Fog proves real winner as buoyant St Patrick's are halted in their stride
St Patrick's Armagh 1-7 Omagh CBS 0-4
The premature end to last night's MacRory Cup semi-final replay at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh left the home side stunned and their visitors totally relieved.
If the fog which enshrouded the ground at the start of the contest rendered conditions difficult, then by the interval they had become impossible.
And this left referee Sean Laverty with no option but to abandon the tie which has been re-arranged for tomorrow night at the same venue (7.30pm).
For Mark Harte's Armagh side this was the ultimate exercise in frustration. They did not so much hit the ground running as streak from the starting-blocks at lightning pace and by the end of the first quarter had built up a 1-4 to 0-1 lead - this, too, against a side that defeated them by an 11-point margin in the McCormack Cup final and had bossed Saturday's drawn MacRory Cup semi-final for the most part.
Tom Weir's goal and points from Ryan Bradley and Michael Conroy had swept St Patrick's into the driving seat even though Daniel Fullerton had opened the scoring for the visitors.
It was to get even better for St Patrick's, too. Bradley and Conroy were again on target with Dillon Horsfield also contributing a point as their side careered into a seemingly unassailable 1-6 to 0-1 lead. Even the loss of the influential Michael McGleenan to a black card failed to disrupt the St Patrick's rhythm although to their credit Omagh CBS staged a rally of sorts in the lead-up to the end of the opening 30 minutes.
But at 1-7 to 0-4 it was as good as it got for St Patrick's as referee Laverty was left with no option but to abandon the game at that juncture.
Omagh coach Kieran Donnelly said: "We have been training the side since the start of September and not to be able to see your players with five minutes gone really left the referee with no choice but to call an end to proceedings."
Armagh assistant coach Sean O'Kane was nothing if not disarmingly honest. "We got off to a great start but to be honest we could not see it from the touchline," said O'Kane."To be fair, it probably wasn't quite the right decision to keep the game going until half-time but you just have to go with the hand you are dealt, haven't you?"
St Patrick's, Armagh: J Gibney; O Conaty, O McKeagney, A Harney; S Quigley, C Toner, N Boyle; M McGleenan, O Hughes; D Horsfield 0-1, M Conroy 0-3 (2f), T Weir 1-0; R Bradley 0-2, J Kieran 0-1, L Coulter. Sub: R McDonald for McGleenan (9).
Omagh CBS: O Grimes; R Hollywood, A Fox, T Donaghy; C McBride, A Montgomery, E Montgomery; L McBride, R Kennedy; S Garrity 0-1, L Gray 0-2 (2f), S McDonagh; D Fullerton 0-1, M Hayes, A McConnell.
Referee: Sean Laverty (Antrim).