Clare have been knocked out of the 2018 All-Ireland SFC thanks to a late Armagh stoppage time rally.
Venue: Athletic Grounds, Armagh
As the game entered the closing stages it looked as though Clare were on their way into the hat for Monday’s qualifier draw but Armagh refused to relent and came good kicking an unanswered 1-04.
David Tubridy tapped the rebound of a saved penalty into the Armagh net on sixty seven minutes giving the visitors a four point cushion, that would be their final score as Kieran McGeeney’s side found an extra gear with their substitutes impacting on the scoreboard.
Eleven minutes in, the hosts held a three point advantage but Clare chipped away at it and were ahead by two twelve minutes later. The topsy turvy nature continued throughout with both sides enjoying spells of dominance. They were back level on thirty three minutes but points from Eoin Cleary and Jamie Malone nudged the Banner two clear at the break.
Eimhin Courtney was fouled for the penalty that David Tubridy converted on the second time of asking and in doing so pushed the gap to four points with sixty seven minutes on the clock. Armagh were never going to lie down on their home patch and they equalised via a Joe McElroy goal, white flags from Rory Grugan, Gavin McParland, Ross McQuillan and Aidan Forker sealed the win for Armagh.
Having come so close, it will take time for Clare to get over this game, the one that got away. The summer has ended abruptly for Colm Collins’ charges who had impressive displays from Jamie Malone and Eoin Cleary. Speaking after the game, Kieran McGeeney said “Clare were the best team we have played all year”, it’s of little consolation now but it is a further reminder of the strides being made by this team under Collins’ tutelage.
McGeeney undoubtedly is thrilled for his side to be one game away from the Super 8s, in this outing they kicked 18 wides, factor in their late flurry and it is areas like this that the Super 8 teams will punish them for. Nonetheless winning in this manner while it will sting Clare, it will be of enormous benefit to Armagh and comes at a perfect time when games are coming thick and fast.
1. Blaine Hughes
2. Patrick Burns
3. Aaron McKay
4. Gregory McCabe
5. Mark Shields
6. Brendan Donaghy
9. Connaire Mackin
8. Charlie Vernon
15. Stephen Sheridan
13. Ryan McShane
12. Niall Grimley
11. Jemar Hall
10. Rory Grugan
14. Andrew Murnin
7. Aidan Forker
19. Niall Rowland for Mackin (HT)
26. Ryan Owens for McKay (42)
25 Ross McQuillan for Hall (50)
18. Joe McElroy for Sheridan (55)
Gavin McParland for McShane (65)
20. Jason Duffy for Shields (70, BC)
1. Robert Eyres
6. Aaron Fitzgerald
3. Cillian Brennan
2. Gordon Kelly
5. Cian O’Dea
7. Pearse Killis
4. Eoghan Collins
8. Gary Brennan
9. Cathal O’Connor
10. Ciaran Malone
14. Keelan Sexton
12. Jamie Malone
13. Eimhin Courtney
11. Eoin Cleary
15. David Tubridy
21. Kevin Harnett for Collins (HT)
16. Killian Roche for Eyres (50)
24. Conal O hAinifein for O’Dea (57, BC)
22. Gearoid O’Brien for Fitzgerald (63)
18. Gavin Cooney for Sexton (65)
Referee: Fergal Kelly (Longford)