Football League Division Two: Clarke earns Armagh draw at Westmeath

Jamie Clarke
Jamie Clarke popped up with a vital late goal for Armagh at Cusack Park

Jamie Clarke scored a last-minute goal to secure a 2-15 to 3-12 draw for Armagh in a thrilling Division Two game against Westmeath in Mullingar.

Armagh let slip an eight-point lead with Rory Grugan netting to help them to a 1-12 to 0-7 lead at half-time.

Westmeath came out firing on the restart and moved four points clear after goals from John Heslin, Denis Corroon and Luke Loughlin.

Armagh stayed in touch before substitute Clarke's last-gasp leveller.

The draw keeps Armagh's promotion hopes alive but they will rue throwing away such a big lead at the break.

The Orchard team had 1-5 on the board before the hosts registered a score - Grugan palmed into the net on four minutes while Rian O'Neill hit three points in a blistering start at Cusack Park.

Run halted

Heslin got Westmeath on the scoreboard and they hit six of the next 10 points before Armagh finished the first half with three straight points courtesy of a Grugan double and Mark Shields point.

Westmeath turned the game early in the second half with all three goals coming in a 12-minute period, starting with Heslin converting a penalty after a Grugan foot-block.

The second goal arrived within 60 seconds as a counter-attack ended with Corroon netting from Ronan Wallace's pass.

Westmeath's Boidu Sayeh was black-carded but it didn't deter his team as Loughlin added the third goal with a superb strike hit into the top corner.

Rory Grugan scored 1-4 for Armagh in Sunday's dramatic draw with Westmeath
Rory Grugan scored 1-4 for Armagh in Sunday's dramatic draw with Westmeath

The Leinster men were down to 13 men for three minutes when James Dolan joined Sayeh in the sin-binned but they held a four-point lead after 56 minutes.

O'Neill and Jason Duffy slotted over for Armagh but Heslin brought Westmeath three clear before Clarke fisted in, with the goal allowed despite a hint of a square ball.

Ray Connellan wasted a chance to win it for Westmeath in injury time as the team had to settle for a share of the spoils.

What they said

Armagh assistant manager Jim McCorry: "You've got to look at it positively - at one stage it didn't look like we could get anything out of the game.

"We should have been further ahead at half-time but goals win games and we stopped playing at the start of the second half.

"Many a team would have given up but we fought to the end and we were on the attack when the final whistle blew."

ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE RESULTS

Sunday

Division One
Kerry1-19Meath2-13
Galway2-25Tyrone0-12
Monaghan2-16Mayo0-13
Division Two
Clare1-11Laois1-12
Westmeath3-12Armagh2-15
Kildare0-13Roscommon2-11
Division Three
Derry2-10Louth1-9
Leitrim0-14Offaly2-16
Division Four
Wexford4-15London1-9
Limerick5-10Wicklow1-14
Antrim0-11Carlow1-8

Saturday

Division One
Dublin1-15Donegal1-14
Division Two
Fermanagh1-11Cavan2-11
Division Three
Down2-13Longford1-14
Tipperary0-21Cork3-13
Division Four
Sligo0-16Waterford2-12

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