Penalties: Galway 4-1 Armagh
A truly remarkable All-Ireland SFC quarter-final ended with a little piece of history being made as Galway made it through to the championship's last four after a penalty shoot-out.
Successful conversions from Shane Walsh, Damien Comer, Rob Finnerty and Matthew Tierney, compared to Armagh's solitary conversion by Rian O'Neill, did the trick for the Tribesmen who are through to a 9 July clash with Derry.
The penalty shoot-out, the first time a SFC game has been decided in that manner at Croke Park, was just one of many talking points from a truly memorable encounter.
Armagh initially came from six points down in stoppage time of normal time with goals from Aidan Nugent and Conor Turbitt, and then an O'Neill equaliser, to force extra-time.
Another Armagh goal, from Rory Grugan, was then cancelled out by Galway's Cillian McDaid who also kicked what would eventually be the point that sent the game to penalties.
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Throw in a melee at the end of normal time which resulted in straight red cards for Armagh's Aiden Nugent and Galway captain Sean Kelly - Greg McCabe was also sent off in normal time for Armagh - and you get a feeling for just how this epic encounter unfolded.
The tactical battles throughout were fascinating. Armagh chose to largely keep Nugent and O'Neill close to goal in a two man full-forward line. Former Galway U-20 star Jack Glynn picked up Nugent and captain Kelly tracked O'Neill.
Jason Duffy, wearing number 15, dropped out to play a deeper role while Stefan Campbell, nominally a half-forward, spent much of his time shoring up the Armagh midfield.
Walsh, fresh from tormenting Roscommon and shooting 1-06 in the Connacht final, had Crossmaglen's James Morgan for company all afternoon while powerhouse Galway full-forward Comer was marked by Aidan Forker.
Armagh will probably look back on the opening half and wonder how exactly they only broke even at 0-07 apiece.
They led 0-04 to 0-01 after the opening quarter and were still three points to the good approaching the half hour mark, 0-07 to 0-04.
Galway anticipated that the Orchard would try to punish them with long, early deliveries into the danger area but knowing what was coming and being able to prevent it from happening are two different things entirely.
Galway were helpless, for example, when Nugent seized possession from a long kick pass up through the centre in the seventh minute and laid off to O'Neill to snipe Armagh's opening point.
O'Neill was the provider with a 25-metre kick pass for Rory Grugan's first point in the 11th minute, moving Armagh 0-03 to 0-01 ahead.
Armagh's next score summed up what they are all about, goalkeeper Ethan Raffery driving a long, low kick-out straight up the centre to set Armagh on the attack. Two passes later, they had the ball over the bar and Nugent was wheeling away in satisfaction.
A Jarlath Og Burns score came from a similar strategy, Conor O'Neill this time booting long to O'Neill who fed the marauding half-back.
Galway were living off scraps at the other end and stayed just about in the game with points from Comer, Matthew Tierney, McDaid and Rob Finnerty.
But as they got to grips with Armagh and began to cut out the long deliveries, they started to impose themselves on the game.
Walsh and Dylan McHugh both won frees following fouls by Morgan which Walsh converted and when Tierney added another score just before the break, the sides were back on level terms.
It flattered Galway a little as they were largely restricted to shots from distance though with Comer and Walsh they possessed a clear and present danger at all times. Galway twice tested the waters with long, diagonal balls towards Comer. Neither paid off though Comer did fist just wide with the first opportunity, ensuring Armagh were always alive to the threat.
The second-half, for the most part, was all about Galway and their ability to get on top of Armagh and put themselves into a winning position.
Johnny Heaney's 41st minute goal put the 2001 All-Ireland champions 1-08 to 0-08 ahead and a Walsh point shortly after opened up a significant four-point lead.
Armagh, more ragged now, found themselves under real pressure and with centre-back McCabe shown a straight red card for a huge hit on Matthew Tierney, Galway were able to open up a six-point lead.
It remained that way in the 72nd minute but when referee Coldrick announced eight minutes of additional time, opportunity knocked for Armagh.
Rian O'Neill keeps Armagh hopes alive with an 79th minute equaliser to force extra-time against Galway. An incredible fightback.— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) June 26, 2022
Violent scenes then erupt as the full-time whistle goes, including an apparent eye gouge, as the teams head for the tunnel. pic.twitter.com/KO6qbjHdRC
They took full advantage with goals from Nugent and substitute Turbitt making it a one-point game before Campbell won a free way out on the left wing and split the posts to send the game to extra-time at 1-17 to 2-14.
The drama continued with a goal for either side and ultimately the penalties. Truly historic stuff.
Galway: Conor Gleeson; Liam Silke, Sean Kelly, Jack Glynn; Dylan McHugh, John Daly, Kieran Molloy (0-01); Paul Conroy (0-01), Cillian McDaid (1-02); Patrick Kelly (0-01), Matthew Tierney (0-02), Johnny Heaney (1-00); Robert Finnerty (0-04), Damien Comer (0-03), Shane Walsh (0-06, 0-05f).
Subs: Finnian O Laoi (0-01) for McDaid 49-54 blood, O Laoi for Tierney 62-69 blood, O Laoi for Patrick Kelly 69, Niall Daly for Finnerty 74, Owen Gallagher for Walsh 79. Walsh for Gallagher e/t, Finnerty for Daly e/t, Billy Mannion for Sean Kelly e/t, Gallagher for Heaney 83, James Foley for Silke 84.
Armagh: Ethan Rafferty; James Morgan, Aidan Forker, Aaron McKay; Stephen Sheridan, Greg McCabe, Jarlath Og Burns (0-01); Ben Crealey, Stefan Campbell (0-03); Conor O'Neill (0-01), Andrew Murnin, Jason Duffy; Aidan Nugent (1-02, 0-01m), Rian O'Neill (0-04, 0-03f), Rory Grugan (1-03, 0-02f).
Subs: Connaire Mackin for Sheridan 43, Conor Turbitt (1-01) for Murnin 43, Ciaran Mackin for McKay 55, Eoin Woods (0-01) for Duffy 68, Justin Kieran (0-01) for Burns 68. Niall Rowland for McCabe (red card) e/t, Burns for Nugent (red card) e/t, Mark Shields for Forker 75, Jemar Hall (0-01) for Grugan 83, Duffy for Crealey 85, Ciaran Higgins for McKay 90.
Referee: David Coldrick (Meath).