Granemore make first ever Armagh final after freak goal helps see off Killeavy

Granemore's Pete Carr with Killeavy';s Callum O'Hare during Sunday's Armagh SFC semi-final at the Athletic Grounds  Picture: John Merry
Granemore's Pete Carr with Killeavy';s Callum O'Hare during Sunday's Armagh SFC semi-final at the Athletic Grounds Picture: John Merry

Cormac Leonard Commercials Armagh SFC semi-final: Granemore 2-9 Killeavy 0-8

A FREAK goal from stalwart Tony McClelland sent Granemore into their first-ever Armagh SFC final, where they’ll take on Crossmaglen in two weeks’ time.

Jason O’Neill had just edged Granemore one point ahead as Killeavy tried to turn the tide after trailing by four at half-time. Marty Carr attempted to fire the eventual winners two ahead, but his effort looked to be dropping harmlessly wide.

As the Killeavy keeper Shea Magill raced to get the game restarted, the wind kept the ball in play, and dropped into the arms of the waiting McClelland who side-stepped a challenge and slid home the easiest of finishes.

A second goal came minutes later when McClelland, this time in his own defensive square, turned the ball over and began a counter-attack which ended with Odhran Doyle playing a quick one-two with O’Neill and palming the ball into the net.

The game was settled with an O’Neill point, his sixth of the evening, in the 64th minute, with seven the difference in the end.

Killeavy should have had an early goal when David Mallie was bundled to the ground inside the small square, but Ronan McGuinness blasted his penalty wide and it was Granemore, playing with a strong breeze, who took control with scores from O’Neill (three frees) and Karl McQuaid.

McGuinness made up for his earlier error with Killeavy’s first point from a free before Wayne Kieran’s men had another goal chance.

A long ball into the square found it’s way to Sean Boylan, whose effort was brilliantly blocked on the goal-line. Granemore used their own long ball tactic and Brendan Boylan (left) set up O’Neill for his fourth of the afternoon.

Callum O’Hare doubled Killeavy’s tally before they were reduced to 14 men just before half-time, corner back Conor Magennis receiving his marching orders with a black card, followed by a red, adding to his earlier yellow.

Marty Carr popped over the final score of the half to give Niall McAleenan’s side a 0-6 to 0-2 half-time cushion. Conor O’Neill and Ronan McGuinness kept Killeavy in touch, while Ross Finn and Cathal Boylan traded scores after the turnaround.

McGuinness and Boylan split the posts to tie the game at 0-7 apiece and with the wind in their favour, it looked like Killeavy would push on for victory. But Granemore weren’t for letting up and their two-goal salvo saw them create history.

“I am hugely delighted but it is not about me,’’ said Granemore boss Niall McAleenan.

‘‘It is about what them fellas have put in all year, the management team and everyone has put in a big shift, and we are delighted to have gotten into the final.

“We have seen what Cross did to Maghery the other night and it is going to be a huge, huge test against probably the best club team in Ireland.’’


Granemore: K Kelly, C O’Hare, R Finn (0-1), P Hollywood, M King, K McQuaid (0-1), K Doyle, D Carr, B Boylan, L Hughes, J O’Neill (0-6, 0-3 frees), O Doyle (1-0), M Carr (0-1), P Carr, R Rafferty

Subs: T McClelland (1-0) for C O’Hare, E O’Neill for R. Rafferty.

Killeavy: S Magill, C Magennis, C McKinney, C McGuinness, C O’Neill (0-1), G Murphy, J Cosgrove (0-1 free), C O’Hare (0-1), C Boylan (0-2), D Mallie, N Magennis, C Cosgrove, R McGuinness (0-3, 0-2 frees), P Quinn, S Boylan

Subs: C McConville for P Quinn, J Donnelly for S Boylan, M McNamee for N Magennis, R Kearney for C McGuinness

Ref: J Magill (Redmond O’Hanlon’s)