Roscommon 1-11 Armagh 1-9, Dr. Hyde Park
Roscommon rose to the challenge in fine style at Dr. Hyde Park as they overhauled Armagh in the second half of this All-Ireland qualifier.
It was a veritable game of two halves as the Orchard men burst out of the blocks on the back of Jamie Clarke’s eighth-minute goal.
Clarke scored 1-3 over the opening 35 minutes as Roscommon fell 1-7 to 0-5 behind by the break, with Armagh looking in dominant form.
But Paddy O’Rourke’s side fell away after that, allowing the inspired Rossies to dictate for the remainder.
They got a burst of confidence from Senan Kilbride’s goal, which rippled the net inside a minute of the restart, and points from Donie Shine and Cathal Cregg saw them over the finish line.
This was a performance full of determination and will to win and gives Roscommon plenty of encouragement for the rest of the summer.
Just six weeks ago, Des Newton's men crashed out of the Connacht Championship to Galway and at half-time here they looked something of a spent force.
However, the turnaround was remarkable as players like Shine, Cregg, Michael Finneran and Seanie McDermott, who brilliantly negated the influence of Clarke, rejuvenated the westerners.
The early exchanges pointed to an Armagh victory as despite initial points from Kilbride and free-taker Shine, Roscommon were being overrun.
Aidan Forker's opening point was added to by Clarke's goal with the Crossmaglen marksman winning the ball and holding off his marker McDermott to finish to the net.
Clarke then added two points to his tally, sandwiching a second free from Shine. Roscommon were far too reliant on Shine for scores in the first period - he knocked over four frees with the hosts unable to convert their chances in open play.
Johnny Hanratty and Forker added to Armagh's advantage, Clarke completed his 1-03 tally and Anto Duffy clipped over a final score to maintain a double scores lead for the Ulster outfit at 1-7 to 0-5.
At the other end, Roscommon continued to create scoring opportunities but their shooting and decision making let them down. Kilbride, advancing centre-back Peter Domican, Shine and Cregg all failed to convert in the closing stages of the half.
That made the second half transformation all the more remarkable. The game was turned on its head by Kilbride's early goal which saw him gather a high ball and finish smartly to reduce the margin to just two points.
Clarke's was kept quiet by Seanie Purcell doubling up on him with McDermott with Armagh's attack suffering from an increasingly limited supply of ball - Finneran came to the fore at midfield for Roscommon, winning more and more clean possession.
With Armagh held scoreless for 26 minutes of the second half, the Rossies battled their way into the lead. Points from Cathal Shine and Donie Shine, who landed two well-struck frees, saw to that, moving the hosts 1-8 to 1-7 ahead by the 53rd minute.
Scorers: Roscommon: D Shine 0-7 (0-6f), S Kilbride 1-1 (0-1f), C Cregg, K Mannion, C Shine 0-1 each
Armagh: J Clarke 1-3, A Forker, T Kernan (0-2f) 0-2 each, J Hanratty, A Duffy 0-1 each
ROSCOMMON: G Claffey; S McDermott, N Carty, S Purcell; N Collins, P Domican, I Kilbride; C Shine, K Mannion; N Kilroy, C Cregg, N Daly; S Kilbride, C Compton, D Shine.
Subs used: G Heneghan for Kilroy (35 mins), M Finneran for C Shine (44), D Ward for Collins (55), D McDermott for Compton (62), J Rogers for Cregg (68).
ARMAGH: P McEvoy; A Mallon, B Donaghy, D McKenna; F Moriarty, C McKeever, P Duffy; J Hanratty, K Toner; A Forker, K Dyas, A Duffy; J Clarke, C Rafferty, G McPartland.
Subs used: M Mackin for Forker (44 mins), C Vernon for McParland (55), J Lavery for McKenna, T Kernan for Dyas (both 61), J Kingham for Duffy (66).
Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois)