Late show sees Armagh take hard-fought win

Armagh 0-10 Mayo 0-7

A late flourish earned Armagh their first ESB All-Ireland Minor Football title in 60 years following today's epic decider at Croke Park.

In ideal conditions, this game looked for long periods that it would go to a replay as in last years final, but Armagh dug deep with points from substitute Thomas McAlinden, Peter Carragher and Robbie Tasker to ensure victory.

Indeed Armagh could have paid dearly for a number of missed chances, especially in the second half with sevens wides during the closing 30 minutes.

McAlinden was guilty of a goal miss just two minutes after his introduction with a 56th-minute goal opportunity going amiss.

It came following an excellent attacking move which started with Ruairi Grugan linking with Conor King, before the ball was fed into McAlinden.

However not for the first time in this years Championship was a goal shot saved by Mayo goalkeeper Michael Slingermann, but McAlinden quickly made amends with a hard-earned point.

Mayo dominated possession in the opening minutes of this game, but they found it extremely hard to take their scores.

With just two of last year's side in their starting line-up the Westerners began nervously with three missed scoring chances in the opening four minutes.

The lone survivors from last year, captain Aidan Walsh and corner forward Alex Corduff, both sent early chances wide of the posts while centre-half-back Shane McDermott had his early goal shot saved by Armagh keeper Stephen O'Reilly.

Indeed this was a game which saw Mayo's defence come forward for scoring opportunities with Ciaran Charlton bagging a vital score to level the contest at 0-6 apiece five minutes into the second half.

The teams were virtually inseparable in this game and were level on six occasions including at the half-time whistle, on a 0-4 apiece score-line.

Laois referee Eddie Kinsella, officiating at his first All-Ireland Minor final, allowed for a free-flowing game of football, and was virtually unnoticeable such was the pace which he allowed this contest to preogress.

Charlton's 35th-minute score ended a fast-paced start to the second half, with a barren spell of 15 minutes before another score was produced.

Mayo captain Aidan Walsh was on target with a free as the Westerners broke into a slender lead with 10 minutes remaining.

However, Armagh's hunger and resolve showed through as they placed the Mayo defence under huge pressure in the closing stages to take a well earned historic success.

The Orchard County midfield played a pivotal role with Robbie Tasker among those leading by example to pave the way to victory.

After the game, Armagh captain Declan McKenna received the Tom Markham Cup from the Bishop of Cashel on the Croke Park pitch surface - a rare success for the Orchard County but no Hogan Stand Cup presentation to remember for McKenna and his county colleagues.

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