GAA Football

How the Armagh players rated against Tyrone. Key battle, ref watch, top score...

Armagh's Stefan Campbell takes on Tyrone's Frank Burns at the Athletic Grounds. Pic Philip Walsh
Andy Watters

Ethan Rafferty: Saved well from McKernan but Conor McKenna netted the rebound. Alert to clear a Michael O'Neill flick and saved a point that was scraping over the bar. Scored two himself and was outfield supporting the play at every opportunity. Accurate from kick-outs. What more could you ask? 8

James Morgan: A rock in the Armagh defence. The Crossmaglen clubman was booked at the end of the first half but he barely put a foot wrong. Positional sense was excellent and strong in the tackle. Closed down McGeary when he threatened a goal. 8

Aidan Forker: Started on Darren McCurry and although the Edendork clubman conjured up a couple of scores from play, Forker made sure he didn't turn the game Tyrone's way. 7.5

Conor O'Neill: The Killeavy youngster showed well in the first half. Broke forward for a fine point but was substituted at interval. 6.5

Aaron McKay: Thunderous hit on Frank Burns typified his determined effort in the Armagh rearguard. Bar their early goal, Tyrone never looked like breaking down the Orchard defence. 7

Greg McCabe: Put his head in where the boots were flying to get his hands on the ball and drag Armagh out of trouble as Tyrone pushed for a way back into the game. 7

Jarly Og Burns: Had Meyler for company at one stage and worked hard to shut down the Tyrone runners. A pacey counterattacking threat himself. 6.5

Stephen Sheridan: A good shift on his return to the starting line-up. Blazed a goal chance over the bar but it came because of his lung-busting support run. Put himself about in the midfield battle. 6.5

Ben Crealey: Tyrone were threatening a comeback when he got fingertips to Meyler's pass and sent Armagh on the attack. That was typical of Crealey's totally-committed performance. 7.5

Rory Grugan: Broke even with Peter Harte. Creative passing in the first half and he added a point in the second. 6.5

Stefan Campbell: See Star Man

Paddy Burns: Played the ball that led to Nugent's goal. Was doing a good job on Niall Sludden until he was forced off with a hamstring injury just before half-time. 6.5

Aidan Nugent: Caused havoc in the Tyrone defence in the first half. A succession of man-markers failed to keep a lid on him and left Ronan McNamee in his wake to score a goal out of nowhere. Added a point, another shot blocked by Morgan. 7.5

Rian O'Neill: As prominent in defence as he was in attack. Finished the game with four points, three from frees and fisted another over when he had a goal chance. 7

Jason Duffy: Head-to-head with Ronan McNamee. Clipped over a first half to give Armagh momentum they never lost. 7

Substitutes:

Connaire Mackin: The one negative on a terrific day for Armagh was the sight of the Shane O'Neill's clubman being stretchered off. Replaced Paddy Burns and put in a superb performance – out-jumping Kilpatrick in midfield, then denying Tyrone a goal with a brilliant goal-line catch. 8

Conor Turbitt: On a half-time for Conor O'Neill. Clipped over a point in the second half. 6.5

Jemar Hall: Added energy to the Armagh effort when he replaced Duffy after an hour. 6.5

Andrew Murnin: What an impact from the bench. Fisted one and then stroked over a score of the game contender to kill off Tyrone. 7.5

Mark Shields: Replaced Connaire Mackin. An experienced head in the closing stages. 6

Ross McQuillan: In for Sheridan to see Armagh home. 6

Star Man

Stefan Campbell 8.5

Arguably his best game in the county jersey. Certainly hasn't had many better whistle-to-whistle performances. Scored two points, the second after a brilliant catch on the wing, and was full of determined, pacey running from the start. Creativity and total commitment in the tackle. 8.5

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Ref Watch

David Coldrick (Meath)

HE got the major calls right on a busy afternoon. Clamped down on high tackling from Armagh and several players were shown yellow cards. Black-carded Tyrone's Richie Donnelly for dragging back Ben Crealey off-the-ball. Major incident was Michael McKernan's collision with Connaire Mackin and Coldrick decided that it was caused by the Tyrone defender's momentum.

Key Battle

Ben Crealey (Armagh) v Conn Kilpatrick (Tyrone)

CREALEY grew in stature as the game progressed and his performance in midfield gave Armagh the platform to push on for a Championship scalp they have been seeking for years.

Without Brian Kennedy beside him, Kilpatrick had to shoulder a heavy load in the Tyrone midfield and he did all he could to carry it. But Crealey won the battle and Armagh won the war.

Top score

ABSOLUTEY clinical and breathtakingly skilful. Rian O'Neill took the free after Michael McKernan had collided with Connaire Mackin and drilled it from his own 45-yard line to inside Tyrone's where Campbell had pulled out to the wing. The Clan na Gael forward caught it brilliantly, turned inside his marker and stroked over a superb point that gave Armagh the confidence to kick for home.

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