Armagh march on with clear win over Rossies

Armagh always looked likely winners as they claimed a five-point win over Roscommon in Round 3 of the All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers at Dr. Hyde Park this evening.

Armagh 1-17 Roscommon 1-12

By Cóilín Duffy

Armagh always looked likely winners as they claimed a five-point win over Roscommon in Round 3 of the All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers at Dr. Hyde Park this evening.

Paul Grimley’s side only allowed the hosts to lead for six minutes of this game, before the visitors got into gear.

The visitors' goal came from Stefan Forker with six minutes remaining, but at this stage Armagh were odds-on to book their place in the last 16, although substitute Ciaran Murtagh managed a late goal for Roscommon.

Having impressed away from home against Cavan last time out, Roscommon manager John Evans just made one change to his side from the win over the Bernie County.

Rain lingered before throw-in, leaving underfoot conditions slippy, but both sides coped well despite a harsh surface.

The home side got off to the best start, with Under 21 star Diarmuid Murtagh landing the first of his three opening half points from a free after two and a half minutes.

However, this was the only time that Roscommon would lead in the opening half, as Armagh were far more clinical with their use of possession.

The Orchard County had 10% more ball in the opening half than their opponents, and while Roscommon dominated hugely in terms of kick outs won, they were failing to make this count on the score-board.

Armagh moved 0-2 to 0-1 ahead after eight minutes following scores from Tony Kernan and Stefan Campbell and although Murtagh equalised, the Ulstermen again got on top.

Armagh failed to trail for the remainder of the half, once Kernan put them back in front after 11 minutes.

Scores from Andy Mallon and Kyle Carragher opened up a three point lead after 16 minutes, before Murtagh responded for the hosts.

Crucially Roscommon had failed to score from play in the opening quarter, and they again continued in this vein before the break.

Evans’ charges only managed one point before the break, with Cathal Cregg landing a pointed free after 20 minutes.

Roscommon weren’t without their chances, with a Senan Kilbride effort coming off the post, while Cathal Shine and Enda Smith also register wides.

Smith’s miss coming after excellent work by the Boyle clubman.

Armagh also had their share of misses, but also managed scores, with points from Kernan, Jamie Clarke and Aaron Findon before the break handing them a 0-8 to 0-4 interval lead.

One of Armagh’s key tactics during the opening period was their use of the blanket defence throughout the first half, with upwards of 10 players behind the ball, and this again proved the case on the restart.

But despite this, it was Roscommon who opened the second half scoring, with Kevin Higgins finally getting their opening point from play, 20 seconds after the restart.

Indeed Roscommon outscored their opponents by four points to two inside the opening 11 minutes of the second half, with Enda Smith, Conor Daly and Diarmuid Murtagh adding to the hosts tally.

Armagh settled through scores from Clarke and Carragher, but just three points separated the sides with 15 minutes left on the clock.

However, the Orchard County finished strongly with Stephen Harold claiming two fine points from play, before Forker’s goal.

Substitute Aaron Kernan gathered a kick out from Roscommon keeper Darren O’Malley before launching the ball in towards the square and Forker to flick to the net, ensuring a 1-15 to 0-11 lead after 64 minutes.

Ciaran Murtagh pegged a goal back for Roscommon, but Armagh had done enough to steer themselves into the next round, and claim a five-point win.

Scorers for Armagh: T Kernan, J Clarke 0-4 each; S Forker 1-0; S Harold, K Carragher 0-2 each; A Mallon, A Findon, K Dyas, S Campbell 0-1 each.

Scorers for Roscommon: D Murtagh 0-5; C Murtagh 1-0; C Shine, K Higgins, E Smith, C Daly, S Kilbride, C Cregg, D Smith 0-1 each.

ARMAGH: P McEvoy; J Morgan, C Vernon, A Mallon; M Shields, B Donaghy, C McKeever; S Harold, A Findon; K Carragher, K Dyas, S Campbell; T Kernan, A Forker, J Clarke. Subs: A Forker for McVerry (35); A Kernan for Campbell (46); R Grugan for T Kernan (59).

ROSCOMMON: D O’Malley; S McDermott, N Carty, N Collins; D Keenan, N Daly, C Cafferkey; C Shine, K Higgins; I Kilbride, E Smith, C Daly; S Kilbride, C Cregg, D Murtagh. Subs: R Stack for Carty (Blood 27-29); D O’Gara for Cafferkey (35); R Stack for I Kilbride (48); D Smith for E Smith (52); C Murtagh for Cregg (60).

REFEREE: Eddie Kinsella (Laois)

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