Red Hands knocked out - Tyrone: 0-10 Armagh 0-13

�Press Eye Ltd Colm Cavanagh of Tyrone looks dejected at the end of the game
�Press Eye Ltd Colm Cavanagh of Tyrone looks dejected at the end of the game

Tyrone crashed out of the All Ireland series following a dismal to defeat to Armagh in the second round of the qualifiers on Sunday in Omagh.

The Red Hands were never at the races only briefly raising a gallop before Armagh once again re-asserted in control.

At the end of the 70 minutes Tyrone had some woeful Armagh shooting and goalkeeper Niall Morgan to thank for the difference in the sides being as little as three points.

The game was undoubtedly shaped by the 32nd minute sending-off of centre half back Mattie Donnelly who picked up a second yellow for a foul on Armagh’s Tony Kernan, but in truth Tyrone were already struggling.

Armagh brought a greater hunger, intensity and commitment to the game and their midfield of Aaron Findon and Stephen Harold were on top.

Closer to goal Jamie Clarke and Tony Kernan in particular were posing real problems to the to the Tyrone defence, while in attack Tyrone were unable to find their inside forward line of Darren McCurry, Connor McAliskey and Niall McKenna with any regularity.

Armagh set the tone for the encounter in the opening 30 seconds as a scuffle off the ball, initially between Mattie Donnelly and Aidan Forker saw over 20 players involved in pushing and shoving.

Donnelly and Forker were booked and Armagh, something that would have a great impact on the outcome of the game.

The Orchard County opened the scoring, Tony Kernan slotting over a simple free in the third minute of the tie.

Tyrone hit right back, however, Kyle Coney finding his range with a shot from 45 metres and Niall Morgan firing over a free from distance after Charlie Vernon brought Coney down.

In the tenth minute of the contest Armagh cut Tyrone open for the first time, a Jamie Clarke shot brilliantly saved by Niall Morgan. Tony Kernan scored the resulting 45 and a couple of minutes later Stephen Harold restored the Armagh lead.

The Orchard men could have had another goal moments later but wing-back Mark Shields, in two minds between taking his point and going for goal shot wide from 14 metres.

Armagh kicked on and scored three of the next four points, with Tony Kernan twice and Jamie Clarke scoring frees, Sean Cavanagh offering a reply for Tyrone.

Tyrone for their part looked listless. Their attacks were ponderous and, when they did manage to find room, Tyrone’s attackers were guilty of poor handling and basic errors.

Mattie Donnelly picked up his second yellow card in the 32nd minute, the centre half back left exposed, the last man in the Tyrone defence as Tony Kernan found space close to the Tyrone goal.

Referee Cormac Reilly was far from consistent over the 70 minutes but Tyrone could have little complaint about the second yellow card for Donnelly.

Mickey Harte was dealt a further blow as Ronan McNamee was forced off Barry Tierney taking his place, while Conor Gormley was introduced for Ciaran McGinley.

Armagh moved into a four point lead in injury time at the end of the half as Clarke scored but two late Sean Cavanagh frees kept Tyrone in touch at the break.

The Red Hands began the second half with an intensity and purpose missing in the first half, Niall McKenna on target in the opening

Stephen O’Neill came in, in place of Connor McAliskey and he added some life to the Tyrone attack winning two frees at the beginning of the second half, both converted by Sean Cavanagh.

Tyrone now led but Armagh didn’t panic, and they kicked three quick scores of their own.

Andy Mallon got the first point coming from deep to score and seconds later Jamie Clarke found Stefan Campbell who made no mistake.

A foul on Aidan Forker soon after saw substitute Aaron Kernan respond as Paul Grimley’s men pulled clear.

Shortly after Tyrone needed Niall Morgan to be at the top of his game to deny Mark Shields as he shot low to Morgan’s left but the Edendork man was more than equal to the effort.

Tyrone got themselves back on terms 14 minutes into the second half as two Darren McCurry frees in the space of three minutes put the game in the melting pot.

Tyrone, however, failed to score again. Armagh took control from there on. Jamie Clarke put Armagh in front, Mark Shields extended the Armagh lead and in the 57th minute Rory Grugan kicked the last point of the game.

The Red Hands, for their part, showed little urgency and no change in gameplan as the clock wound down.

Niall Morgan was required to save brilliantly from Grugan and Armagh wasted a handful of chances that could have put the game beyond Tyrone’s reach.

Tyrone needed a goal to have any hope of getting back into the game but that never looked likely as Armagh held firm.

Ciaran McKeever received a black card as the clock wound down but all Tyrone could muster were a couple of poor wides from Stephen O’Neill and Martin Penrose.

Tyrone dumped out of the championship, Armagh deservedly progress.