Armagh 0-18 1-20 Galway

Brendan Donaghy and Paul Conroy
Paul Conroy battles with Brendan Donaghy in Armagh

Armagh dropped into the relegation mix as they crashed to a surprise home defeat by Galway who earned their first points of the Allianz League campaign.

The Orchard men hit the opening four points but a mistake by keeper Philip McEvoy gifted Padraig Joyce a penalty which Cormac Bane netted.

With Joyce and Gary Sice superb, Galway moved 1-9 to 0-7 ahead by half-time.

Armagh cut Galway's lead to two but despite Steven McDonnell finishing on nine points, the visitors held on.

Playing against a Galway team that had suffered five straight defeats, Armagh produced an impressive start as McDonnell flashed an immediate goal chance over the bar and Malachy Mackin and Kevin Dyas also registered early scores.

But the match turned in the 11th minute as McEvoy fumbled possession which resulted in Joyce being fouled and Bane held his nerve to slot the penalty.

The rejuvenated Galway men hit five of the next six scores to move into a 1-6 to 0-5 lead with marauding half-back Sice, Bane and Joyce all among the scorers.

McDonnell and Jamie Clarke replied with Armagh points to cut the margin to two but Galway finished the half on top with Sice, Bane and Joyce again on target.

Sice was giving Armagh half-forward Gareth Swift a torrid time with Finnian Moriarty suffering to an even greater degree against veteran forward Joyce.

Armagh produced a promising start to the second half as they outscored Galway 0-4 to 0-1 in the six minutes after the resumption, with Malachy Mackin hitting a brace.

McDonnell's sixth score of the afternoon then cut Galway's lead to two but that was as good as it got for Paddy O'Rourke's side as two Paul Conroy points reasserted the Tribesmen's control.

There was still only two in it with two minutes of normal time but Armagh wilted in the final five minutes of action to allow Galway to tag on five late scores.

McDonnell hit two late points for Armagh to bring his tally up to nine but that was little consolation for Armagh who may need to win or draw away to All-Ireland champions Cork next weekend to avoid the drop to Division 2.

Armagh: P McEvoy, A Mallon, B Donaghy, F Moriarty, K Dyas, C McKeever, P Duffy, K Toner, M Mackin, C Vernon, C Watters, G Swift, J Clarke, S McDonnell, J Murtagh. Subs: P Hearty, Micheal O'Rourke, B Mallon, BJ Padden, J Lavery, G McParland, A Duffy, A Kernan, R Grugan, F Hanratty, D McKenna.

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