herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Orchard grow after Rebel red

THE controversial dismissal of Cork's Paul Kerrigan sparked a spirited Armagh comeback that ended with a 0-10 to 1-7 stalemate yesterday.

Referee Syl Doyle, who had a moderate match, ended up booking 10 players, six from Armagh, and four from Cork.

Kerrigan, who had looked a threat for Cork, received a straight red after 31 minutes for an altercation with Armagh's Finian Moriarty. Cork manager Conor Counihan didn't feel it warranted red, and Armagh boss Paddy O'Rourke had some sympathy for the player. "A booking would have done him, but it happens," said O'Rourke.

Armagh went into half-time with only a single point on the board, which came from a 26th-minute free by Paul Carvill. Cork had 1-3, but the goal came from unfortunate Armagh midfielder John Kingman in the 21st minute.

Cork kicked three points but struggled against Armagh's stifling defensive screen.

Armagh came out with a positive attitude in the second half and it paid dividends, but strong displays from Rebel stalwarts Graham Canty, Michael Shields and Paudie Kissane saw them earn a share of the spoils.

Mayo's promising start to the season continued as they saw off the challenge of Laois at O'Moore Park on Saturday.

In a clash which failed to produce much in the way of excitement, Mayo were more clinical in front of goal and ran out deserving winners on a scoreline of 1-11 to 0-8.

Laois had enough of the ball to be ahead at the break, but instead found themselves a point in arrears, and the writing was on the wall from then.

Afterwards, Justin McNulty called for an immediate improvement. "The team didn't do themselves justice in terms of the performance."

DOWN made the perfect start to their league campaign by grounding out a 1-10 to 1-9 victory over Donegal.

Donegal should have got at least a draw from an entertaining clash at Pairc Esler. Substitute Dermot Molloy had a chance to level the game with a free from 40 metres in the fourth minute of stoppage time, but he was off target.

It was rough justice on a Donegal side who have not changed their style.

But, while they again kept plenty of men behind the ball, they broke with pace and exploited the open spaces during a cracking contest.

After the game, manager Jim McGuinness said he believed his side would benefit a lot from playing in the top flight this season.

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