Conor Gleeson's gesture to heartbroken Ethan Rafferty a tonic after sideline brawl 1 month ago

Conor Gleeson's gesture to heartbroken Ethan Rafferty a tonic after sideline brawl

Respect from one goalkeeper to the other.

As pandemonium broke out at Croke Park, and the good kind of pandemonium, Conor Gleeson sought out his opposite number.

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Galway's Cillian McDaid said he and teammates had done 'a small bit' of penalties practice, ahead of the Armagh game. It certainly looked like it.

After the All-Ireland quarter final between Armagh and Galway, at Croke Park, ended after 70 frantic minutes and two periods of extra time, the final scoreline read 3-18 to 2-21. There was no separating both sides.

Here is how the penalty shoot-out - held in front of the Davin Stand - played out:

GALWAY GOAL: Shane Walsh - Smashed home, to Ethan Rafferty’s left. (1-0)

ARMAGH MISS: Stefan Campbell - High, wide, not so handsome - was going for top corner but miscued. (1-0)

GALWAY GOAL: Damien Comer - Sent Rafferty the wrong way. Low and firm to the bottom corner. (2-0)

ARMAGH GOAL: Rian O’Neill - Same as Comer, hammered into the bottom corner. (2-1)

GALWAY GOAL: Rob Finnerty - To Rafferty’s right. Got a hand to it, but could not keep it out. (3-1)

ARMAGH MISS: Conor Turbitt - Hit the post after sending Conor Gleeson the wrong way. (3-1)

GALWAY GOAL: Matthew Tierney - Wins it! Bottom left-hand corner. (4-1)

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Galway scored all four of their penalties while Armagh missed two of their three and they were out. As that Tierney shot hit the net, the Galway panel and backroom staff erupted.

Conor Gleeson seeks out Ethan Rafferty

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As the Galway players ran to embrace the match-winner, Matthew Tierney, his goalkeeper had other thoughts.

Well aware of the additional pressures heaped on goalkeepers during penalty shoot-outs, Conor Gleeson's first move was to go and lift the heartbroken Ethan Rafferty up from the goal-line.

Rafferty, who was down to take a kick for Armagh, later in the shootout, was dejected as the Galway celebrations erupted around him. Gleeson strode over and reached down a hand to his fellow goalie. It was a gesture that was appreciated and accepted.

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It was also a tonic after the ugly scenes in the sideline brawl between full-time of the regulation 70 minutes and extra-time.

Former Armagh forward Oisín McConville would later reflect, on RTE, that Kieran McGeeney may have missed a trick by not replacing Rafferty with a 'specialised' goalkeeper. Rafferty is an outfielder that has converted into a goalkeeper in recent years.

The Orchard County goalkeeper made a class gesture, himself, as he headed down the tunnel, tossing his gloves to a young fan in the stands. It may not have been his day, but he made it that bit brighter for that young supporter.


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