GAA Football

Armagh flatten St Mary's in McKenna Cup opener

St Mary's Stephen McConville and Joe McElroy get to grips with Armagh's Jarlath Og Burns in their 2018 Dr McKenna Cup opener in Crossmaglen on Sunday December 16. Picture by Bill Smyth
Elaine Ingram

Dr McKenna Cup: Armagh 6-17 St Mary's 1-7

It was boys against men in Crossmaglen, as Armagh annihilated St Mary's in the McKenna Cup opener on Sunday.

It was no test for Kieran McGeeney's men who romped home with no contest whatsoever.

Stefan Campbell was back in the orange jersey after opting out last year, as was Rian O'Neill who was on the subs bench and his brother Oisin, who didn't play a part through injured.

Jamie Clarke will be togging out in the New Year as he's not eligible to play for this calendar year.

Jarlath Og Burns lined out for Armagh choosing his county side over his college St Mary's and he impressed on his debut.

The students had a couple of Derry county panellists in goalkeeper Ben McKinless and Niall Toner but it made little difference for the Belfast outfit as the county side were all over their opponents from the start.

The Armagh men were queuing up to score with nine different players getting on the board in the first half alone.

It was a humiliating 5-12 at half-time, with all of the Orchard scores from play.

Armagh were 1-2 up after just two minutes with points from McQuillan and Burns before Rory Grugan played the ball in for his brother Jack and he slotted into the net.

Further points from Jemar Hall, Ryan McShane and Rory Grugan made it 1-5 to no score.

St Mary's had one goal effort deflected off the post before being tipped out by Armagh keeper Sean O'Hanlon but their first point didn't appear until the 10th minute with a free from Clonduff's Stephen McConville.

Ryan Coleman followed up with a point from play, but the students wouldn't score again until the end of the half, while Armagh went to town.

Campbell provided Jason Duffy with a super ball for a close-range finish to the net and by the nineteenth minute it was 3-7 to 0-2 with another score from Burns and a goal from Campbell set up by Rory Grugan.

Five more unanswered points from Armagh followed, before McShane raised a green flag with a shot that went in off the underside of the crossbar.

Colm Byrne made it 4-12 to 0-3 on 32 minutes but Armagh showed no mercy as Duffy hit the net before the half-time whistle.

Aidan Forker came on as a half-time sub and had two over the bar within two minutes, after Rian O'Neill, who also came on after the break, scored Armagh's first free of the game.

Stephen McConville scored two from frees for St Mary's making it 5-15 to 0-5 and Aaron Duffy added a terrific point as the college side tightened up a bit and began to improve somewhat.

Toner was unlucky not to score a goal with a shot that flew wide on 51 minutes and Colm Byrne hit the woodwork before Armagh sub James Morgan scored his first of the game on 54 minutes after a 15-minute dry spell.

Mackin put another Orchard goal in the net off the keeper on the hour mark.

St Mary's responded after Coleman hit the post again, when the hard-working St Mary's player finally got his goal on 67 minutes as a consolation.

Two more points followed from Aaron Duffy with a free and McConville with a good point from play, but that only served to put a gloss on the scoreline however, as the match finished 6-17 to 1-7.

Armagh: S O'Hanlon; J Duffy (1-2, 1f), R Kennedy, R McCaughley; C Mackin (1-1), G McCabe, B Donaghy; N Grimley, R McQuillan (0-1); R McShane (1-1), J Hall (0-2), R Grugan 0-2); J Grugan (2-2), J Og Burns (0-2), S Campbell (1-0)

Subs: R O'Neill (0-1 ,f) for Hall (32mins), J Morgan (0-1) for McQuillan (H-T), A Forker (0-2), for Donaghey (H-T), P Casey for Grimley (H-T), J McElroy for J Grugan (55mins)

St Mary's: B McKinless; C McAllister, C Dillon, Ml Rooney; C Byrne (0-1), R McClusker, J Hannigan; S McConville (0-4, 3,frees), A Duffy (0-1); A Boyle, R Coleman (1-1), T O'Kane; D McKinless, N Toner, Ryan McSherry

Subs: C Goodwin for O'Kane (40mins), P McSorley for Duffy (65mins), T Sludden for O'Kane (65mins), G O'Neill for McSherry (67mins)

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