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Armagh claim Division Three title with victory over Fermanagh in Croke Park

Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney. Photo by John Merry

Armagh 0-16 v 0-11 Fermanagh

Armagh have picked up their first piece of silverware of the season, beating Fermanagh to claim the Allianz Division Three title in Croke Park this evening.

Playing with 14-men for most of the game after the dismissal of Finnian Moriarty after 26 minutes, Kieran McGeeney’s men dug deep after a slow, turgid start to proceedings.

Fermanagh were four points to the good in the opening 10 minutes before Tony Kernan finally registered with a free. Ten minutes later and Armagh were all square and well and truly in the ascendancy.

Kernan then gave the Orchard men the lead on 24 minutes with another free before Moriarty saw red for a what appeared to be a harsh second yellow card following a foul on Thomas Corrigan.

Undeterred, Armagh tagged on a further two points through Ethan Rafferty and man-of-the-match Jamie Clarke. Incidentally, Rafferty was starting in midfield alongside Ciaran O’Hanlon – the under-21’s midfield pairing – and it worked brilliantly.

Corrigan finally responded for the Ernemen but Kernan had the final say of the half with another free to leave the scores at 8-6 at the break.

Just as Fermanagh had in the first half, Armagh blasted out of the blocks after the interval, with Rafferty and Kernan adding two points a piece to extend the lead to six. Kernan’s effort a sublime free from the left.

Andrew Murnin had a goal disallowed in the 47th minute.

Charlie Vernon, in a rare moment found himself up the field, played in Murnin whose shot was smothered by the Fermanagh goalkeeper, however, a scramble ensued with the Lurgan-man poking the ball home only for the referee to rule out the score.

Murnin also had a volley brilliantly saved. Pete McGrath’s side started to mount a fightback and tapped over three unanswered points to leave just a kick of the ball between the sides.

At this stage, McGeeney turned to bench and brought on Stephen Harold, Caolan Rafferty and Gavin McParland.

And it was Harold whose two late points sealed the game and the Division Three title to boot. Fermanagh hit 12 wides in total to Armagh’s seven.

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