Tyrone victorious over Armagh in All-Ireland final

Tyrone's skipper Peter Canavan was the man to step up and lift the Sam Maguire Cup after a hard-fought match with Armagh on Sunday.

A score-line of Armagh 0-9 Tyrone 0-12 saw four-time All-Star winner Canavan the only man on the Tyrone team to previously play at an All-Ireland, to hoist the Sam decked out in red-and-white above his head.

Canavan had been a big injury worry before the game, but he played in the first half, and returned to the pitch for the last ten minutes in a tense game with the reigning champions the orchard county. In all 32-year-old Canavan contributed five frees that were crucial to Mickey Harte's side.

The stronger performance was Tyrone's, and the first quarter saw Canavan's boot unerringly found the sweet spot three times between the orchard counties' uprights. He was helped too by points from Ger Calvan and Brian McGuigan.

Armagh fought back, but Sean Cavanagh missed a chance on goal, McConville took a free, and Steven McDonnell eased the pain for Armagh with two points to close the gap to two. Canavan opened the gap to three with another free, before Armagh's Enda McGinley forced a save from the legs of Paul Hearty.

The half-time score 0-8 to 0-4 underlined the performance by a hungrier Tyrone side that saw the red hand side tighten their grasp on the Sam.

Everyone expected a tough second-half from the orchard county who are renowned for their fighting spirit. But resumption of play saw Armagh contained to trail by a margin that was never less than two points. The champions were strong in the second-half, but were dealt a severe blow when full-forward Diarmuid Marsden was red carded for an off-the-ball clash.

Despite hopeful balls forward Armagh were denied the net by a stout Tyrone defence - Conor Gormley pulled off a match saving block on Steven McDonnell who was intent on finding a goal.

McConville kept Armagh's flickering hopes alive with a free, but the last point of the day went to Stephen O'Neill as he took his second from play.

A poor match in footballing terms, but in a Tyrone braced for celebrations today as the Sam Maguire lands this afternoon in unfamiliar territory for the second time in as many years, it will not matter.


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