Saturday 24 October 2020
Nicky Rackard Cup, Athletic Grounds
Armagh 1-21 Leitrim 0-12
Armagh hurlers got their 2020 Nicky Rackard campaign off to a winning start with a double scores win over Leitrim at the Athletic Grounds on Saturday. Armagh were rarely troubled by the westerners and maintained a good lead throughout, and while they will be pleased to get over their first game in 33 weeks, they will have also identified a number of areas to improve on for the next round.
Armagh were forced into a late change before throw-in, with Keady’s Shea Harvey receiving the call to make his Armagh senior debut. It was Stephen Renaghan who got the scoring underway seconds into the game and an effort from Conor Beirne pulled Leitrim back on even terms. This was to be the closest the Connacht men would get to the home side as Middletown trio, Marty Moan with two, Nathan Curry from a free and Paddy McBride pushed Armagh out in front. Leitrim’s Gavin O’Hagan got his first score of the day from a free, but Marty Moan and Nathan Curry maintained the pressure with further scores. O’Hagan and Beirne got their second scores either side of a converted free from Curry as the referee called for the water break with the score 0-8 to 0-4. Armagh pressed on at the resumption and took control with two more from Curry, one from play and one from a free, before Conor Corvan hit the first of his three points. Paddy McBride added two points, scored within 30 seconds of each other and another couple of scores brought Armagh in at half time with a ten point lead, 0-15 to 0-5. Only for some wayward shooting, the gap could have been more with Armagh guilty of 11 first half wides.
Leitrim rallied a bit early in the second half, while Armagh initially struggled to maintain the level that gave them a ten point advantage at half time. Three scores from Gavin O’Hagan and one from Conor Beirne brought hope to the visitors, but that was short-lived as Shaun Toal, having just been introduced to play, finished to the net to give Armagh a 1-16 to 0-9 lead. The goal was followed up by good scores from Eoin McGuinness and Connor Devlin to give a 12 point lead at the water break. Gavin O’Hagan added two more for Leitrim, including a 65, but Danny Magee was on target to get his name onto the scoresheet, while Marty Moan added his fourth and Nathan Curry his seventh to leave Armagh’s total at 1-21. Leitrim finished the game with 14 men with their team captain unlucky to pick up a second yellow card and their scoring was rounded up by Enda Moreton to leave them with a total of 0-12. The Armagh defense coped well in the second half against a strong breeze and Simon Doherty was called on to make a couple of saves.
Armagh go into the draw for the next round along with Tyrone who received a bye this weekend, Mayo who had a comprehensive win over Monaghan and Donegal who beat Longford.
Armagh: Simon Doherty, Paddy Quinn, Artie McGuinness, Connor Devlin 0-1, Kieran McKernan, Aaron Fox, Tiarnán Nevin, Paddy McBride 0-3, Odhrán Curry, Stephen Renaghan 0-1, Nathan Curry 0-7 (0-6 f), Conor Corvan 0-3, Marty Moan 0-4, Eoin McGuinness 0-1, Shea Harvey
Subs used: Danny Magee 0-1, Shaun Toal 1-0, Dylan McKenna, Paddy Kelly