Sunday evening saw another historic victory for our senior hurlers, as they beat Down to claim a place in the Ulster final for just the third time since 1946. The Orchardmen came back from a nine point deficit in the first half to produce some top-quality hurling in the second and run out comfortable winners over their bitter rivals.
While Armagh had a good start with a goal from Cahal Carvill and a point from Conor Corvan after the opening score from Conor O’Prey, it was the Ardsmen who dominated the first half. Twelve unanswered points for O’Prey, Conor Mageean, Paul Sheehan, Danny Toner and Chris Egan had Down 0-13 to 1-1 ahead after the half hour. Indeed, Down could have been further ahead, only for a couple of great saves from Simon Doherty in the Armagh goals. However, Armagh were given a lifeline before half time, when Eoin McGuinness fed a beautiful ball in to Declan Coulter who finished to the net for the Orchard sides first score since the fourth minute and with Eoin McGuinness and Coulter adding further scores, Armagh went in with a bit of hope at half time.
Leath ama: Ard Mhacha 2-3 An Dún 0-13
Danny Toner opened the second half scoring for Down, but the reply came immediately from Conor Corvan from a free. Scores from James King and two from Corvan brought the margin down to one , but Conor Mageean hit another for Down and great defensive work from Ciarán Clifford broke down another Down attack. As the Armagh dominance began to show across the field, Armagh hit the front twenty minutes in to the half when Conor Corvan finished to the net after good work from Declan Coulter. In the aftermath of the goal, the referee, who until then had been more than generous to the Ardsmen, was left with no option but to issue a red card to Conor Woods. Down pulled a score back, but Armagh were playing some great hurling by this stage and further points from Conor Corvan with two, Eoin McGuinness and Declan Coulter gave Armagh a 3-11 to 0-16 lead with just over five minutes to go. Down, who were becoming increasingly frustrated as their neighbours and rivals pushed on for victory, were reduced to 13 men, and Declan Coulter compounded their misery by firing in his second and Armagh’s fourth goal. With the game lost and Down’s discipline completely gone, Fintan Conway also saw red, as captain Cahal Carvill hit a superb point to ensure Armagh’s passage to the Ulster final on Sunday 10 July.
Scór deiridh: Ard Mhacha 4-12 An Dún 0-17
Ard Mhacha: Simon Doherty, Ciarán Clifford, Artie McGuinness, Connor Devlin, John Corvan, Nathan Curry, James King 0-1, Kieran McKernan, Stephen Renaghan, Peter McKearney, Cahal Carvill 1-1, David Carvill, Declan Coulter 2-2, Eoin McGuinness 0-2, Conor Corvan 1-6 (0-6 f)
Subs used: Fiachra Bradley for D Carvill, Odhrán Curry for Peter McKearney, Tiarnán Nevin for C Devlin, Paddy McGrane for S Renaghan, Aaron Fox for K McKernan
Armagh minor hurlers also celebrated a great win in the Ulster championship over Donegal on Saturday evening. The Orchard lads led at half time 1-7 to 1-3, but turned on the style in the second half with an early goal to run out 7 point winners on a scoreline of 3-13 to 3-7. The minors will now face An Dún in the Ulster Championship semi-final on Sunday 26 June at a venue and time to be confirmed.