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Tyrone topple timid Armagh in Dr McKenna Cup semi-final

Armagh GAA players in a pre-match huddle. Photo by John Merry

Tyrone overcame Armagh tonight at the Athletic Grounds with an eight point victory in the Dr McKenna Cup semi-final.

Tyrone rattled Armagh’s cages from the very start, Sean Cavanagh squeezed a point over the inside of the post and PJ Lavery grabbed a goal soon after, McAliskey took advantage of a poor kick out from McEvoy and put the former An Port Mor player through on goal, he slotted in with ease.

Micheal McKenna who has been been on a fine run of form during the McKenna Cup, knocked over Armagh’s first point after being set up by Stefan Campbell who made a great run down the left.

Armagh GAA players in a pre-match huddle. Photo by John Merry

Armagh GAA players in a pre-match huddle. Photo by John Merry

Tyrone continued to dominate, a Sean Cavanagh free and a Conal McCann strike gave them a five point lead after 22 minutes of play.

Armagh suffered a damaging blow just one minute later, Sean Cavanagh gathered the ball and passed on to Lavery who supplied Shay McGuigan with a goal chance, the corner forward scuffed his shot which fooled McEvoy who could only watch it trickle into the goal.

Stefan Campbell grabbed a much needed goal for Armagh on the 28th minute. Jamie Clarke, who had been pushed up the field after the introduction of Sean Connell, supplied Campbell with a great assist, and Armagh’s midfielder fired into the top right corner.

Just as the tide looked to be turning, and Armagh began to improve, Tyron rattled them with a third goal. Connor McAlliskey held off Murray and smashed a shot on goal which was saved, the ball fell straight to Cavanagh who tucked it into the empty goal.

Campbell and Hughes grabbed a point for each side before half time to leave the game 3-05 to 1-04 in Tyrone’s favour at the break.

Ciaron O’hanlon was introduced for the second half to help spark a little bit of life into Armagh’s forward line, but the scoring continued at the opposite end, Connor McAlliskey grabbing two points in three minutes.

Micheal McKenna pulled one back after Armagh missed a number of chances from frees. McAlliskey who was the man of the match scored a fantastic point on the 54th minute, toying with Ciaran McKeever on the left before swinging one over the bar.

As the minutes ticked by, a comeback looked more and more unlikely, Tyrone dominated all over the field. Looking composed in defence and powerful in attack. Darren McCurry gave them a deserved ten point lead on the 61st minute from a free.

Aiden Forker and Sean Connell grabbed late consolation scores for the home side, but they weren’t enough to help heal the pain of another defeat to their fiercest rivals. The match finished Tyrone 3-10 Armagh 1-08. A concerning performance for the Orchard which may give McGeeney much to think about in the weeks building up to the National Football League.

ARMAGH: Philip McEvoy; Ciaran McKeever, Brendan Donaghy, Michael Murray; Mark Shields, Finnian Moriarty, Oisin Mac Iomhair; Aaron Findon, Stefan Campbell; Stefan Forker, Micheal McKenna, Eugene McVerry; Tony Kernan, Jamie Clarke, Niall McConville.

TYRONE: Michael O’Neill; Dwayne Quinn, Ronan McNamee, Ryan McKenna; Rory Brennan, Mattie Donnelly, Peter Harte; Colm Cavanagh, Conal McCann; PJ Lavery, Ronan O’Neill, Peter Hughes; Shay McGuigan, Sean Cavanagh, Connor McAliskey.

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