Get him a tuxedo, give him the All-Star and for crying out loud, someone bring that man out to America 1 month ago

Get him a tuxedo, give him the All-Star and for crying out loud, someone bring that man out to America

They've been on the edge of their seats all day but this is the first time they've actually left them.

A Galway fan tells them to sit the hell down but hilariously, and caught up in the heat of the moment, this pair of Armagh diehards don't seem to care. They're jumping and dancing and they're screaming at the sky but on a day like this, and with Jemar Hall after putting them one up in the dying moments of extra-time, you'd have been braced for even more.


Because this could just be game, set and match.

Dylan McHugh is cramping and, even though he's only wasting his own team's time, it's so bad that it takes him a full minute to hobble from the 21, where he's lying, to the end-line, so the game can restart.

PJ looks worried.

That little delay gives the Armagh boys - players and fans - a chance to compose themselves and, in the mean-time, high up in the Hogan Stand, the boys are talking it out through bated breaths.


They're not talking about Jemar Hall or Rian O'Neill or Stefan Campbell though, at that moment, the same as everyone else in the stadium, they're talking about their flying goalkeeper Ethan Rafferty.

Who wasn't?


Hall wouldn't even have had the chance to kick that point if Rafferty hadn't gone on a mazy run and, let's be honest about it, they wouldn't have made it to extra-time in the first place if it wasn't for the consternation he caused in injury time.

It was Rafferty, after all, who sliced that delightful cross-field floater into Rian O'Neill, for him make the catch of the day. Beautiful.


That set up the goal that shook the stadium upside down and if you ran it back a few minutes earlier, to the Aidan Nugent goal that started the comeback, then you'd have seen that Rafferty was in jousting with a Galway defender in the box, ready to knock it in if Nugent missed his chance.


And it's some weapon for Armagh to have.

Ask any Galway supporter and they'll tell you that, Rian O'Neill aside, Rafferty was the last man they wanted to see on the ball on Sunday. The players would say the exact same thing.

Yes, we know he's not your normal goalkeeper - he's a quality outfielder too who was only sent back into goals because of injury - but, just as he went down holding his leg in extra-time, he's surely the first goalkeeper any of us have ever saw cramping up. We've seen Niall Morgan and we've seen Rory Beggan and while the two boys are brilliant, we've never ever seen anything quite like this man.

Never seen a goalkeeper attack the space with the same abandon that he does, never seen a goalkeeper send a shot of exhilaration darting through a whole stadium quite like he did whenever he got the ball.

And when you consider the points he scored in Ulster, the outlet he gave Armagh this whole championship, there's no denying the fact that he's completely re-defined the goalkeeping position. For players and managers.


So get him a Tuxedo, give him an All-Star and for crying out loud, will someone bring that man out to America?