Roscommon 2-12 Armagh 1-14: Skipper Micheal Kelly revealed he was just following team orders when he netted a sensational injury-time goal to steal a remarkable Nicky Rackard Cup title for Roscommon.
The Rossies trailed for the entire second-half of Saturday’s decider at Croke Park but took their opportunity in quite incredible fashion when awarded a 20-metre free at the death.
Substitute John Coyne was cynically hauled down by Nathan Curry and with Roscommon trailing by two, captain Kelly looked to the sideline for guidance.
“Our selector Noel Larkin came in and he pointed to the sliothar, he said ‘you have to go for it’,” revealed Kelly.
“We knew there wasn’t going to be much stoppage time so it was the last chance. Thankfully it flew in.
“I actually couldn’t have hit it much better. Once it left the hurley I knew it was sweet but to tell you that it was definitely going in would be a lie. I thought someone might have got a hurl on it or put it out for a 65 which wouldn’t have been much use to us. But thankfully the luck was with us.”
The 72nd minute winner was all the more unlikely as Roscommon had trailed since the 27th minute, were 1-8 to 1-5 down at half-time and lost sub Cathal Kelly to a 58th minute red card.
Cathal Carvill’s 30th minute goal for Armagh separated the sides at half-time and Armagh were five clear after 40 minutes, 1-10 to 1-5.
Roscommon did reduce the margin to one point twice late on. But they lost Kelly to a straight red card and Ryan Gaffney’s eighth converted free of the day left Armagh two ahead with time virtually up.
Scorers for Roscommon:
A Murphy (1-1), J Fallon (0-4, four frees), M Kelly (1-0, one free), J Moran (0-3), J Coyne (0-2), K Kilkenny and C Egan (0-1 each).
Scorers for Armagh:
R Gaffney (0-8, eight frees), C Carvill (1-0), D Coulter (0-2), N Curry (one 65), D Carvill, C Corvan and E McGuinness 0-1 each.
N Fallon; I Delaney, P Kellehan, L Kilcline; D Leonard, M Kelly, T Seale; C Dolan, J Kilkenny; J Moran, R O’Meara, J Fallon; C Egan, K Kilkenny, A Murphy.
C Kelly for Dolan (34), J Coyne for Seale (h/t), C Kenny for Egan (44), E Flanagan for Murphy (61), G Fallon for J Fallon (64).
S Doherty; S Renaghan, C Clifford, C Devlin; S Gaffney, N Curry, K McKernan; J Corvan, D Coulter; R Gaffney, C Carvill, D Carvill; M Moan, E McGuinness, C Corvan.
C Gorman for Moan (53), C McKee for McGuinness (63), A McGuinness for D Carvill (66).
J O’Brien (Tipperary).
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