All Ireland SFC Round 3B Qualifier
ARMAGH 1-17 TIPPERARY 1-15
By Jackie Cahill at Semple Stadium, Thurles
Tipperary reached the All-Ireland SFC semi-finals last year, but their season is over following a round 3B qualifier defeat to Armagh.
Kieran McGeeney’s visitors turned up the heat in the second half to claim a two-point victory in front of 6,823 spectators in Thurles.
Niall Grimley scored eight points for Armagh and while talismanic forward Jamie Clarke showed real class at the end to ease the Orchard men home.
Clarke’s late point had Armagh in front for the first time in the game, before he tapped home a counter-attack goal to seal it for McGeeney’s men.
Tipp will feel they could have won this one, but they went 20 minutes without a score in the second half, after All-Star Michael Quinlivan had crashed home a stunning goal.
Quinlivan found the net in the 38th minute, taking a pass from Conor Sweeney before sending a rising drive past Blaine Hughes, but they wouldn’t raise another flag until the 58th minute.
As Armagh came on strong, Tipp also lost Jack Kennedy to a black card in the 47th minute, and the hosts had goalkeeper Ciaran Kenrick to thank for a fine save to deny Andrew Murnin, shortly after Quinlivan’s goal.
Down the home straight, Armagh finally got ahead when Clarke lofted over a 61st minute point.
A Conor Sweeney free levelled matters, but when Armagh sub Stefan Campbell restored their lead, McGeeney’s charges refused to be caught.
A swift breakaway saw Brendan Donaghy, who did well in a covering role all through, feed Gavin McParland, and Tipp were in trouble.
McParland off-loaded to Clarke and he bamboozled the back-pedalling Tipp players with some dazzling footwork before slotting home.
Quinlivan had a couple of late efforts from close-in frees blocked away by the massed Armagh ranks, as Tipp desperately tried to find their way back into the game.
But Armagh were clever and streetwise, and atoned for their defeat to Tipp when the sides met in a promotion shoot-out at the Athletic Grounds earlier in the year.
At half-time, Tipp had put themselves in a good position, leading by 0-10 to 0-8 after playing with the breeze.
Scorers for Armagh: Niall Grimley 0-8 (5fs, 1 45), Jamie Clarke 1-1, Gavin McParland and Rory Grugan (1f) 0-2 each, Aidan Forker, Stephen Sheridan, Gregory McCabe and Stefan Campbell 0-1 each.
Scorers for Tipperary: Josh Keane 0-4 (2fs), Michael Quinlivan 1-0, Conor Sweeney 0-3 (3fs), Liam Casey, Kevin O’Halloran (1f), Jack Kennedy (2fs) 0-2 each, Brian Fox and Philip Austin 0-1 each.
ARMAGH: Blaine Hughes; Gregory McCabe, James Morgan, Charlie Vernon; Brendan Donaghy, Paul Hughes, Aidan Forker; Stephen Sheridan, Niall Grimley; Ciaran O’Hanlon, Mark Shields, Rory Grugan; Gavin McParland, Andrew Murnin, Jamie Clarke.
Subs: Joe McElroy for McCabe (inj., 28), Stefan Campbell for O’Hanlon (47), Ciaran McKeever for Clarke (70+3), Ethan Rafferty for Murnin (70+8).
TIPPERARY: Ciaran Kenrick; Alan Campbell, Paddy Codd, Emmet Moloney; Bill Maher, Robbie Kiely, Jimmy Feehan; Liam Casey, George Hannigan; Josh Keane, Kevin O’Halloran, Brian Fox; Conor Sweeney, Michael Quinlivan, Jack Kennedy.
Subs: Philip Austin for Hannigan (h.t.), G Hannigan for Kennedy (b/c 48), Liam Boland for Moloney (48), Diarmuid Foley for O’Halloran (70+2), Liam McGrath for Boland (64).
REFEREE: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon).