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Armagh's victory over Clare keeps promotion hopes alive


Kieran McGeeney

Kieran McGeeney

?INPHO/Donall Farmer

Kieran McGeeney

A 13-man Armagh scraped past a dogged Clare to keep their Division Three promotion bid alive.

The Orchard side looked comfortable at the break having led 2-08 to 0-4 but Clare battled back and kicked 1-05 before Kieran McGeeney's men eventually registered a second-half score.

Armagh started without captain Ciaran McKeever and Jamie Clarke although the Crossmaglen talisman was introduced in the latter stages of the game.

Clare set the tone with two early points but Armagh found their stride with Ethan Rafferty's seventh-minute goal. Eugene McVerry, Aidan Forker and Tony Kernan extended Armagh's lead before the latter got his second.

Jamie Malone cut into Armagh's lead with a brace of points but Michael McKenna, Andrew Murnin, who replaced the black-carded Ethan Rafferty, and Caolan Rafferty weighed in.

Cathal O'Connor kickstarted the Claire fightback with a point. Despite the warning, Armagh failed to deal with high balls and with 40 minutes gone Pat Burke rattled Armagh's net. And with Sean Collins tagging on a point, Clare trailed 1-8 to 2-8.

Armagh's woes continued when Micky Murray received his second yellow. But Clarke steadied the ship with two converted frees and Stephen Harold also kicked over.

Kernan struck Armagh's third goal but even with Finnian Moriarty's black card reducing them to 13 men, they held on for the win.

Belfast Telegraph