Armagh’s senior footballers opened their McKenna cup campaign on Sunday in Crossmaglen against a Cavan side that they will meet again in league and championship.
With the early scores reading 0-1 apiece, Cavan made light of a third minute David Givney sending off by converting a goal one minute later through Niall McDermott. A good score on 7 minutes from Stefan Campbell was cancelled out by Liam Buchanan and good movement of the ball from the visitors led to Cavan’s third point through Enda Henry. The Breffni men’s indiscipline was again on show with an Armagh man being floored, only for Cavan’s Chris Conroy to run through and hit their second goal, which was allowed to stand and bring the score to 2-3 to 0-2 after 19 minutes. A couple of Niall McDermott frees pushed Cavan further ahead and a number of wasted opportunities from Aidan Forker and Niall Grimley left the home support frustrated. Armagh waited all of 27 minutes before getting their third score with Ethan Rafferty converting after good work from Ciarán McKeever and Joe McElroy. A Gavin McParland effort fell short and was worked up the field by the visitors and Chris Conroy scored the last point of the half to leave the score at the interval Ard Mhacha 0-3 An Cabhán 2-6.
Gavin McParland opened the scoring in the second half after good work by the Armagh forward line to avoid the Cavan swarm of defenders. Brendan Donaghy added a second after a free kick from Stefan Campbell dropped short but wayward shooting from Aidan Forker, Niall Grimley and Ethan Rafferty didn’t help the Armagh cause. Tom Hayes hit Cavan’s first score of the half after 17 minutes but three quick scores from Miceal McKenna from 50 yards out, Stefan Campbell and Ethan Rafferty from the dead ball edged Armagh back into the game. Armagh were then reduced to 13 men with Aaron Findon picking up a second yellow and Brendan Donaghy seeing a straight red. Hayes was on hand again to leave the two goals between the sides. Stefan Forker converted a free after a foul on Eugene McVerry but further efforts from Ethan Rafferty and Jemar Hall were spurned. Rory Grugan created a half-goal chance with time ticking away but the ball fell to Gavin McParland who put it over the bar. A third red card was awarded to Cavan’s Killian Brady and the final score of the game came from an Ethan Rafferty free kick to leave the full time score Ard Mhacha 0-11 An Cabhán 2-8 The Bank of Ireland man of the match award went to Cavan’s Niall McDermott. Armagh will travel to Clones next Sunday to take on Monaghan at 2pm in the second round of the McKenna Cup.
Ard Mhacha: Matthew McNeice, Ruairí McCaughley, Charlie Vernon, Michael Murray, Stefan Forker 0-1 (0-1 f), Ciarán McKeever, Aidan Forker, Aaron Findon, Niall Grimley, Rory Grugan, Niall McConville, Stefan Campbell 0-1, Ethan Rafferty 0-4 (0-3 f), Andrew Murnin, Gavin McParland 0-2
Ionadaithe: Joe McElroy for Ruairí McCaughley, Brendan Donaghy 0-1 for Andrew Murnin (Black card), Miceal McKenna 0-1 for Niall McConville, Joe Feeney for Stefan Campbell, Eugene McVerry for Niall Grimley, Jemar Hall for Charlie Vernon (Black card)
Meanwhile, our senior hurlers also got their Conor McGurk Cup campaign underway at Queen’s against a strong Ulster University side. Despite trading scores in the opening minutes, a blitz of goals from UUJ had them well ahead at the interval. Armagh did however produce some good hurling in the second half and outscored their opponents 1-12 to 0-7 with Cormac Toner hitting 0-3 and Shea Gaffney converting a penalty. Ryan Gaffney finished the game with 0-6 and Dylan McKenna in his first competitive outing for Armagh seniors hit 0-2. Full time Ard Mhacha 2-19 UUJ 4-21
Ard Mhacha: Conleth Lavery, Michael Cartmill, Artie McGuinness, Ryan Conway, Paudie Lappin, Shea Gaffney 1-1 (1-0 pen), Cormac Toner 0-3, Tiarnán Nevin, James King, Stephen Keenan 0-1, Ryan Gaffney 0-6 (0-5 f), Eoin McGuinness 0-1, Dylan McKenna 0-2, Conor Cartmill, Dean Gaffney
Ionadaithe: Conor Corvan 0-2, Connor Devlin 0-1, Ciarán Clifford, John Corvan 0-1, Cahal Carvill, Connor McAnallen 0-1