GAA SENIOR FOOTBALL: Tyrone rout Armagh to ease into semi-finals

Mark Shields of Armagh is tackled by Kieran McGeary and Colm Cavanagh, right,  of Tyrone
Mark Shields of Armagh is tackled by Kieran McGeary and Colm Cavanagh, right, of Tyrone

Tyrone 3-17 Armagh 0-8

Tyrone will play three in a row chasing Dublin in the All-Ireland semi final after the Ulster champions turned on the style at Croke Park on Saturday afternoon to easily account for neighbours Armagh.

Tyrone's Sean Cavanagh celebrates with Richael Donnelly

Tyrone's Sean Cavanagh celebrates with Richael Donnelly

To have any chance of upsetting the odds the Orchard men required a good start to the game but the opposite happened and when Peter Harte slotted in a 15th minute penalty for a 1-5 to 0-0 lead the writing was already on the wall for the challengers. Harte was outstanding throughout as he produced a man of the match display and while he was delighted with the victory he knows that they will have to improve if they are to topple holders Dublin next day out.

“Look, we are happy with some aspects of the performance,” he said.

“We got sloppy at times, but look, scoring 3-16 is good kicking in Croke Park. It’s lovely to be back in an All-Ireland semi-final. It was a big target from after last year’s disappointment and it’s good to be there.

“I think if you watch the game back there are loads of aspects that we can improve on. I think our final pass today, not breaking the line at times in the first half and towards the start of the second half. Those are the wee things you can work on and try to improve. For the next day, the All-Ireland semi-final, you have to up your performance levels.

James Morgan of Armagh is tackled by Conall McCann of Tyrone

James Morgan of Armagh is tackled by Conall McCann of Tyrone

Colm Cavanagh, Mark Bradley and Sean Cavanagh were among the points for the Ulster champions before Harte converted a 15th minute penalty after Bradley had been fouled. Armagh midfielder Niall Grimley then opened his side’s account from a free but after such a good start the game was played on Tyrone’s terms. Declan McClure, a late change to the Tyrone starting fifteen, split the posts and while Mark Shields replied for Armagh it was the Red Hands who always had the upper hand. Gavin McParland and Sean Cavanagh exchanged points as did Rory Grugan and Harte to leave Tyrone comfortably in front at the short whistle 1-8 to 0-4.

A Niall Morgan free was followed by Bradley’s third point of the contest as Tyrone increased their advantage on the restart before Jamie Clarke, who was well marshalled by Cathal McCarron throughout, got his only score of the contest. Mattie Donnelly and Grugan swapped points before substitute David Mulgrew showed great composure to finish to the net in style after being picked out by an outstanding Niall Sludden pass.

It was game over at that stage but Tyrone continued to dominate proceedings. Cavanagh and Mulgrew tagged on points before the latter struck for another brilliant goal. By that stage Tyrone were down to fourteen men after Cathal McCarron picked up a second yellow in as many minutes but an afternoon to forget for Armagh concluded when they went down to fourteen as well when Grugan was black carded and they had used all their subs. Sean Cavanagh and Morgan rounded it off with points apiece as they set up a semi final meeting with holders and three in a row chasing Dublin.

TYRONE: Niall Morgan; Aidan McCrory, Ronan McNamee, Cathal McCarron; Tiernan McCann, Padraig Hampsey, Peter Harte; Colm Cavanagh, Declan McClure; Mattie Donnelly, Niall Sludden, Conall McCann; Mark Bradley, Sean Cavanagh, Kieran McGeary. Subs: David Mulgrew for C McCann (44), Darren McCurry for McGeary (44), Rory Brennan for McCrory (51), Ronan O’Neill for Bradley (51), Richard Donnelly for McClure (58), Justin McMahon for Colm Cavanagh (59)

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte shakes hands with Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte shakes hands with Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney

ARMAGH: Blaine Hughes; James Morgan, Charlie Vernon, Paul Hughes; Brendan Donaghy, Mark Shields, Joe McElroy; Stephen Sheridan, Niall Grimley; Rory Grugan, Ciaran O’Hanlon, Aidan Forker; Jamie Clarke, Gavin McParland, Stefan Campbell. Subs: Oisin O’Neill for O’Hanlon (30), Anthony Duffy for Shields (33, black card), Ethan Rafferty for Campbell (46), Ben Crealey for McParland (51), Ciaran McKeever for Grimley (56), Darren McKenna for Sheridan (59, black card).

Tyrone scorers - David Mulgrew 2-1, Peter Harte 1-2, Sean Cavanagh 0-4, Mark Bradley 0-3, Niall Morgan 0-2, Colm Cavanagh 0-1, Tiernan McCann 0-1, Declan McClure 0-1, Mattie Donnelly 0-1, Darren McCurry 0-1

Armagh scorers - Rory Grugan 0-3, Niall Grimley 0-1, Mark Shields 0-1, Gavin McParland 0-1, Jamie Clarke 0-1, Paul Hughes 0-1

Referee - David Gough, Meath