​Armagh lose out in league opener

February 15th, 2015 | Hurling News

​Armagh lose out in league opener

Armagh senior hurlers travelled to Páirc Esler in Newry to open their Allianz League Division 2B campaign against neighbours Down on Sunday. Armagh, who were playing with the breeze in the first half, took an early lead when Ryan Gaffney converted a free, but Down quickly fired two points from play. Conor McKee got on the scoresheet soon after, converting a free from the half way line and Gaffney added his second. Down’s James Coyle got a point from play to even the scores, but as Armagh were bearing down on goal, referee Liam McAuley sounded his whistle to award a free, which was converted by Gaffney. For the next 15 minutes, neither side managed to raise a white flag and two late points from the dead ball after fouls on Conor Corvan left the half time score Ard Mhacha 0-6 An Dún 0-3. Down got the second half off to a strong start with a couple of scores, but a great score from Kieran McKernan, which was Armagh’s first from play, maintained the advantage. Both sides were reduced to 14 men with Armagh substitute Caily Gorman joining Down’s Michael Hughes on the sideline. Down, who appeared to settle better after going a man down, began to bomb high balls in to the forward line and Danny Toner drew the sides level at 0-7 apiece. Conor Woods put Down ahead, converting a 65 which was won after a Gareth Johnston effort on goal was blocked by Ciarán Clifford. Cahal Carvill continued to cause problems for the Down defence and won a couple of frees which were duly converted by his clubmate Ryan Gaffney to put Armagh one ahead with just nine minutes to go. Unfortunately for the Orchardmen, it would prove to be their final score of the game as Down second half substitute, Brook Byers, finished to the net. The goal was a huge blow to Armagh and it was followed up by quick successive points from Conor Woods with two and Gareth Johnston with one. Down substitute Johnny McCusker finished the scoring with two further points to give Down a seven point victory, Ard Mhacha 0-9 An Dún 1-13. Armagh will now have to regroup ahead of Sunday’s home game against Dún na nGall, who also lost their opening tie this weekend against Mayo

Armagh: Simon Doherty, Artie McGuiness, Ciaran Clifford, Connor Devlin, Nathan Curry, Stephen Renaghan, Kieran McKernan (0-1), Conor McKee (0-1 f), Pauric Hughes, John Corvan, Conor Corvan, Martin Moan, Cahal Carvill, Ryan Gaffney (0-7 f), Eoin McGuinness
Subs used: Caily Gorman, Odhrán Curry

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