Dynamic Armagh reap rewards against Limerick

Limerick 1-6 Armagh 2-16

Dynamic Armagh reap rewards against Limerick

Why not? Armagh enjoyed a comprehensive win over the home side in their NFL Division 3 clash, a victory forged in strong tackling and full commitment.

Thirteen points was a margin that didn’t flatter the visitors, whose manager seemed to be favouring a leg slightly after the game.

“I’ve got some damage to the medial ligament,” said Armagh boss Kieran McGeeney. “Me trying to be a young fella again.

“To be nit-picking, we missed a few opportunities as well, but 18 scores was good, and they kept plugging away. Good goals, good hard work, happy enough.”

It’s a fair cliche to say a team is a mirror image of its manager, but Armagh yesterday were a dead ringer for McGeeney in his considerable heyday: forceful in the tackle, hard-working and diligent.

They settled quicker and had two points on the board before getting the game’s first goal — debutant Andrew Murnin breaking a Tony Kernan delivery to Aidan Forker, who netted from close range.

Armagh were 1-4 to no score ahead before Limerick responded with a goal themselves — Cian Sheehan’s handpassed effort came back off the woodwork and Thomas Lee billowed the net at the second attempt. With Danny Neville adding pointed frees, it was only 1-6 to 1-3 at the break.

For Limerick manager John Brudair, however, the second half was a tougher spectacle to watch.

“We had some goal opportunities after half-time, which is encouraging, but on the other side they got scores very easily. That’d be worrying.

“We worked hard on stopping them from getting easy scores in the first half, but when we had to chase the game after about 10 minutes in the second half, it looked very easy for them, in terms of getting scoring opportunities.”

Brudair’s timing was correct — 10 minutes after the break, quick hands from Caolan Raffety and Tony Kernan placed Mark Shields on the edge of the square: goal. That made it 2-10 to 1-4, the game was over as a contest.

It probably pleased McGeeney to see his men hammer over another six points to Limerick’s two in the remaining period; for Brudair, the positives were harder to find.

“The last two games have been against the two strongest teams in the division. In the first half, we acquitted ourselves reasonably well, we just need to make it last for a full game.

“It was good to hold a team of Armagh’s ability to a small score in the first half, having gifted them a couple of those scores, but we weren’t as good on the kick-outs today as we were the last day against Tipperary. There were pluses and minuses.”

His counterpart in the other dugout was also looking at the positives and negatives.

“We did fairly well in the first half,” said McGeeney, “We were a wee bit sloppy for their goal but Andrew Murnin had a good debut, he was a constant thorn in their side from the go, and it was good to have Pete Carragher on as well — good, all in all.

“With Jamie (Clarke) and others, we’ll be looking for them to come back and push for places. It was good today, but next week it could be a different story.

“Fermanagh have been doing well, they have strong forwards, good at the back, great counter-attacking style, we’ll have a lot on our plate.”

Brudair was already thinking of the next outing also: “We’d always picked next week, against Wexford, as a key game for us against a team we can go toe-to-toe with. We’ve had two great workouts now — but only if we bring what we’ve learned from those games to next week.”

Scorers for Limerick: T. Lee 1-0; D. Neville 0-2f; G. Noonan, B. Scanlon (f), C. Fahy, S. Buckley 0-1 each.

Scorers for Armagh: M. McKenna 0-5; A. Forker, M. Shields 1-1 each, T. Kernan 0-4 (0-3f); C. O’Hanlon 0-2; E. Rafferty, C. Rafferty, F. Moriarty 0-1 each.

LIMERICK: B. Scanlon, S. O’Dea, J. McCarthy, R. Browne, I. Corbett, P. Browne, C. Fahy, T. Lee, G. Hegarty, D. Tracey, D. Neville, S. Buckley (c), M. Lyons, C. Sheehan, M. Brosnan.

Subs: P. Nash for Lyons (30); D. Ward for Brosnan (50); G. Noonan for Lee (59); J. Mullins for Neville, P. Moran for C. Moran (both 61); J. Riordan for Hegarty (69).

ARMAGH: N. Geoghegan, A. Mallon, C. Vernon, M. Murray, A. Forker, F. Moriarty, M. McConville, A. Findon, P. Carragher, C. Rafferty, M. McKenna, M. Shields, T. Kernan, E. Rafferty, A. Murnin.

Subs: C. O’Handon for Murnin (42); S. Harold for Carragher and E. McVerry for A. Forker (both 50); P. Morrison for Geoghegan (63).

Referee: J. Hickey (Carlow).

* The game was preceded by a minute’s silence for the late Sean Duggan, brother of Armagh county secretary Paul Duggan.

Game-changer

Armagh’s second goal gave them a nine-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Did that just happen?

A first aid man vaping? Something wrong with that picture.

Best on show

Aidan Forker showed up well before coming off, but Micheal McKenna pulled the strings for Armagh well in addition to hitting five points from play.

Black card watch

None.

Sideline superior

Kieran McGeeney had a strong platform in his half-backs, who pushed up to pressurise Limerick well.

The man in black

John Hickey handled the game well.

What’s next?

Tipp travel to Wexford, Armagh take on Fermanagh.

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