Clare’s hopes of promotion suffered a massive blow as they fell down to the men of Armagh with six points being the gap between the sides at full-time.
The Orchard County dominated the initial thirty five minutes with crucial goals from Ethan Rafferty and Tony Kernan swinging momentum in favour of the visitors. Clare only managed to hit four scores in the first half via Shane and Gary Brennan plus two from Jamie Malone fresh from an impressive display for the Clare U21’s midweek. A Caolan Rafferty point just before the break had Armagh in front 2-08 to 0-04 at the break.
A revamped and renewed Clare took to the field in the second half showing greater workrate and hunger. This increased when Pat Burke hit the Armagh net with six minutes played. Things seemed to be looking very good for the Banner when the visitors were reduced to fourteen as Michael Murray was given a second yellow for a high tackle.
Tony Kernan sealed the win for Kieran McGeeney’s men with five minutes remaining as the Clare defence were totally outnumbered by their Armagh counterparts.
Next up for Armagh as they continue their promotion fight is a home fixture with Louth. Overall they were the better side on the day and their key players included Tony Kernan and Aaron Findon.
Colm Collins will be disappointed with the first half performance of his side but he will take great pride with the second half effort. Martin McMahon, Gary Brennan and Jamie Malone were very influential for the Banner.
Paddy Morrison (Armagh Harps)
Mark McConville (Armagh Harps)
Charlie Vernon (Armagh Harps)
Michael Murray (Cullyhanna)
Andy Mallon (Pearse Óg) (0-01)
Finnian Moriarity (Wolfe Tone)
Mark Shields (Whitecross)
Peter Carragher (Silverbridge)
Aaron Findon (St Peter’s)
Caolan Rafferty (Grange) (0-01)
Michael McKenna (Grange) (0-02 1f)
Aidan Forker (Maghery) (0-02)
Tony Kernan (Crossmaglen Rangers) (2-01 1f)
Ethan Rafferty (Grange (1-00)
Eugene McVerry (Mullaghbawn) (0-01)
Andrew Murnin (St Paul’s) (0-01) for E Rafferty (26:30) (BC)
Ciaron O’Hanlon (St Paul’s) for Mallon (44:37) (BC)
Stephen Harold (Carrickcuppan) (0-01) for Carragher (44:53)
Jamie Clarke (Crossmaglen Rangers) (0-01 1f) for McKenna (59:42).
Brendan Donaghy (Clonmore) for McVerry (68:41).
Joe Hayes (Lissycasey)
Martin McMahon (Kilmurry/Ibrickane)
Kevin Hartnett (Meelick)
Dean Ryan (Éire Óg)
Ciarán Russell (Éire Óg)
Gordon Kelly (St Josephs Miltown)
Shane Hickey (Kilmurry/Ibrickane)
Cathal O’Connor (Coolmeen) (0-02 1f)
Gary Brennan (Clondegad) (0-02 2f)
Seán Collins (Cratloe) (0-01)
Jamie Malone (Corofin) (0-03)
Shane McGrath (Thomas Davis) (0-01)
Pádraic Collins (Cratloe)
Shane Brennan (Clondegad) (0-01)
Pat Burke (Kilmacud Crokes) (1-00).
Referee: Michael Collins (Cork).