GAA All-Ireland MFC final: Derry beat Armagh to retain title

There was a lot disappointment that this fixture was not played in Croke Park, with the All-Ireland senior camogie quarter-finals instead being the curtain-raisers to the All-Ireland hurling semi-finals this weekend.

As the GAA pushes towards full integration with the camogie and ladies football associations, it could signal the direction of travel in the future but regardless, the minor football teams served up a treat for the approximate attendance of 6,000 or so in Omagh.

This was the third time these teams had met this year, with Derry beating Armagh by 17 points in the group stages of the Ulster championship and then by just two points in the Ulster final.

Going up against familiar opponents again could have been a burden for this young Derry side to carry, but it certainly wasn’t a factor early on as they raced into an early 0-3 to 0-1 lead.

Armagh levelled before the first key moment when Luke Grant was fouled in the square and skipper James Sargent dispatched the penalty brilliantly after 23 minutes.

However Armagh responded well to the setback and scored six of the next seven points either side of half time.

The sides were level, 1-3 to 0-6, at half time and ‘keeper Michael Finnegan nailed two ’45’s for Armagh who went ahead for the first time just after the interval.

Sub Aaron Garvey’s superb point pushed Armagh’s lead out to two 10 minutes into the second half and having been unbeaten for so long in championship football, suddenly the favourites tag looked to be a heavy burden for Derry to carry.

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