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Sunday, 19 May, 2002, 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK
Cavanagh is Tyrone's saviour
Tyrone's Sean Cavanagh (19) scores his goal with his captain Peter Canavan loking on
Sean Cavanagh threads through his equalising goal
Armagh 1-12 1-12 Tyrone

A goal one minute from time by Sean Cavanagh saw Tyrone draw with Armagh as they opened their defence of the Ulster Championship title.

In a re-run of last season's first-round tie, Tyrone were unfortuante not to take the honours after they completely dominated the final stages of the game.

But it would have been rough justice for Armagh who had their Ulster Championship crown stripped from them by the Red Hand boys last season.

The two sides will square-up to each other again next Sunday at the same venue, but Armagh may rue that they did not finish the game first time out.

Armagh boss Joe Kernan in agitated mood near the end of the game
Armagh boss Joe Kernan in agitated mood

It was all-square at the break, and although Armagh deservedly opened up a four-point gap with 20 minutes remaining, they appeared to run out of ideas in the heat.

Tyrone could have sneaked it at the end when a great run by skipper Peter Canavan made space for replacement Richard Thornton.

However, from four metres out Thorton could not find the target after being put under pressure from Armagh keeper Brendan Tierney.

Tyrone were fancied to trot away with the game, after their superb run to the National Football title.

However, Championship stuff is a step up in class, and Armagh were just the team to test them.

Dangerous operator

With great fortitude, and tight marking, Tyrone's much-vanquished forward line could not break free to find space to pick up their usual quota of points.

But Tyrone never let Armagh drift away and the game was all of 42 minutes old before a two-point gap appeared between the two teams.

Armagh captain Kieran McGeeney was an inspiration with his general play full of non-stop action.

McGeeney was selected at left-corner forward, but as expected his roving role often caused frustration in the Tyrone ranks.

Oisin McConville top scored for Armagh with seven points.

Tyrone skipper Peter Canavan was well policed in the first period by Enda McNulty, but he was still a dangerous operator after the break.

It as only when Steven McDonnell drifted in to push the ball wide of Peter Ward in the 48th minute, did Armagh believe they could spring a surprise.

Tyrone captain Peter Canavan (left) comes up against Enda McNulty
Peter Canavan tries to escape Enda McNulty
Substitute Ronan Clarke, who had a fine game when he came on, put over another point two minutes later and everything looked as rosy as a rippened apple.

But the Orchard County side seemed to switch off and Tyrone bore down chasing a 1-11 0-10 scoreline.

They quickly did that with replacements Declan McCrossan and Cavanagh pointing the way.

Then came that equalising score in the 69th minute.

A flurry of activity in the Armagh box resulted in Cavanagh swooping for a high ball and firing past the unsighted Tierney into the left-hand corner.

Then came the last minute of frenetic action all centered around the Armagh goal with Thorton just not able to find that sweet finish.

Armagh: B Tierney; E McNulty, J McNulty, P McCormack, A O'Rourke, T McEntee, A McCann, J Toal, P McGrane, P McKeever (0-1), J McEntee (0-1), O McConville (0-7), S McDonnell (1-1), D Marsden, K McGeeney, capt. Substitutes: P Loughran (0-1), R Clarke (0-1).

Tyrone: P Ward; C Gormley, C Lawn, B Robinson; R McMenamin (0-2), S Teague, C Gourley; C McAnallen, C Holmes; B Dooher, S Cavanagh (1-2) S O'Neill (0-1), G Cavlan; K Hughes (0-2), Peter Canavan (0-4).

Minor Football Championship:
Armagh 0-12 0-12 Tyrone.

Munster SHC
Tipperary 1-18 2-13 Clare

Connacht SFC
Galway 3-12 1-08 Roscommon

Tyrone's Ryan McMenamin
''The heat was beginning to tell on both teams''
Armagh's Oisin McConville
''We will be glad of a second bite''
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