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Sunday, 22 September, 2002, 20:34 GMT 21:34 UK
Armagh are champions
Armagh forward John McEntee
Armagh's John McEntee cuts through Kerry defence
Bank of Ireland Football Final:
Armagh 1-12 0-14 Kerry

Armagh created history on Sunday when they claimed their first All-Ireland title following a dramatic fightback at Croke Park.

Down by four points at the break and looking a beaten side, they clawed their way back to sensationally lift the Sam Maguire.

They are the first Ulster side to win the trophy since Down in 1994, and it comes after their third attempt in a decider.

It was sweet revenge too for Armagh boss Joe Kernan who scored two goals when the Orchard County lost in their last final appearance to Dublin 25 years ago.

Armagh's midfielder John Toal doing a job in which he is expert
Armagh's John Toal collects a high ball

Many had thought that Oisin McConville's failure to convert a penalty in the 33rd minute would have been Armagh's downfall.

They were struggling to contain Kerry at that stage when McConville was brought down as he bore down on goal.

But he saw Kerry keeper Declan O'Keeffe rush forward to dive to his left and palm away the spot-kick.

But even though Kerry's confident style of play looked to have broken Armagh's resistance, Joe Kernan's boys stormed back in the second period.

It took the Kingdom midway through the opening period to move into the rhythm that destroyed teams on the way to the final.

But it did not last, as Armagh dug deep into their reservoir of commitment and fitness.

The Orchard County had come out of the traps knowing that they had to stop Kerry putting together their well-known flowing game, and keep them occupied at the back.

They did achieve their goal with the high ball causing grief, and a tenacious defence closing down the space.

However, just after the 19th minute following the second of Dara O'Cinneide opening double, Kerry ran the show for the remainder of the half.

But at the start a Steve McDonnell double and another from Ronan Clarke enabled Armagh to take a 0-3 0-1 lead.

But two mistakes and two counters allowed Kerry to nip ahead for the first time in the 12th minute with Colm Cooper, Eoin Brosnan and Russell's second doing the needful.

Kerry defender Tomas O'Se in action at Croke Park
Tomas O'Se wins possession for Kerry

But Armagh rushed back into the lead with a long-range effort following a super McDonnell take.

Armagh's best point of the opening half came when an excellent tackle by Enda McNulty set up an attack with John McEntee finishing off with a cracking left-footed point.

But then Kerry started to find that vital space in midfield with Donal Daly snaring possession at will in midfield and the forwards running at pace into vacant areas.

The points came thick and fast for Kerry with Eamon Fitzmaurice charging through from deep to claim his first of the campaign.

Liam Hassett, Russell, O'Cinneide and Cooper all contributed as Kerry Stormed five points clear.

Connfidence waned

Then came that penalty miss by McConville with Diarmuid Marsden knocking off a couple of points to keep Armagh in the game at the half-way stage.

On the resumption, Kerry started off with three wides as Marsden pulled back Armagh within three points.

O'Cinneide twice, and Hassett always kept Kerry in front, but they were not as confident.

Marsden had a chance of a goal in the 50th minute, but as he charged forward he could not get a shot away as he was engulfed by the Kerry defence.

But that goal finally did come in the 54th minute when McConville buried the ball home after a move started by Andy McCann.

Then Armagh clawed back to level four minutes later when Clarke zipped over a cracking point from the left and McDonnell gave them the lead with another.

Armagh kept that one-point lead as Kerry crumbled in the face of a determined outfit that denied a score in the last 20 minutes.


Armagh: B Tierney, E McNulty, J McNulty, F Bellew, A O'Rourke, K McGeeney, A McCann, J Toal, P McGrane, P McKeever, J McEntee (0-1), O McConville (1-2), S McDonnell (0-3), R Clarke (0-3), D Marsden (0-3) .
Subs: P Hearty, K Hughes, C O'Rourke, P Loughran, B O'Hagan, J Donaldson, B Duffy, G Reid, P McCormack, T McEntee, S Maxwell, P Duffy, C O'Neill, K McElvanna, S Smyth.

Kerry: D O'Keeffe, M O Se, S Moynihan, M McCarthy, T O Se, E Fitzmaurice (0-1), J Sheehan, D O Se, D Daly, S O'Sullivan, E Brosnan (0-1), L Hassett (0-1), MF Russell (0-3), D O'Cinneide (0-5), C Cooper (0-2).
Subs: D Murphy, A MacGearailt, J Crowley, T O'Sullivan, B O'Shea, S Scanlon, D O'Sullivan, M Lyons, I Twiss, F Kelliher, D Quill, R O'Connor, M Finn, E Galvin, MD Cahill.

BBC Sport Online has extensive coverage of this year's GAA Championships

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