herald

Friday 19 July 2019

McGeeney sees red over Mayo's use of 'dark arts'

Mayo 2-13  Armagh 1-15

NOT HAPPY: Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney makes his feelings known to ref Maurice Deegan at half-time. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
NOT HAPPY: Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney makes his feelings known to ref Maurice Deegan at half-time. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

CILLIAN O'Connor marked his return to intercounty football in Castlebar by kicking two routine frees which kept Mayo's All-Ireland dreams alive for least another week.

But by the end of a pulsating contest, the home side had two former Footballers of the Year on the bench - one injured and one substituted before half-time.

Meanwhile, a testy James Horan invited the local media to come to see the team training in order to find out for themselves that the squad's training methods were not contributing to their lengthening injury list.

Mayo simply don't do dull. Five points ahead with ten minutes remaining, they still contrived to turn this Round 3 qualifier into a nail-biting encounter with Armagh squandering a late chance of an equaliser when Niall Grimley ballooned a long distance effort wide.

Armagh boss Kieran McGeeney complained that the four minutes of injury time played wasn't nearly enough and he hinted that Mayo had engaged in what he termed the 'dark arts' to waste time in the second half.

"There were at least ten head injuries in that second half and nobody was taken off. It's very hard to take. We have played in games this year with six or seven minutes added with no head injuries.

"The boys really put a great shift in and you would think they would deserve something from it. That's sport, it's a cruel thing at times.

"Jamie (Clarke) was unlucky with the goal and so was Rory (Grugan). We have improved, but we probably don't have the same dark arts experience that other teams have and it just costs us at the end of games."

Already without first choice players, Diarmuid O'Connor, Matthew Ruane, Seamus O'Shea and Tom Parsons, Mayo picked up two more injuries.

Lee Keegan limped off in injury-time at the end of the first half after going over on his ankle while Jason Doherty was replaced in the 53rd minute after getting a knock on his ankle as well.

Though Andy Moran set up Fionn McDonagh for Mayo's first goal - which cancelled out Rian O'Neill's fifth minute major for the visitors - Moran was hauled off just before half time.

His replacement Kevin McLoughlin had a huge second half scoring 1-1 - for the goal he chipped the ball over the keeper -and was fouled for the two late frees which Cillian O'Connor converted.

Darren Coen was also outstanding up front for Mayo kicking 0-4 from play, though arguably the best individual performance of the night came from Armagh's Jamie Clarke. Three of his five points were from play. And but for an outstanding save from David Clarke with the help of the upright 15 minutes from the end the Crossmaglen man might have singled-handedly saved Armagh's season.

Having played with the breeze Mayo led 1-6 to 1-5 at half time but had kicked six wides.

They were 2-11 to 1-9 ahead in the 54th minute but failed to score from play again as Armagh outscored them 0-6 to 0-2 coming down the final straight.

"We were five up with ten to go and we should have closed it out a bit better. But we had to dig hard in the last couple of minutes. We did that very well I thought. Our full-back line and Colm Boyle in particular was under pressure but showed very well for kickouts and they give us the platform to finish out the game. Delighted with the win and we're in the pot (for the Round 4 draw," said Horan.

SCORERS - Mayo: F McDonagh, K McLoughlin 1-1 each. D Coen 0-4, C O'Connor (2f), C Loftus (2f), 0-2 each. P Durcan, J Doherty, D Vaughan 0-1 each. Armagh: J Clarke 0-5 (2f),R O'Neill 1-2 (2f), S Campbell 0-4, R Grugan 0-3, N Grimley 0-1

 

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