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Armagh's fringe players fail to impress

Sligo 1-19 - Armagh 1-08

By Sean Murray

Armagh go into the Division Three Final against Fermanagh with much work to do following this disappointing defeat at Markievicz Park.

The result confirmed Sligo's divisional status but will give Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney plenty to think about in terms of the strength of his squad.

Having trailed Sligo 0-12 to 0-4 at the break any chance of a comeback was dashed 40 seconds after the restart when David Kelly rattled Armagh's net.

The Orchard County replied with a goal on 50 minutes from Andrew Murnin following a great move between substitute Mark Shields and Stephen Harold but it failed to summon a resurgence.

With promotion to Division Two secure, McGeeney used the game to give several fringe players some much-needed game-time and try out new formations.

Eion McArdle and Paul McKenna made their National League debuts and Stephen Harold and Pete Carragher built a midfield partnership for the first time this season.

With seven changes from the team that started against Louth it was the players on the bench whose places in the Division Three final at Croke Park were safest as Sligo led 0-12 to 0-04 at the break.

The Yeats County played a direct style of football, whereas Armagh mastered much of their own downfall with misplaced passes, poor kickouts and conceded frees.

Sligo's livewire, Adrain Marren, scored five of his side's first-half points while the midfield duo of Cian Breheny and Niall Murphy grabbed a point each.

Three of Armagh's first-half scores came from frees, with Eugene McVerry and Gavin McParland the only others on target.

Both sides missed chances for goals with Stephen Harold's shot blocked by Sligo defender Daniel Maye, which resulted in Pat Hughes bagging a point.

And only seconds before the half-time whistle the in-form Marren looked certain to rattle the net but Armagh keeper Paddy Morrison pulled off a great save to keep his side in the contest.

But Sligo's goal within the first minute of restart killed the game off and, even with the introduction of Tony Kernan and Kevin Dyas, the day belonged to the hosts.

Belfast Telegraph


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