herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Armagh spoil McGeeney homecoming

Kieran McGeeney's return to his native Armagh was a fruitless one as his Kildare side were soundly beaten 0-13 to 0-5 in a poor Allianz National Football League Division 2 clash at Crossmaglen.

Steven McDonnell hit five points to set up a second successive victory over Leinster opposition, having beaten Laois the previous week.

Armagh opened strongly with a superb McDonnell point, and Stefan Forker had them two ahead by the ninth minute.

Defences were very much on top, with Brendan Donaghy and Andy Mallon in imperious form in the Orchard full-back line, while Damien Hendy and Hugh McGrillen broke up a series of attacks at the other end.

Lilywhite attacking ace John Doyle had a frustrating time against Finian Moriarty, and also missed a couple of scoreable frees, and it wasn't until the 25th minute that Kildare got their opening score, James Kavanagh splitting the posts from Ken Donnelly's crossfield pass.

Gary White levelled soon afterwards, but Armagh finished the half strongly, with Joe Feeney landing an excellent long range effort, McDonnell converting a free, wing back Paul Kernan drilling over a point and stoppage time scores from Forker and Aaron Kernan making it 0-6 to 0-2 at the break.

By the start of the second half, McGeeney had replaced half of his misfiring forward line and, with Dermot Earley emerging as a midfield force, they fared marginally better in the third quarter.

Daryl Flynn landed a fine point, and Doyle converted two 13-metre frees, but that was to be his lot.

The Lilies failed to score in the final 15 minutes, while Armagh, with corner back Paul Duffy excelling, re-established supremacy.

McDonnell landed a couple of superb points, one a gem from play wide on the right, another an acute angle free from the left sideline.

Sub Michael McNamee scored with his first touch, and Ronan Austin completed the job. Austin could have had a goal in stoppage time when released by McDonnell, but was denied by goalkeeper Paul Flood.

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