Armagh picked up their first two points of their Allianz Hurling League Division 2B campaign following a good win against a spirited Donegal side in the Athletic Grounds on Sunday. Armagh got a good start, firing two quick points through Conor Corvan and Ryan Gaffney. Donegal’s Lee Henderson got the visitors off the mark, but the accuracy of Ryan Gaffney from the dead ball had Ard Mhacha in front 0-5 to 0-1. However, the Donegal men weren’t for lying down and hit back with a goal from Bernard Lafferty, followed quickly by a point from the impressive Lee Henderson. Nathan Curry hit over an impressive long-range free, but it was quickly cancelled out with a Ciarán Matthewson point, which could easily have finished in a green flag only for the quick reflexes of Armagh keeper Simon Doherty. A further three scores from Gaffney and an effort from Artie McGuinness brought the half to a conclusion with the scoreline Ard Mhacha 0-10 Dún na nGall 1-4.
Scores were traded at the beginning of the second half with sharpshooters Ryan Gaffney and Lee Henderson adding to their tallies. Ten minutes into the half,a long high ball in from Armagh captain, Kieran McKernan, evaded all Donegal defenders and was finished to the net by Artie McGuinness to push Armagh further ahead 1-11 to 1-5. With another couple of scores for the Orchard, including a good effort from Conor McKee, many of the supporters thought the contest was over, but Donegal had other thoughts and their second three pointer through Lee Henderson and a point from Bernard Lafferty brought them right back into the game at 1-13 to 2-7 with 15 minutes to go. Armagh steadied the ship again with Keady pair, Conor McKee from play and Conor Corvan with a great individual point following a good run. Lee Henderson, who was having a fantastic game, pulled Donegal back into it with three more points to lower the gap to just three points with five minutes to go. But not to be outdone in the scoring stakes, the last two scores of the game fell to Ryan Gaffney to leave the final score Ard Mhacha 1-18 Dún na nGall 2-10.
Armagh will be buoyed by the two points from this tough game and by the return of Declan Coulter, who made an appearance in the second half. With team captain John Corvan and Connor Devlin to return for the Kildare game, they will be confident of causing an upset in the Athletic Grounds on Saturday 7 March. The Kildare game is part of a double header which includes the senior footballers league game against Fermanagh and we hope that all Armagh fans will make the effort to come early to support our hurlers. In the weekend’s other results in Division 2B, Cill Dara beat Down by six points while Meath had a comfortable win over Maigh Eo. Comhghairdeas leis an fhoireann bhainistíochta agus leis na h-imreoirí ar an toradh inniu. Well done to the management team and the players on Sunday’s result against Donegal. Ard Mhacha abú.
Armagh: Simon Doherty, Artie McGuinness (1-1), Ciaran Clifford, Liam Woods, Nathan Curry (0-1 f), Stephen Renaghan, Kieran McKernan (captain), Conor McKee (0-2), Pauric Hughes, Paddy Kelly, Conor Corvan (0-2), Joe O’Connor, Cahal Carvill, Ryan Gaffney (0-2, 0-9 f, 0-1 65), Eoin McGuinness
Subs used: Conor McAnallen, Declan Coulter,Connor Hannaway, Paudie Lappin