Classic games: Mayo edge Armagh in nail-biting qualifier
Last Updated: 18/05/20 4:58pm
For this week's edition of our classic games series, we look at a recent encounter from 2019 when Armagh came close to stunning Mayo.
After suffering a shock defeat at the hands of Roscommon in the Connacht semi-final, James Horan's team found themselves in the qualifiers once again. They negotiated a tricky second-round draw away to Down, and were then paired with the Orchard County in MacHale Park.
Kieran McGeeney's side were making rapid progress. Having consolidated their newfound Division 2 status earlier in the year, they overcame the Mourne County in Ulster before losing to Cavan after a replay. Nonetheless, they regrouped and stunned Monaghan in Clones to progress to the third round.
The match: Mayo 2-13 Armagh 1-15
The visitors got off to a flying start as Rian O'Neill goaled early on, but it was soon cancelled out by a Fionn McDonagh strike.
From there, the sides traded scores with Mayo leading by a single point at the break.
Jamie Clarke was lively for the Ulster side in the second half, while Darren Coen struck a number of eye-catching scores for the men in green and red.
Kevin McLoughlin's goal then put Mayo four to the good, but Armagh refused to lie down.
Two late points in injury-time from O'Neill and Stefan Cambell made it a one-point game, but Mayo were saved by the bell as the full-time whistle saw Armagh run out of time.
What they said...
Armagh boss McGeeney was critical of the referee's time-keeping at full-time.
"When you're infallible, you never learn from your mistakes," he said to Sky Sports. "That's probably the best way I can put it.
"We had four minutes of extra-time there, with maybe 10 or 11 head injuries. That's nothing to do with Mayo or James (Horan), that's not his call. That's the man in the middle.
"All I can say is the fellas did everything that could be asked of them. I think they put their heart and soul into it, they play a lovely brand of football, they really go at teams, but they don't get rewarded for it."
Meanwhile, Horan cut a relieved figure as his side scraped through.
"When we five up with 10 to go, Armagh squeezed us very, very hard," he said.
"They came at us very hard. We panicked a bit.
"Delighted to get through...We're into round four. That was the objective and we got there."
What happened next?
Mayo were drawn against Galway, defeating their great rivals in the next round. They then made it through the Super 8s, and led Dublin at half-time in the All-Ireland semi-final before succumbing to the All-Ireland champions.