Football League Division Three: Armagh face Tipperary battle for promotion

Armagh forward Jamie Clarke and Antrim's Conor Hamill take a tumble at the Athletic Grounds
Armagh forward Jamie Clarke and Antrim's Conor Hamill take a tumble at the Athletic Grounds

Armagh will battle with Tipperary for a Football League Division Three promotion spot next Sunday after the Premier County lost to Louth on Sunday.

Louth beat last year's All-Ireland semi-finalists 0-16 to 0-12 in Thurles to go top on 10 points.

Following their 1-12 to 0-13 win over Antrim on Saturday, Armagh have nine points while Tipperary are on eight.

Ciaran McKeever hit Armagh's goal while Antrim had a CJ McGourty penalty saved as they stay in relegation trouble.

Antrim will go into the final weekend of round robin games third from bottom but almost certainly needing a home victory over Longford to survive.

McKeever netted as a close first half ended 1-3 to 0-6 before five points without reply saw Armagh surge clear.

Antrim closed the gap to three points when McGourty's penalty was superbly saved by Armagh keeper Blaine Hughes.

Saffrons pair Conor Murray and Stephen Beatty were red-carded late on along with Armagh's Stephen Sheridan.

McKeever's goal was the highlight of a low-key first half between the Ulster rivals, with the centre half-forward palming in to finish a fine Orchard move.

That gave Armagh a one-point lead after two CJ McGourty frees helped Antrim into an early advantage.

Wasteful hosts

McKeever slotted over the final score of the half to level but Armagh were guilty of wayward finishing, registering 11 wides in the opening 35 minutes.

The side exchanged points on the restart and it was all-square before Armagh took charge.

Unanswered points from Charlie Vernon (2), Aidan Forker, Jamie Clarke and Anto Duffy gave the hosts a five-point cushion.

But Antrim showed resilience by hitting the next two points and then being awarded a penalty after a foul on Conor Murray.

Armagh midfielder Stephen Sheridan sees his shot blocked by Saffrons forward Conor Murray
Armagh midfielder Stephen Sheridan sees his shot blocked by Saffrons forward Conor Murray

McGourty stepped up and his strike was kept out by an excellent save from Hughes in a decisive moment in the game.

An unsavoury finale saw Murray, Sheridan and Beatty shown straight red cards for violent conduct in separate incidents while Armagh substitute Aidan Forker and Antrim's Conor Hamill were black-carded.

Armagh secured a hard-fought win and they are a point clear of Louth and Tipperary although having played an additional game.

Tipp task for Armagh

Kieran McGeeney's team take on Tipperary in their final game as they chase promotion while Antrim are seventh to remain in relegation danger.

"We're delighted to get that victory and I'm happy to make any contribution," said Armagh defender Vernon, who scored two points.

"Antrim were very good tactically and they deserve credit - they caused us problems on the counter-attack.

"We now face a big game against Tipperary and it's a major challenge for us before the championship."

Allianz Football League results

Sunday

Division One

Cavan 1-10 0-13 Kerry

Tyrone 0-12 1-10 Mayo

Donegal 1-11 1-11 Monaghan

Division Two

Derry 2-10 0-20 Cork

Meath 3-15 0-6 Fermanagh

Down 1-13 3-15 Galway

Kildare 0-18 1-14 Clare

Division Three

Sligo 2-10 2-14 Offaly

Tipperary 0-12 0-16 Louth

Division Four

Leitrim 2-16 0-15 London

Wexford 0-9 3-24 Westmeath

Wicklow 0-10 1-18 Carlow

Saturday

Division One

Dublin 2-29 0-14 Roscommon

Division Three

Armagh 1-12 0-13 Antrim

Laois 1-13 0-13 Longford

Division Four

Waterford 0-8 0-14 Limerick

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