GAA Football

How the Galway players rated against Armagh * Tactical Takes * Top score * Ref Watch

Galway's Damien Comer celebrates after finding the net against Armagh. Pic Philip Walsh
Andy Watters

Conor Gleeson: At fault for all three goals. Didn't clear his lines under the high ball and Aidan Nugent capitalised to grab a lifeline for Armagh. Then he coughed up the ball for Armagh's second with a weak handpass that went straight to Turbitt. Cardinal sin of letting ball bounce in square led to third. 5

Liam Silke: Tracked Rory Grugan and restricted the Ballymacnab playmaker to a single point from play. Struggled when Armagh switched to route-one tactics in the final quarter. 6

Sean Kelly: Had some good moments, when he came on to the ball and cleared the danger but never looked entirely comfortable at the heart of the Galway defence. Sent off for his contribution to the melee at the end of normal time. 6

Jack Glynn: Picked up Aidan Nugent and had his hands full with the determined Cullyhanna clubman. A calm head in defence, he was able to play his way out of trouble a number of times. 6

Dylan McHugh: Played a vital part in Galway's first goal. Also won a free that Walsh scored. Turned over himself a couple of times but was in the thick of the action. 6.5

John Daly: Combined with Conroy to block a goalbound Nugent shot in the first half. Alternated as the spare man in defence and his distribution was excellent at times. 6

Kieran Molloy: Tracked Murnin in the first half and shut down his scoring threat. He popped up with a score himself in the second half. 6.5

Paul Conroy: Quietly impressive throughout yesterday's battle. A force in midfield and in defence, he got on a lot of ball for Galway and used it well. Popped up with a second half point too. 7.5

Cillian McDaid: He came good when his county needed him in the second period of extra-time. Timed his run to perfection and found the Armagh net with a piledriver and then kicked a brilliant equaliser to force penalties. 8

Patrick Kelly: A tireless shift up the right wing and alert to the threat of Jarly Og Burns. Unlucky not to get a free late in the first half, he scored a fine point early in the second. 7

Matthew Tierney: See Star Man

Johnny Heaney: An outlet for kickouts and a constant threat on the left wing, Heaney was in the right place to palm the ball into the back for his county's second half goal. 7

Rob Finnerty: Four points from play (one in extra-time) represents an excellent afternoon's work from Finnerty. Quick and confident he won his battle with Aaron McKay. 7.5

Damien Comer: The muscular full-forward got very little change out of Armagh full-back Aidan Forker but he did score Galway's first and last in normal time. Also scored his penalty. 7

Shane Walsh: Top scored for his county with half-a-dozen points including two from play. His free-taking with either foot is right out of the top drawer at times. Blotted his copybook by giving the ball away that led to Armagh's injury-time equaliser but made up for it with the first penalty of the shootout. 8

Substitutes:

Finnian O Laoi: On twice as a blood before he replaced Patrick Kelly. Quick and skilful, he scored a fine point. 6

Billy Mannion: Played the ball to McDaid for the vital goal in the second period of extra-time. 6

Niall Daly: Replaced Finnerty in injury-time of normal time but was replaced for extra-time. 5

Owen Gallagher: On for Walsh in injury-time, replaced for extra-time and then came on again. 5

James Foley: Not on long enough to be rated.

Star Man

Matthew Tierney (Galway)

Galway's penalty hero. Kept his nerve at the finish to send the Tribesmen through. He also registered two first half points when his county needed them and bravely returned to the action after being forced off with a head wound. Set up Heaney for Galway's first goal. 9

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Tactical Takes

Galway

TACTICS went out the window as this game evolved into a battle of wills. Galway manager Padraic Joyce played Damien Comer at full-forward and tested out of the Armagh defence with a series of high balls in the first half. None of them paid dividends and Galway looked much more dangerous when they were running the ball out of defence.

The Tribesmen played with a plus one at the back and after an uncertain start they got to grips with the Armagh kicking game. Stationed Johnny Heaney around midfield to react to Armagh counterattacks and Walsh and Finnerty were a constant threat coming off the wings.

Armagh

HELD their nerve when all seemed lost and Kieran McGeeney's substitutions were excellent. Eoin Woods (0-1), Justin Kieran (0-1), Jemar Hall (0-1) and Conor Turbitt (1-1) were all sprung from the bench and played their parts in Armagh's comeback. A case could have been made for sending on specialist goalkeeper Blaine Hughes for the penalties.

Struggled to keep a lid on Galway in the second and third quarters but the switch to route one tactics paid spectacular dividends and all three Armagh goals came from high balls into the box that Galway couldn't deal with.

Top score

Rian O'Neill (Armagh)

THERE were some superb end-to-end scores from play. Stefan Campbell scored off both feet and Shane Walsh did the same but, given the state of the game and what was at stake, O'Neill's monster free with the last kick of injury-time has to get this award.

A good 47 metres out in the shadow of the Cusack Stand, O'Neill struck the dead ball sweetly to force extra-time for his county.

Ref watch

David Coldrick (Meath)

THE biggest call was the red card shown to Greg McCabe midway through the second half. McCabe caught Matthew Tierney a split second late with a bone-shuddering hit. The challenge didn't seem malicious but it wasn't perfectly-timed or shoulder-to-shoulder and it was high so Coldrick's action was understandable.

Also sent off Galway's Sean Kelly and Armagh's Aidan Nugent after prolonged discussion with his co-officials. Further sanctions could follow.

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GAA Football