All-Ireland qualifiers: Armagh 2-16 Clare 1-15

Clare's Cillian Brennan closes down Andrew Murnin
Clare's Cillian Brennan closes down Andrew Murnin of Armagh at the Athletic Grounds

A late goal from substitute Joe McElroy helped Armagh come back from five points down to secure a dramatic victory over Clare.

McElroy scored in the 70th minute to bring the sides level, with Rory Grugan and Aidan Forker adding crucial injury-time points to earn the four-point win.

Andrew Murnin scored Armagh's first goal, with David Tubridy on target for the visitors.

The victory takes Armagh through to the fourth round of the qualifiers.

It was Murnin who supplied the pass to McElroy for his goal during a frenetic end to the contest, with his strike bringing the sides level at 2-12 to 1-15 as the game moved into seven minutes of injury time.

Captain Grugan was instrumental in the Orchard County's fight back and he put them into the lead a minute later with the last of his six points.

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Armagh win was 'smash and grab' - Grugan

The home side hit two more quickfire points through substitutes Gavin McParland and Ross McQuillan before Forker added the insurance point on 75 minutes.

It had looked like Tubridy had secured victory for Clare when his goal on 67 minutes give them a 1-15 to 1-11 lead.

It came after Armagh goalkeeper Blaine Hughes saved his penalty but the forward followed up to finish from the rebound.

The opening goal of the game from Murnin came on 55 minutes.

The full forward collected a superb threaded pass from Forker, turned his marker with a dummy and struck a fantastic finish into the corner.

Clare had led by 0-9 to 0-7 at the end of a first half in which the home side created almost twice as many chances as their visitors, but recorded 11 wides.

The Clare forward line looked lively in the opening 35 minutes, with Jamie Malone coming close to scoring the first goal of the game.

He showed great footwork to create the 32nd minute opening but his shot was superbly saved by home keeper Hughes.

It was an important phase of play as the home side responded by immediately going on the attack and grabbing a point through Murnin.

Kieran McGeeney's men are now just one game away from reaching the Super 8s and cannot be pitted against Fermanagh in Monday's draw after they lost to the Ernesiders in their Ulster quarter-final.

What they said

Armagh captain Rory Grugan: "To be fair to Clare they played very well and will probably be disappointed going back down the road as it was a bit of a smash and grab from us. We just dug deep and kept fighting - and the Armagh supporters are always with you. You heard the noise they made in the last 10 minutes. They really drove us on and gave us a lift.

"It had seemed like it wasn't going to be our day. But when it's not going for you, you just have to keep it simple, get up the pitch and see what happens. That's what we did today and we saw the benefit of having fresh legs coming on from the bench.

"Unfortunately in the GAA at the minute when things don't go well it's often the manager that gets the criticism, when really the players should take responsibility. It's only right that Kieran (McGeeney) gets his credit. There is no man that works harder for us and he would do anything for us. I'm just delighted for him that we were able to get over the line."

Armagh: B Hughes; P Burns, A McKay, G McCabe; M Shields, B Donaghy, A Forker (0-2); C Vernon, C Mackin; R Grugan (0-6), J Hall, N Grimley (0-4); R McShane (0-1), A Murnin (1-1), S Sheridan

Subs: N Rowland, R Owens, R McQuillan (0-1), J McElroy (1-0), G McParland (0-1), J Duffy.

Clare: R Eyres; G Kelly, C Brennan, E Collins; C O'Dea, A Fitzgerald, P Lillis (0-2); G Brennan, C O'Connor (0-1); C Malone, E Cleary (0-3), J Malone (0-3); E Courtney (0-2), K Sexton (0-1), D Tubridy (1-3).

Subs: K Harnett, K Roche, C O hAinifein, G O'Brien, G Cooney.

All-Ireland football qualifiers third round - Saturday 30 June
Leitrim0-9Monaghan1-18
Armagh2-16Clare1-15
Cavan1-12Tyrone0-18
Kildare0-21Mayo0-19

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