GAA Football

Another statement win for Armagh overshadowed by late red cards

Players from both sides pile into an injury-time scuffle that led to five red cards, four for Tyrone and one for Armagh. Picture by Philip Walsh

Allianz Football League Division One: Armagh 2-14 Tyrone 0-14

From Cahair O’Kane at the Athletic Grounds

SOME very late statement refereeing took the focus away from another statement Armagh win as 14,328 fans got their money’s worth in the Athletic Grounds.

Very little about the game was in keeping with the elongated wrestling match that unfolded by the side of Armagh’s goalmouth in stoppage time, and while it was unseemly, not a lot about the row hinted at the action that followed.

Armagh’s Greg McCabe was called out first along with Aidan Nugent. Yellow for Nugent, red for McCabe.

What followed next was an incredible sight. David Gough gathered Peter Harte, Michael McKernan, Padraig Hampsey and Kieran McGeary around him and flashed the red card at all four.

The crowd let out an audible gasp, followed by a rapturous roar as the huge home support cheered the stricken Tyrone four’s exit.

It overshadowed a game in which Armagh brought their Croke Park brilliance back home with them for a half, slicing their way ten-point half-time lead against the wind, only to be met by a different Tyrone side in a very different second half.

“I’ve never seen that in my life before, and I’ve been around a lot of football,” said joint Red Hand boss Feargal Logan.

“Four men getting straight red cards like that. Let’s just hope we can get a good look at the video, and things will potentially balance themselves out again.

“It didn’t seem that one-sided a row to me, but anyway all we can do for the moment is live with it, as best we can.”

Like Logan, Kieran McGeeney, who had been yellow carded on the line himself very early on, hadn’t much of a view given that all happened in the opposite corner.

“Literally, you see where we stand, we can hardly see the game, never mind that,” said the Armagh boss.

“Talking to Greg (McCabe) there, he feels hard done by. When you have a bit schemozzle like that there, it’s really hard to see.

“I’m sure everybody’s going to be looking at videos tonight and there’s going to be solicitors all over the place.”

The red cards grab the eye and the headlines but in terms of the football, it was two very different halves.

Armagh cut Tyrone to bits in the first half, and only for two superb Niall Morgan saves the two goals they plundered would have been doubled.

That was the home side playing into the gale but as the sheets of rain came down to join in, Tyrone burrowed their way back into contention and won the second half 0-10 to 0-6 against worse elements.

“Our first half was well below standard. In fairness the spirit in the second half was outstanding, players put in a massive shift,” said Logan.

“It’s just unfortunate that everybody didn’t get to see it come down to the wire, to see who would come out on top.

“Armagh looked strong favourites, we got it back to four, if we got it back to three, who knows. There’s always goal chances come, but everything just melted away once the mayhem broke out.”

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GAA Football