Armagh hurlers got their competitive season off to a good start away to Donegal on Sunday, running out eight point winners to claim the points on the opening day.
It was former Cú Chulainn sharpshooter Declan Coulter who opened the scoring for the hosts, but four Armagh scores from Danny Magee, Paddy McBride, Eoin McGuinnees and a Ruairí Convery free gave the Orchard the edge early on. Donegal got the next five, four from Coulter, before Danny Magee hit his second point of the day. Coulter added another free and efforts from Ruairí Convery and Magee brought the scores level at 0-7 apiece. Donegal added a point before Armagh were awarded a penalty after Eoin McGuinness was dragged down. Dean Gaffney’s strike was saved and put out for a 65, which was duly converted by Convery. Paddy McBride got his second on what was his Armagh senior debut and it was Coulter who wrapped up the first half scoring with his only score from play.
HT Dún na nGall 0-9 Ard Mhacha 0-9
The visitors got off to a perfect start to the second half with Eoin McGuinness finishing to the net. Donegal responded well though with four consecutive scores to go ahead after ten minutes of the half. Convery and Coulter traded scores and PJ McCarron brought Donegal’s tally to 0-15 after 13 minutes of the half. Unfortunately for the hosts they wouldn’t score again for the remainder of the game as Armagh finished strongly. A converted free from Convery was followed up by a Ryan Gaffney goal. Nathan Curry, Danny Magee (2), Convery and Connor Devlin added to the Armagh tally. Donegal had no option but to try and find goals, but the Armagh defence stood strong and another super save by Fintan Woods off a Ronan McDermott effort kept a clean sheet for the visitors. Marty Moan wrapped up the scoring to bring Armagh’s tally to 2-17.
FT Dún na nGall 0-15 Ard Mhacha 2-17
Pádraig O’Connor will be pleased with Sunday’s performance taking two points from a tricky opener away from home. Debutants Paddy McBride and Tiarnán O’Neill showed well, Aaron Fox and Tiarnán Nevin put in a good shift in defence and the substitutes made a good impact when they came in. Next up for Armagh hurlers is a home tie against Monaghan at 2pm on Sunday 2 February.
Armagh: Fintan Woods, Ciarán Clifford, Artie McGuinness, Odhrán Curry, Kieran McKeever, Aaron Fox, Tiarnán Nevin, Paddy McBride 0-2, Nathan Curry 0-1, Dean Gaffney, Ruairí Convery 0-6 (0-3f, 0-1 65), Shaun Toal, Tiarnán O’Neill, Eoin McGuinness 1-1, Danny Magee 0-5
Subs used: Ryan Gaffney 1-0, Paddy Quinn, Connor Devlin 0-1, Marty Moan 0-1