Armagh 0-12 Galway 1-12

Galway qualified for the third round of the football qualifiers with a 1-12 to 0-12 win over Armagh at the Athletic Grounds.

Paul Conroy’s four frees, along with two Damien Comer points, sent Galway in with a 0-09 to 0-07 interval lead.

Comer punched home a 42nd-minute goal and Galway went seven clear.

Armagh narrowed the gap to three through Tony Kernan, but the Tribesmen held out for a place in Monday’s draw.

Two Conroy efforts from placed balls eased the Tribesmen into an early lead, despite the barricades laid down before them in the form of a packed Orchard defence.

The home side struck on the breakaway for Ethan Rafferty to land a long range score, but they too were forced to recycle possession when faced by walls of maroon shirts as Galway funnelled extra men back.

But they did take the lead through corner back James Morgan, again from distance, before the westerners stepped up the offensive threat, with Michael Lundy forcing a smart save from goalkeeper Matthew McNeice.

Conory had the sides level by the 13th minute, and their first point from play, from wing-back Liam Silke, gave Galway a 0-4 to 0-3 lead in the 17th minute.

The dying art of high fielding was revived by Armagh midfielder Aaron Findon and Galway’s Fiontan O Curraoin, and it was Findon’s spectacular fetch that presented Jamie Clarke his first real opportunity of the afternoon.

The Crossmaglen man had been closely watched by Cathal Sweeney, but he delighted the home crowd with a wonderful point from wide on the left.

However it was the Connacht men who had the greater powers of penetration, and when Damien Comer burst through to split the posts, they led by 0-06 to 0-04.

Comer’s power and tenacity in possession saw him plunder another score, while a superb long range effort, followed by Conroy’s fourth free, sent the Tribesmen in with a 0-09 to 0-07 interval lead.

A soft free gave Sice the opportunity to stretch the advantage, and in the 42nd minute, Conroy sent in a free which dropped short, and Comer rose in a crowded goalmouth to punch to the net.

By that stage the Westerners were totally dominant, going seven points clear through live-wire substitute Danny Cummins and another Sice free.

And they maintained their discipline at the back, holding Armagh scoreless until the 16th minute of the half, when substitute Mark Shields landed a point.

Clarke, still unable to showcase his talents due to the close attentions of Sweeney, had a penalty claim turned down by referee David Gough, and an injection of fresh legs off the bench failed to spark the Orchard challenge.

Gareth Bradshaw and Finian Hanley defended with discipline as the Ulster men, five points behind going into the final ten minutes, searched for that flash of inspiration that would save their season.

Two Aidan Former points edged them closer, before Tony Kernan narrowed the gap to a goal, but Galway defended with determination, at the cost of black card dismissals for Sice and Sweeney, and they held out to progress.

Armagh: M McNeice, A Mallon, C Vernon, J Morgan (0-01), M Murray, B Donaghy, S Connell, A Findon, E Rafferty (0-03, 2f), S Campbell, A Forker (0-02, 1f), C Rafferty, M McKenna (0-02), A Murnin (0-01), J Clarke (0-01).

Subs: D McKenna for E Rafferty, M Shields (0-01) for Connell, T Kernan (0-01) for M McKenna, S Harold for Findon

Galway: B O’Donoghue, J Duane, F Hanley, C Sweeney, L Silke (0-01), G O’Donnell, G Bradshaw, F O Curraoin, T Flynn, G Sice (0-03, 2f), P Conroy (0-04, 4f), S Denvir, P Og O Griofa (0-01), D Comer (1-02), M Lundy.

Subs: D Cummins (0-01) for Denvir, A Varley for O Griofa, P Sweeney for Sice (BC), P Varley for C Sweeney (BC)

Referee: D Gough (Meath).