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McGeeney's men pay the penalty as their season comes to end

Armagh 1-19 Roscommon 2-22

Forward thinking: Jemar Hall launches an Armagh attack
Forward thinking: Jemar Hall launches an Armagh attack

By Niall McCoy

Armagh contributed to one of the championship games of the season in O'Moore Park on Saturday afternoon but it ultimately counted for nothing as their season came to an end following a 2-22 to 1-19 round three qualifier loss to Roscommon.

Kieran McGeeney's side battled gamely throughout but they were left to rue a missed Rory Grugan penalty in the second half as the Connacht finalists advanced to the inaugural Super 8s.

The first half bordered on classic territory with the two teams going hell for leather in search of scores.

The opening one was nearly a goal as Cathal Cregg tried to take advantage of Gregory McCabe's slip, but the Shane O'Neill's man recovered to shut out the Roscommon attacker with more than a hint of a foot block infraction.

The Rossies did open the scoring with a Diarmuid Murtagh free-kick in the third minute before the impressive Aidan Forker responded at the other end.

Ciaran Murtagh restored Roscommon's lead before the orchard county hit three points on the trot through Jemar Hall, the brilliant Andrew Murnin and Stephen Sheridan.

Ciaran Murtagh struck back before Murnin pointed after an incredible catch while Donie Smith blasted over when the goal was on at the other end.

Ciaran Murtagh equalised in the 15th minute but again Armagh went on a three-point scoring run, Rory Grugan, Murnin and Grugan again - from a free - the contributors this time to put Armagh 0-8 to 0-5 ahead after 20 minutes.

Ciaran Murtagh and Niall Grimley swapped scores to maintain that three-point gap, but it was Kevin McStay's side that dominated the final minutes of the half to take an important advantage into the changing room.

Enda Smith slammed home a goal while they also had points from Diarmuid Murtagh (2), Cathal Cregg, Ciaran Murtagh while Smith also raised a white flag. Grugan, Murnin and Charlie Vernon responded for the Ulster men to leave it 1-11 to 0-12 in Roscommon's favour at the interval.

While the pace inevitably dipped in the second half, it didn't drop by too much as Armagh tried to fight their way back into it.

Grugan got them off to a good start but points from Cregg (2), Ciaran Murtagh moved Roscommon further ahead.

Armagh were given a route back into the game when Grugan's goalbound effort was blocked down with a foot, but the Ballymacnab man saw his penalty brilliantly saved by Colm Lavin.

Donal Smith stretched Roscommon's lead to five before Mark Shields blasted to the net for Armagh to leave it 1-15 to 1-13.

Diarmuid Murtagh and Donal Smith responded with points for Roscommon but two Niall Grimley frees - either side of a Diarmuid Murtagh free - and a fine Gavin McParland effort brought the deficit back to one point with three minutes remaining.

A spot in the last eight was up for grabs and it was Roscommon who seized the initiative with Diarmuid Murtagh (2), Cathal Compton and Fintan Cregg pointing before Enda Smith blasted to the net to seal the deal.

Grimley and Ryan McShane had late scores for Armagh, but it wasn't enough.

Armagh scorers: Rory Grugan 0-5, 2f, Niall Grimley 0-5, 3f, 1 45, Andrew Murnin 0-4, Mark Shields 1-0, Aidan Forker 0-1, Jemar Hall 0-1,Ryan McShane 0-1, Stephen Sheridan 0-1, Gavin McParland 0-1.

Roscommon: Enda Smith 2-1, Diarmuid Murtagh 0-6, 5f, Ciaran Murtagh 0-6, 2f, Donal Smith 0-3, Cathal Cregg 0-3, Cathal Compton 0-1, Conor Devaney 0-1, Fintan Cregg 0-1.

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