A brutal day for football, with both sides suffering some staggering statistics. Fermanagh did not register a score from play for the last 69 minutes. They had two red cards.
Armagh hit three wides, after pulling back a 0-5 to 0-1 deficit from half-time, to 0-7 each, in the last 13 minutes.
With a wind blowing from corner to corner, eleven of the 14 scores were shot into the Cornagrade Road End. Playing into that end, the home side made the early running, with a couple of Seamus Quigley frees. These were added to points from play by Aidan Breen and Barry Mulrone, before Armagh eventually opened their account, in the 24th minute. Stephen Sheridan skipped in behind a heavily fortified defence to drill over, when a goal looked on.
After the break, Fermanagh couldn’t get a hold of their own kickout, only getting two of the first ten restarts. They sent on Danny Teague, but he lasted a mere 13 minutes, before he was sent off, for kicking out at Gregory McCabe.
Three minutes later, Aidan Breen followed him, for his second yellow card. Armagh were growing into the game, with Aidan Forker dominant around the middle and Rory Grugan inventive inside. They passed up two chances from Niall Grimley — one of them a fairly-easy looking free — and another from Anthony Duffy.
The home side almost chiselled out an unlikely win, when Seamus Quigley had two late chances from the dead ball, but he couldn’t rise either sufficiently to clear the crossbar.
“Delighted with that,” was a chipper Armagh boss, Kieran McGeeney, at the finish. “We probably could have played a wee bit better and finished a wee bit stronger, but it was a tough game. Definitely not one for the purists. It was great to get a point out of it; we couldn’t seem to get going. We tried not to make any mistakes this year and get out of Division Three, and we did that.”
“Defensively, we were sound,” stated Erne manager, Rory Gallagher.
“The game favoured defences, when it finished seven -each. But we have got to punish teams a bit more.”
He had a mild scolding for Danny Teague, when he added; “I was disappointed about the straight red card. We don’t want indiscipline. The two games we have lost this year, we have lost two men in them and, in the modern game, it’s not often you see 14 men beat 15.”
Sean Quigley (0-5f), B Mulrone (0-1), A Breen (0-1).
R Grugan (0-3, 2f), S Sheridan, A Forker, N Grimley, O MacÍoimhair 0-1 each
P Cadden; M Jones, C Cullen, C McManus; B Mulrone, K Connor, D McCusker; E Donnelly, R Jones; J McMahon, C Corrigan, A Breen; P McCusker, C Jones, Seamus Quigley.
T Corrigan for Jones (31), D Teague for P McCusker (44), E Maguire for McManus (48), R Corrigan for C Corrigan (64)
B Hughes; P Burns, B Donaghy, O Lappin; R Kennedy, G McCabe, C Vernon; S Sheridan, N Grimley; B Crealey, A Forker, C Watters; R Grugan, A Murnin, O MacÍomhair.
N Rowland for Lappin (h-time), A Findon for Sheridan (40 - Black card replacement), A Duffy for Watters (46), R Lappin for Kennedy (53), M Stevenson for O MacÍomhair (70).