Derry 1-7 Armagh 1-10
Armagh today achieved what no other side had done since 1994 – they scored a championship win over Derry at Celtic Park.
Not since Down beat the reigning All-Ireland champions in the Bogside 16 years ago have the Oak Leafers lost on home turf.
But the Orchard men fully deserved this victory, even if they needed a late penalty save by Paul Hearty, and were helped by the dismissal of Derry attacker Eoin Bradley 15 minutes from the end.
Armagh will face Monaghan in the quarter-final, while Derry, following this defeat in front of a crowd of 10,242 in the Maiden city, must turn once again to the Qualifiers to rescue their season.
Armagh almost got in for a goal in the opening minute when Brian Mallon went one-on-one with Barry Gillis, but Derry goalkeeper Barry Gillis had to be alert to deny Brian Mallon in the very first minute, advancing from his line to keep out a firmly struck shot.
A closely fought opening quarter saw the sides level four times, after Mark Lynch had opened ht scoring with a superb Derry point.
Paddy Bradley and Lynch were on target from frees, with Aaron Kernan an Steven McDonnell equalising each one.
The game burst to life in the 30th minute with a trademark Paddy Bradley goal.
Lynch and Fergal Doherty combined for the later to pick the former Allstar attacker out at the far post. He still had plenty to do, diving at full stretch to punch past Paul Hearty.
That was the signal for McDonnell to yet again to show his class. He fired over four points late in the half, two of them from exceptionally difficult frees, to level the scores and send the sides in at the break deadlocked at 1-5 to 0-8.
Charlie Vernon displayed tremendous strength to hold off Fergal Doherty as he powered through to shoot Armagh in front for the first time two minutes into the second half.
Derry suffered a double blow at the beginning of the final quarter. First Eoin Bradley picked up a second booking after hauling Aaron Kernan to the ground, and his side was reduced to 14 men.
Less than two minutes later, the Orchard men forced ahead with a goal from substitute Jamie Clarke.
The Crossmaglen youngster collected McDonnell’s cross from the left to shoot deftly past Gillis for a 1-10 to 1-6 lead.
Derry managed just two points in the second half against a solid Armagh defence in which Kieran Toner, Brendan Donaghy and Ciaran McKeever were outstanding.
The were thrown a lifeline five minutes from the end when awarded a penalty after Finian Moriarity charged into Paddy Bradley, but Gerard O’Kane’s kick was superbly saved by Paul Hearty.
Derry: B Gillis, B Og McAlary, K McGuckin, D McBride, G O’Kane, B McGuigan, M Bateson, F Doherty, Patsy Bradley, SL McGoldrick, M Lynch (0-4 (3f), D Mullan, Paddy Bradley (1-2, 0-2f), E Bradley (0-1), R Wilkinson.
Subs: B McGoldrick for McGuigan (inj, 23), J Kielt for Wilkinson (49), M Craig for Bateson (61), J Diver for Doherty (inj, 63), E Muldoon for SL McGoldrick (70)
Armagh: P Hearty, A Mallon, K Toner, B Donaghy, P Duffy, C McKeever, F Moriarity, C Vernon (0-1), J Lavery, M Mackin, A Kernan (0-3, 2f), G Swift, B Mallon, S McDonnell (0-5, 4f), R Henderson (0-1).
Subs: V Martin for Lavery (34), J Clarke (1-0) for Henderson (49), M McNamee for Mackin (70)
Referee: M Deegan (Laois).