Armagh hurlers produced a superb performance in their final game of the Allianz Division 2B in Castlebar. Armagh headed out against Christy Ring side Mayo in confident mood following last week’s great win away to Meath.
The visitors got off to a bright start with a long range free from Nathan Curry against the breeze, followed quickly by a Ryan Gaffney effort nearer the posts. Mayo settled down after that with a score but Armagh were on top all over the field and pushed further ahead with Gaffney converting three further frees to put Armagh up 0-5 to 0-2. Fergal Boland was again on hand for the home side for his third point from play and good work from Ciaran Clifford prevented the Connacht men eating further into the lead. When Kenny Feeney took a shot on goal, Simon Doherty stopped the ball and came away with the sliotar. The ball was worked up the field and last week’s goalscorer, Conor Corvan, had a chance of his own, which pulled agonisingly right across the goal. Team captain Kieran McKernan was playing particularly well and the hard working back line kept the home side at bay. Further scores from Ryan Gaffney from the dead ball and Conor Corvan with Armagh’s first from play were cancelled out by two frees from Mayo’s Kenny Feeney. As the half time whistle approached, a further free from topscorer, Ryan Gaffney brought the teams in at 0-8 to 0-6 at half time.
The visitors got off to a blistering start in the second half with the half forward line of Davy Carvill, Conor Corvan and Marty Moan hitting consecutive scores. While Kenny Feeney replied with a point, Armagh made their dominance show on the scoreboard with further points through Middletown trio Martin Moan, three frees from Ryan Gaffney and a score from Nathan Curry to put the Orchard ahead 0-15 to 0-7. Feeney and first half replacement Joey Ganley tried to stop the Mayo rot but Davy Carvill, Ryan Gaffney and the impressive Cathal Carvill kept Armagh well ahead.
The Armagh defence and midfield were well on top at this stage and Connor Devlin who added a point, Shea Gaffney and captain Kieran McKernan deserved their break after mighty performances. Stevie Renaghan was having a great second half and caused plenty of problems for the home side. Eoin McGuiness hit a long-range effort, which was quickly followed by a great score from Paudie Hughes. With time almost up, Mayo were awarded a penalty, but Simon Doherty pulled off a good save to maintain the clean sheet. As the ball was worked up the field, Armagh had a chance on goal of their own, but the effort from Ryan Gaffney was well saved by Davog Freyne in the Mayo goal. The final action of the game provided one of the highlights as Cathal Carvill sent over a sideline cut to consolidate his man of the match performance.
Armagh hurling continues to impress and following back to back victories over Christy Ring sides, they can look forward to their opening tie in the Nicky Rackard Cup against Louth. Comhghairdeas le hiománaithe Ard Mhacha agus leis an fhoireann bainistíochta. Well done to the Armagh senior hurlers and their management team of Sylvester McConnell, Pádraig O’Connor, Gabriel O’Kane and John Crossey.
Armagh: Simon Doherty, Conor McKee, Ciaran Clifford, Conor McKee, Connor Devlin (0-1), Nathan Curry (0-2), Stephen Renaghan, Kieran McKernan (c), Shea Gaffney, Paudie Hughes (0-1), David Carvill (0-1), Conor Corvan (0-3), Martin Moan (0-2), Cathal Carvill (0-2), Ryan Gaffney (0-10), Eoin McGuinness (0-1)
Subs used: Artie McGuinness, Conor Hannaway, Caily Gorman, Tiernan Nevin, Liam Woods