/ GAA

Armagh 0-21 Galway 1-12

Updated: Sunday, 07 Apr 2013 20:33 | Comments

Armagh's Finnian Moriarty and Stephen Harold helped their side retain Division 2 status
Armagh's Finnian Moriarty and Stephen Harold helped their side retain Division 2 status

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Armagh avoided relegation to Division 3 of the Allianz League as a stern display saw them dispose of Galway 0-21 to 1-12 at the Athletic Grounds.

Kevin Dyas starred for the Orchard men with 0-05 from play and Stephen Harold caught the eye at midfield, notching 0-03.

Galway's goal came from Conor Doherty in the first half and although the visitors got back level in the second period, it was not enough to rattle Paul Grimley's side.

The Ulster outfit got off to a perfect start, quickly going 0-05 to 0-00 in front thanks to great build-up points from Dyas, Tony Kernan and Harold and two points from the magnificent Aaron Kernan.

Armagh should have been much further ahead as their wides count was growing, with complacency creeping in following their early dominance. At this point they had fired six wides.

Aaron Kernan, who captained the hosts in the absence of the suspended Ciaran McKeever, was guilty of poor shooting on more than one occasion.

But the Crossmaglen ace continued to cause havoc as Galway simply could not handle his runs from defence, as he set up another score for Dyas.

The pressure showed as Galway struggled initially, but eventually they began to compose themselves and win more ball following their alarming start.

On 15 minutes Gary O'Donnell played a fine ball through for Sean Armstrong who was upended by Mark Shields, and the Tribesmen had their first scoring chance.

Galway finally got off the mark thanks to Michael Meehan's free and a second score from Armstrong, but Armagh hit back with points from Aaron Kernan and Harold before Galway got a goal out of the blue from Conor Doherty.

Forker and Aaron Kernan kept Armagh's cushion intact leading 0-10 to 1-03. However, in the second half, Galway managed to draw level as Armstrong and Meehan kicked 0-02 each to stun the hosts.

But at this point Galway's challenge faltered and the Orchard County clocked up 0-05 without reply thanks to Aaron Kernan, and 0-02 each from Stefan Forker and the magnificent Dyas.

Gareth Bradshaw was one of Galway's best players on the day and after raising a white flag following another good run, he was bizarrely substituted almost immediately.

Danny Cummins came off the Galway bench to clock up 0-03, but Armagh still made use of the space offered to them at the other end with Dyas, Forker and Aaron Kernan giving them a comfortable 0-18 to 1-11 lead in the closing stages.

Armagh rarely threatened the westerners' goal, but they almost found the net three minutes from time when Caolan Rafferty, who had been quiet, was released - his shot, though, was too high and flashed over the crossbar.

Late on, substitutes Sean Clarke and Brian Mallon got in on the act with fine scores as Galway did not work hard enough to really trouble the hosts. Laois' win over Wexford duly kept Armagh safe in Division 2.

For both sides now all eyes are on 19 May when they open their Championship campaigns - Armagh face Cavan and Galway host old rivals Mayo.

ARMAGH P McEvoy; P McKeown, B Donaghy, M Shields; A Kernan (0-05, 0-02f), K Toner, F Moriarty; J Lavery, S Harold (0-03); C Rafferty (0-01), C Vernon, K Dyas (0-05); G McParland, T Kernan (0-01), S Forker (0-04, 0-02f).

Subs used D McKenna for Shields (14 mins), S Clarke (0-01) for McPartland (40), B Mallon (0-01) for T Kernan, J Donnelly for Donaghy (both 61), J Kingham for Harold (70).

GALWAY M Breathnach; J Duane, F Hanley, C Forde; G Bradshaw (0-01), K Kelly, G Sice; G O’Donnell, A Griffin; E Concannon, P Conroy, C Doherty (1-00); S Armstrong (0-04, 0-02f), M Meehan (0-04, 0-03f), M Hehir.

Subs used G Higgins for Griffin, D Cummins (0-03) for Hehir (both half-time), G Sweeney for Sice (48), M Martin for Concannon (53), S Denvir for Bradshaw (64).

Referee Martin Higgins (Fermanagh).

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