed to narrow the lead to six by the end. But with a raft of suspensions to follow, this was a meltdown from the Red Hands.
Scorers for Armagh: R O’Neill (0-4, 2f), J Duffy (1-1), G McCabe (1-0), R Grugan (0-2f), A McKay, J Óg Burns, Ciaran Mackin, T Kelly, J Hall, A Nugent, S Campbell (0-1) each
Scorers for Tyrone: C McShane (0-7f), M McKernan, P Hampsey, N Donnelly, K McGeary, D Canavan, N Sludden (0-1) each, D McCurry (0-1f)
Armagh: B Hughes; G McCabe, A McKay, A Forker; Connaire Mackin, N Rowland, J Óg Burns; Ciaran Mackin, S Sheridan; J Hall, R Grugan, T Kelly; A Nugent, R O’Neill, J Duffy
Subs: S Campbell for Kelly (HT), M Shields for Connaire Mackin (45m), N Grimley for Sheridan (50m – 64m, Blood sub), C O’Hanlon for Duffy (63m), J Morgan for Rowland (67m), N Grimley for Nugent (73m)
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Tyrone: N Morgan; M McKernan, P Hampsey, L Rafferty; C Meyler, F Burns, P Harte; N Donnelly, B Kennedy; K McGeary, D Canavan, N Sludden; D McCurry, M Donnelly, C McShane
Subs: J Munroe for Rafferty, C Shields for M Donnelly (HT), P Donaghy for McCurry (47m), C McKenna for N Donnelly (52m), B McDonnell for Sludden (73m)
Referee: David Gough (Meath)
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