Wing-back Aaron Kernan was the Armagh saviour as Mick O’Dwyer’s long managerial career took another twist in the Morgan Athletic Grounds last night.
O’Dwyer has indicated he will step down when Wicklow bow out of the championship — most presumed that would be after this game — but Wicklow seem determined to extend the 75-year-old’s career a bit further.
Twice they looked poised for a famous win only to be denied by a late point at the end of normal time and then again in extra-time.
Kernan, a son of former Armagh boss Joe, kicked three late points from wing-back, including an equaliser with the last kick of the game.
Seanie Furlong's second goal of the match looked to have sealed a famous win but Armagh rallied and Kernan saved their season with some top class shooting from distance.
Earlier, Armagh had forced extra-time with a last-gasp equaliser from sub Gavin McParland after Wicklow had recovered from a strong Armagh rally in the second-half.
Wicklow, backed by the wind, deservedly led by 0-9 to 0-4 at the interval in normal time and should have been further ahead.
James Stafford was inspirational in the middle of the field for Wicklow and skipper Leighton Glynn picked off three top class points.
Wicklow should have been out of sight by half-time but late points from Micheal O’Rourke and Malachy Mackin gave Armagh hope as they trailed by 0-9 to 0-4 at the break.
Those points before the interval lifted Armagh as they finally strung together a series of passes and provided the finish.
Glynn increased Wicklow’s lead four minutes after the restart but then Armagh took control with Charlie Vernon coming into the game in midfield.
But it was the display of Jamie Clarke which hauled Armagh back into contention as the corner-forward hit five points from play in the second-half. Armagh scored eight points without reply with Clarke levelling after 58 minutes before Mackin edged them in front for the first time with eight minutes remaining.
However, Seanie Furlong burst through for a Wicklow goal three minutes from time. It looked as though that might be enough, only for Gavin McParland to force extra-time with a superb point from the right moments after he was introduced.
Armagh outscored Wicklow by 0-3 to 0-2 in the first period of extra-time despite playing against the wind. But there was still a final kick in Wicklow and Furlong bundled home his second goal to put them one point in front with four minutes left.
Armagh kept pressing, and Kernan showed great composure to shoot the equaliser in the dying seconds to force a replay.
Armagh: P Hearty; A Mallon, B Donaghy, P Duffy; A Kernan (0-3), C McKeever, F Moriarty; J Lavery, C Vernon (0-1); M Mackin (0-3), B Mallon, K Dyas; J Clarke (0-5), S McDonnell (0-4, 1f, 1’45), M O’Rourke (0-1).
Subs: D McKenna for Duffy, 36; J Hanratty (0-1)for Dyas, 41; T Kernan for B Mallon, 44; J Murtagh for O’Rourke, 53; G McParland (0-1) for Murtagh, 71; P Duffy for McKeever, 84; K Dyas for Moriarty, 90.
Wicklow: J Flynn; C Nyland, A Byrne, S Kelly; A McLoughlin, B McGrath, D Hayden; J Stafford, (0-1) R Finn; N Mernagh (0-1), T Hannon (0-3, 1f, 1’45), JP Dalton; P Earls, S Furlong (2-4, 3fs), L Glynn (0-4).
Subs: C McGraynor for Mernagh, 45; A O’Malley for Dalton, 52; D Siney for Hannon, 65; P Dalton for Hyland, 70; JP Dalton for Earls, 80; P Higgins for McGrath, 88.
Referee: P Fox (Westmeath).