Armagh 0-16 Tipperary 3-8: Quinlivan's hat-trick nets Armagh gloom
Armagh's pride took an unmerciful pounding at the Athletic Grounds yesterday when relatively unfancied Tipperary, their prospects of Division Two football next year having to all intents and purposes been savagely damaged by their loss to Louth last weekend, somehow managed to contrive an unlikely win that has transported them to sporting utopia.
A stunning second half three-goal blitz from full-forward Michael Quinlivan proved the Munster side's passage into the higher tier and consigned their hosts to another term - at least - in Division Three.
Orchard County boss Kieran McGeeney was understandably shell-shocked at the finish as he took stock of the unexpected result.
"We had goal chances ourselves and did not take them. We maybe took the wrong options at times. This came back to bite us in the end," he said, "We're not allowed to comment on managers so I will say nothing more than that."
In rippling the Armagh net in the 37th and 46th minutes and, most tellingly of all, in the fifth minute of added time Quinlivan provided a twist to the narrative that would not have been thought possible.
The visitors were held scoreless for 24 minutes in the first-half as Armagh cruised into a 0-7 to 0-4 lead but scarcely had the second half got under way than Quinlivan had the ball in the home net.
Yet even when he struck his second goal in the 46th minute there was no sense of panic in the orchard ranks as they landed points through the impressive Andrew Murnin, Oisin O'Neill and Jamie Clarke that appeared to have eased them to safety at 0-15 to 2-5.
But Quinlivan was to have the last say - and what a say! In the fifth minute of added time with substitutes Liam Boland and Alan Moloney having triggered palpitations within the ranks of the home followers by potting points, Quinlivan fastened onto a pass from Liam Casey and in front of thousands of disbelieving eyes drilled the ball to the corner of the Armagh net.
Referee Rory Hickey, the butt of much criticism from Armagh followers following several debatable calls, sounded the final whistle - and that was that.
Tipperary: M Quinlivan 3-1, C Sweeney 0-2 (1f), K O'Halloran 0-2 (2f), R Kiely, L Boland, A Moloney 0-1 each.
Armagh: A Murnin 0-3, R Grugan 0-3, J Clarke 0-3, N Grimley 0-2, O O'Neill 0-2 G McCabe, A Forker, S Campbell 0-1 each
Referee: Rory Hickey (Clare).