Saturday 22 May at 2pm in Markievicz Park, Allianz Hurling League Round 2
Fulltime: Sligeach 2-24 Ard Mhacha 1-18
Sligo hurlers claimed the spoils on Saturday when they defeated Armagh after a pulsating end to end game in Markievicz Park. While the final scoreline showed a nine point win for the hosts, there was little to separate the sides for much of this game, with the Yeatsmen pulling away in the final few minutes.
Sligo got off to the better start, in spite of an early Fionntán Donnelly free, taking a 0-2 to 0-1 lead after eight minutes, a lead which they would never relinquish as scores were traded for much of the game. The O’Kelly Lynch brothers were in top form with Gerard’s accuracy on frees punishing each Armagh discretion. Sligo’s dead ball accuracy was matched by Fionntán Donnelly throughout the half. The Derrynoose duo of Aaron Fox and Petey McKearney left the gap at two at the first water break.
Donnelly and O’Kelly Lynch traded frees and Eoin McGuinness hit one from play before Sligo looked to have deflated Armagh’s persistence, when Joe McHugh finished to the net. However, within just 60 seconds Mark McClatchey had the umpire reaching for the green flag at the other end, a goal that was followed up by a great score from Danny Magee to bring the sides level. With both free takers continuing in their good vein of form, it was a point from Sligo’s Tony O’Kelly Lynch to separate the sides at half time.
The second half got underway with a converted free from each side and a good score from Tony O’Kelly Lynch, but an Armagh foul close to goal allowed Gerard O’Kelly Lynch to fire to the net from the penalty spot to push the hosts ahead. Donnelly retained his cool as he added to his tally, but a super Stephen Fleming save from the penalty spot kept out the Keady man’s effort, although he did quickly add another converted free. Armagh piled on the pressure with a couple of goal chances, with Fleming again showing brilliant form as he saved a good effort from Eoin McGuinness. Thomas Cawley added one from play as Sligo took a four point advantage at the water break.
Donnelly added a further two frees to his tally but they were equalled by two good scores from Conor Hannify. Sligo’s next point was a great team score as they worked the sliotar from player to player before Joe McHugh finished. And while the score would have gave Sligo a huge boost, the dogged visitors responded with two points from McGuinness and Donnelly to leave just a goal between the teams with just over five minutes left. Sligo however were determined to push on and a strong finish coupled with seven further points to Armagh’s one finally put, paid to the visitors’ resolve.
While Armagh will be disappointed with the result, they can take heart from their performance as they aim to bounce back on Sunday against Monaghan in Iniskeen.
Armagh: Simon Doherty, Ciarán Clifford, Tiarnán Nevin, Jim Shortt, Paudie Lappin, Aaron Fox 0-1, Odhrán Curry, Paddy McBride, Petey McKearney 0-1, Fionntán Donnelly 0-13, Eoin McGuinness 0-2, Oisín Keenan, Stevie Keenan, Mark McClatchey 1-0, Danny Magee 0-1
Subs used: Tiarnán O’Neill, Liam Woods, Liam McIlroy, Stevie McKearney