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Danny Murphy hails Ulster magic

By John Campbell

Ulster Council secretary Danny Murphy believes that the Ulster senior football championship can reach an even higher level than it did last weekend.

Armagh's win over Down was not only the end product of a thrilling contest that embodied all the inherent skills of gaelic football but served to highlight an almost unprecedented level of sportsmanship.

In a contest laden with thunderous hits, fiery close exchanges and several feisty individual battles the thin line dividing physicality and thuggery was never breached.

In fact, Meath referee Cormac Reilly issued only two yellow cards - an almost incredible statistic given the intensity and passion that marks championship clashes.

Murphy said: "Armagh and Down showed gaelic football in the best possible light - it was a glowing advertisement for the sport. When you consider the conditions and the pressure that both teams were under this was a game to savour.

"This was the best match of the overall championship series to date and showed just what players are capable of delivering."

While Armagh have already commenced their preparations for a semi-final meeting with Derry, Down are re-grouping for the All-Ireland qualifiers with Murphy insisting that whatever the outcome of the Ulster Championship the province could yet have a healthy representation in the race for the Sam Maguire Cup.

"While Tyrone have the carrot of landing three Ulster titles on the trot in front of them, Monaghan are the first team to get the chance to deprive them of this," said Murphy.

On Sunday week, Cavan will host Donegal prior to Derry, conquerors of Fermanagh, and Armagh locking horns the following Sunday. The second semi-final between the winners of Tyrone and Monaghan and Cavan and Donegal will take place on June 26 with the provincial decider scheduled for July 17.

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