Armagh hurlers overcame the challenge of a good Mayo side on Sunday to claim a place in the Division 2B league final against Down this coming Saturday.
Armagh out-hurled the visitors for large spells during the first period and only for some wayward shooting could have gone in at half time with the game out of sight. Armagh went four points ahead early on with scores from Conor Corvan, Declan Coulter, Ryan Gaffney from a free and David Carvill before the westerners hit their first score from a 65 from Kenny Feeney. Points were traded with Ciarán Charlton scoring for Mayo and Ryan Gaffney firing over a free for the home side to keep Armagh out ahead. Gary Nolan added another for Mayo, but the defence stood solid and with the Armagh midfield sector winning the majority of ball from both Armagh and Mayo puckouts, the Orchardmen forged further ahead with scores from Conor Corvan and Ryan Gaffney from the dead ball. With half time approaching, Armagh full forward Eoin McGuinness found himself through on goal but a great save from Donal O’Brien kept Armagh to their half time tally of 0-7.
Half time Ard Mhacha 0-7 Maigh Eo 0-3
David Carvill opened the scoring for Armagh in the second half but Mayo produced a good spell at the start of the second half with scores coming from Cathal Freeman and Kenny Fenney with one from play and one from a free. Kieran McKernan reacted quickest when the ball was thrown in, bursting through the middle and hitting a score to put Armagh three ahead and Ryan Gaffney followed this up with a converted free. Mayo were determined to stop Armagh in their tracks and scores from Corey Scahill and Kenny Feeney from a 65 kept the pressure on. Declan Coulter converted for Armagh but Mayo continued to rain down the pressure on the Orchard defence. Three consecutive blocks from Connor Devlin, Ciarán Clifford and Shea Gaffney pushed Mayo away from goal, but Kenny Feeney punished an indiscretion further out the field to keep Mayo in touch. Ryan Gaffney added a further two to his tally and a good catch from Simon Doherty under pressure saw the ball being worked up the field for Eoin McGuinness to add Armagh’s fourteenth point. Mayo however, kept plugging away and when Corey Scahill found himself through on goal, a good save by full-back Artie McGuinness gave Armagh another lift. With ten minutes remaining, Armagh looked to have secured the victory with Declan Coulter firing to the net to put Armagh 1-14 to 0-9 ahead, after good work from the two Corvan brothers, John and Conor. Kenny Feeney got another score, but Armagh followed this up with points from Conor Corvan and Gaffney from a free. With only minutes remaining, Armagh conceded another late goal with Mayo’s Pádraig O’Flynn finishing and the final score of the game fell to Declan Coulter to ensure Armagh’s passage into the league final against Down.
Full time Ard Mhacha 1-17 Maigh Eo 1-10
While this is another good result for Armagh, there is plenty of work to do before the league final on Saturday and Armagh must be more clinical in front of goal if they are to win promotion. The management will be happy with the progress that the squad have made to date and they will look forward to another tie against neighbours and familiar opponents Down. The venue and time of the league decider have yet to be confirmed, and with growing attendances at the National Hurling League games, we would encourage as many Armagh supporters as possible to get behind our senior hurlers on Saturday. Maith sibh ar bhua maith eile inniu agus go n-éirí libh i gcluiche ceannais na sraithe Dé Sathairn. Well done on another good win against Mayo today and good luck in Saturday’s league decider. Ard Mhacha abú.
Ard Mhacha: Simon Doherty, Ciarán Clifford, Artie McGuinness, Connor Devlin, Kieran McKernan 0-1, Shea Gaffney, Cormac Toner, John Corvan, Stephen Renaghan, David Carvill 0-2, Ryan Gaffney 0-7 (0-7f), Cahal Carvill, Declan Coulter 1-3, Eoin McGuinness 0-1, Conor Corvan 0-3
Subs used: Pete McKearney, Pauric Hughes, Dylan McKenna, Stephen Keenan
Maigh Eo: Donal O’Brien, Brian Hunt, Patrick Connell, Eoghan Collins, Noel Casey, Gerard McManus, Cathal Freeman 0-1, Austin Lyons, John Cotter, Kieran McDermott, Ciarán Charlton 0-1, Gary Nolan 0-1, Shane Boland, Kenny Feeney 0-6 (0-3f 0-2 65), Seán Regan
Subs used: Seán Mulroy, Corey Scahill 0-1, Pádraig O’Flynn 1-0, Darren McTigue
Photos by John Merry