Five Ulster sides still in contention for Super 8s
FIVE Ulster teams are still on course to make it through to the inaugural Super 8s format, with Armagh, Tyrone, Fermanagh and Monaghan finding out this morning who they will meet in the fourth round of the qualifiers next weekend.
Armagh, Monaghan and Tyrone are one side of the draw alongside Kildare, while Fermanagh are on the other side with the other three beaten provincial finalists; Laois, Roscommon and Cork.
Repeat pairings are not allowed, which means that Fermanagh cannot be drawn against either Armagh or Monaghan, having beaten both in the Ulster championship.
The Orchard county’s chances of being in the hat this morning did not look good with 69 minutes on the clock at the Athletic Grounds on Saturday.
At that stage, Kieran McGeeney’s men trailed Clare by three points; a goal from David Tubridy on 67 minutes appeared to have secured the Banner’s safe passage.
But sensationally, Joe McElroy netted to draw Armagh level right at the start of six minutes of injury time, before the home side stormed over the finish line with further points from Rory Grugan, Gavin McParland, Ross McQuillan and Aidan Forker to seal a 2-16 to 1-15 win.
Tyrone’s progress was not as dramatic, but there was no less of an effort required by the Red Hands to see off the challenge of Cavan.
Ahead by five at the beginning of the second half, Tyrone seemed to have Cavan’s measure. But in a gritty display the Breffni men, with Gearoid McKiernan brilliant throughout, kept fighting back to remain on the tails of their opponents.
Ultimately, Tyrone had a touch more class, composure and crucially, strength in depth when it counted. Harte was able to spring Ronan O’Neill from the bench on 43 minutes, and the Omagh man landed three vital points, which was the winning margin at the end of the game; the final score Cavan 1-12 Tyrone 0-18.
As expected, Monaghan had little trouble in beating Leitrim in Carrick-on-Shannon, as they kept on course their bid to join Donegal in the quarter-finals.
13 points separated the sides at the final whistle, with Conor McCarthy grabbing the game’s only goal a minute from the end.