Kerry’s Brian Ó Beaglaíoch and Paul Cassidy of Derry in action in Sunday’s quarterfinal at Croke Park. [Inpho/James Crombie]

Armagh, Kerry win, advance to Saturday evening semi at Croker

Armagh 2-12; Roscommon 0-12

The Rossies traveled in hope and the Orchard men in trepidation because of the “monkey on their back” as Manager Kieran McGeeney described it following the six-point win in Croke Park on Saturday afternoon.

At the end of it all, the Armagh boss was happy to have that animal off their back with this win, which in truth was made all the easier once Ruaidhri Fallon's dismissal was factored into the play from shortly before half-time.

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Despite that reversal, Davy Burke’s side kept in the game until Conor Turbitt’s goal in the 52nd minutes sealed the door on any hopes of a late smash and grab by the men in primrose and blue.

The relief afterwards was palpable for McGeeney who said: “It wasn't one of our best performances, we’ve played better here and lost. So maybe it's a good sign for the boys, they've been having a tremendous year so far.

“We’re over the moon to get across the line. It's been a sort of monkey off our back and hopefully the fellas can go out now and express themselves the next day. It's massive, no matter who we play, we'll go in as underdogs. Which probably suits Armagh.”

Referring to the off form nature of some of their play, he explained: “Rian [O’Neill’s] frees were off and so were Rory [Grugan’s]. It’s been a long week with Rory's brother getting married and all those sorts of things. They take more out of you than people would think."

Believe it or not, this was the seventh time of asking for Armagh to get past a quarter-final and into the last four for the first time since 2005.

Finally, Armagh have done it, an All-Ireland quarter-final win at the seventh attempt for the Orchard County and a first semi-final since 2005 to look forward to next month.

And while kudos should go to Barry McCambridge for notching 1-2 on the day, it  was Turbitt's goal that was the most important score of the game. It came from a Rossies mix-up from a short kick-out which was turned over and ended in the back of the net.

Stefan Campbell gave McGeeney and his backroom team plenty of food for thought because of the way he performed when he was introduced as he scored two points and set up another brace. He would add poise and purpose to a forward line which also saw prominent roles from. Oisin Conaty  who landed four points too while Turbitt’s opportunism saw him add 1-2 to his ledger account.

Armagh: B Hughes; P McGrane, A McKay, P Burns; B McCambridge (1-2, 0-1m), T Kelly, A Forker (0-1); N Grimley (0-1), B Crealey; O Conaty (0-4), R O'Neill, J McElroy; R Grugan, A Murnin, C Turbitt (1-2, 0-1f) Subs: S Campbell (0-2) for McGrane (ht), O O'Neill for  O'Neill (50), R McQuillan for Forker (50-58 blood), A Nugent for Grugan (55), C Mackin for Crealey (64), J Duffy for Forker (70).

Roscommon: C Carroll; N Higgins (0-1), R Fallon, D Murray; E McCormack (0-1), B Stack (0-1), R Dolan; E Smith, S Cunnane; R Daly, D Murtagh (0-1), D Cregg; U Harney, C Cox (0-5, 0-4f), D Smith Subs: D Ruane (0-2) for Murray (7), C Lennon for Harney (15), A McDermott (0-1) for D Smith (55), C Heneghan for Daly (61), An Glennon for Cunnane (67).

Ref: M McNally (Monaghan).

Kerry 0-15; Derry 0-10

Kerry may be the new All- Ireland favorites following Dublin’s surprise demise at the weekend but they didn’t play like a side who could beat all-comers in this dour encounter with Derry at Croke Park on Sunday.

Their win, hard-earned but deserved over a limited Derry outfit, means they will face further Ulster examination next time when they line out against Armagh in the All-Ireland semi-finals.

For Derry an early season which delivered a league title and promised so much just petered out like most of their displays in the past two months. Mickey Harte was supposed to be the one who would get them over the hump of semi-final obstacles; instead he failed at the quarter-final stages.

Kerry Manager Jack O’Connor may have won All Ireland senior football titles in three different stints as team boss but he knows after last year’s defeat to Dublin that he is only a game away from being cast aside by the demanding Kingdom public.

His experience on the line, though, is invaluable and in this game when the result was in the melting pot, his substitutions lifted his side’s performance, produced two almost immediate points and gave the winner’s the impetus to kick on for a five point victory.

However the reality for him is that he had to replace three of his forwards Tony Brosnan, Dara Mounihan and Paul Geaney because they were only making an impression in moments rather than all through while Derry may have shown other opposition how to largely negate the Clifford brothers and Seanie O’Shea.

Overall, it was the worst of the four quarter-finals in terms of excitement and was played with a degree of rancor as an undercurrent from first whistle till last as well.

They were level seven times and neither side could force more than a point ahead until the clock had passed the hour and Kerry finally got a jump on the scoreboard to two, then three and ultimately ending with five in the bank as insurance against any late Oak Leaf raid.

 A crowd of almost 47,500  must have felt they would witness a skill treat with David Clifford opened the scoring  and quickly followed up with a second but aside from a late free, he was largely marginalized in this encounter.

Level 0-6 each at the break, the paucity of scores reflected how little open play either side created in the opening 35 minutes.

It continued tit-for-tat until Kerry introduced the subs who took advantage of a rapidly tiring Derry defense to make and score points.

Kerry: S Ryan; P Murphy, J Foley, T O’Sullivan; B Ó Beaglaioch (0-1), T Morley, G White (0-1); D O’Connor (0-1), J O’Connor (0-1); T Brosnan (0-2), P Clifford, D Moynihan; D Clifford (0-3, 0-1f, 0-1m), S O’Shea (0-3, 0-2f), P Geaney (0-1) Subs: C Burke for D Moynihan (53), K Spillane (0-1) for P Geaney (57), D Geaney (0-1) for Brosnan (62), A Spillane for J O’Connor (68), M Breen for Ó Beaglaioch (72).

Derry: O Lynch (0-1); C McCluskey, C McKaigue, D Baker; C Doherty, G McKinless, E McEvoy; C Glass (0-1), B Rogers (0-2), E Doherty, C McFaul, P Cassidy; E Mulholland, S McGuigan (0-5, 0-2f), L Murray Subs: N Toner for  Mulholland (39), N Loughlin for  Murray (59), E Bradley for C McFaul (65), C Murphy for Cassidy (65)

Ref: D Coldrick (Meath)