Orchard overshadows Dubs dreams

THE Dubs’ dream of football glory died in a packed Croke Park yesterday when Armagh snatched a one-point victory which puts them into an All-Ireland final against Kerry in three weeks’ time on September 22.

In front of their fourth full house of the championship and a baying hometown support, Tommy Lyons’ men were favourites to advance to the final, but time ran out on them in cruel circumstances when it looked like the two sides would have to go to a replay to decide this semi-final.

With the game in injury-time, Dublin’s ace marskman Ray Cosgrove stepped up to take a free kick which, if successful, would level the scores and force the sides to meet once more. But the young Dubliner, along with tens of thousands of his countymen, watched in horror as the ball came back off the upright.

As the ball bounced back into play and Armagh cleared their lines, referee Michael Collins blew for full time and coach Joe Kernan had achieved his ambition of leading his side to the final. Armagh last played in an All-Ireland final in 1977 when they were beaten handily by Dublin. Kernan played in that game, and yesterday’s victory over the Dubs will have been doubly sweet for him as a result.

Armagh last met Kerry in an All-Ireland final in 1953, and on that occasion, Kerry prevailed. Their aim now is to beat Kerry this time and bring Sam Maguire back to the Orchard county for the first time.

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