Tyrone finished the game with just 11 players following an astonishing five-fold dismissal at the Athletic Grounds, where a late flare-up marred a convincing derby win for Armagh in the Allianz Football League.

Michael McKernan, Padraig Hampsey, Peter Harte and Kieran McGeary, along with Armagh's Greg McCabe, were sent off after a flare-up in stoppage time, all straight red cards flashed by referee David Gough in a sensational finale to a tense battle of Ulster neighbours.

Another fine Orchard performance was somewhat overshadowed by the late drama that played out in front of a sell-out crowd of 14,328.

They dominated the All-Ireland champions during a slick first half which saw them go 11 points ahead, and while the Red Hands pegged them back to four points late on, it never looked like they would turn the game around.

Armagh got off to a flier with Greg McCabe’s goal after just five minutes, rifled past Niall Morgan from Rian O’Neill’s delightful lofted pass.

They could have had a couple more goals, as Stephen Sheridan drove through three tackles to fire in a shot that Morgan did well to keep out.

Padraig Hampsey of Tyrone is tackled by Rian O'Neill

And the Tyrone 'keeper had to be on his toes to finger-tip Ciaran Mackin’s sizzling shot over the bar.

The Orchard were in complete control, playing this game very much on their own terms, moving with method, assurance and a shared trust.

Tyrone, in contrast, were a shadow of the team that swept to Sam Maguire Cup triumph last September, hesitant, unambitious and lacking in ideas.

They managed just two points in the opening quarter, from Darragh Canavan and corner-back Michael McKernan, and even a massed defence couldn’t hinder the clever Orchard movement that led to scores from Rian O’Neill, Rory Grugan, Aidan Nugent and Tiernan Kelly.

O’Neill’s quite magnificent effort made it 1-08 to 0-03, and just when it looked as if it couldn’t get much worse for the Red Hands they conceded a second goal in stoppage time.

Kelly made the ground, feeding Jason Duffy, who stepped around Morgan to plant the ball in the net from close range.

A commanding 2-08 to 0-04 interval lead was no more than Kieran McGeeney’s side deserved, and they pushed the lead out to eleven points through Jemar Hall before Tyrone

But Tyrone gambled with a high press on the Armagh kick-out, and it paid off as they began to unsettle a defence that had previously looked assured.

Niall Sludden and Kieran McGeary slotted over points, and as the Orchard coughed up a string of frees, Cathal McShane struck unerringly from the dead balls, converting seven in the second half alone.

Now Armagh were restricted to breakaway attacks, with O’Neill and Aaron McKay raising white flags, but they went 17 minutes without a score, before Jarlath Óg Burns drove through to split the posts.

In the meantime, McShane had chipped away at the deficit, and his seventh conversion trimmed it back to four with three minutes of normal time to play.

Then the eruption that marred what had been an honest if robust sporting contest. Large numbers from both sides became involved at the Drumarg Terrace end line, and when order was restored, there gasps of astonishment from the crowd as five players saw red.

Armagh: B Hughes; S Sheridan, A McKay (0-01), A Forker; Connaire Mackin, N Rowland, J Og Burns (0-01); Ciaran, Mackin, T Kelly (0-1); J Hall (0-01), R Grugan (0-02, 2f), G McCabe (1-00); A Nugent (0-01), R O’Neill (0-04, 2f), J Duffy (1-01).

Subs: S Campbell (0-01) for Kelly (h-t), M Shields for Connaire Mackin (44), N Grimley for Sheridan (blood 50 – 62)), Ciaron O’Hanlon for Duffy (62), J Morgan for Rowland (68)

Tyrone: N Morgan; M McKernan (0-01), P Hampsey (0-01), L Rafferty; C Meyler, F Burns, P Harte; M Donnelly, B Kennedy; K McGeary (0-01), N Sludden (0-01), D Canavan (0-01); D McCurry (0-01, f), C McShane (0-07, 7f), N Donnelly (0-01).

Subs: C Shields for Rafferty (h-t), J Munroe for M Donnelly (h-t), P Donaghy for McCurry (45), C McKenna for N Donnelly (52), B McDonnell for Sludden (75)

Referee: D Gough (Meath)