Armagh hurlers travelled to Queen’s University on Sunday to play their final league game in the Conor McGurk tournament against Antrim.
The game started off a tight enough affair with both sides trading scores, with David Carvill assuming free-taking responsibilities in the absence of Ryan Gaffney. When Antrim got in for three consecutive points, the Armagh men refused to panic and hit three of their own through Carvill and Declan Coulter to bring the minimum between the sides. In the final ten minutes of the half, Armagh were left to rue a number of wides as Antrim proved more accurate, adding a further five points.
Ht Ard Mhacha 0-6 Aontroim 0-12
Coulter opened the second half scoring with one from a free and one from play. Some good work in the Armagh defence kept the Antrim tally down to a point early on. Armagh created their first chance on goal when Cahal Carvill caught the ball and dodged a number of defenders only for his effort to be stopped on the line. David Carvill added to his tally with another free, but Antrim steadied and hit three consecutive scores.
Ten minutes into the half, Eoin McGuinness was on hand to win a high ball and turn to put it over the bar for a lovely score, while at the other end Simon Doherty pulled off a great save to prevent the Saffrons running away with the game at this stage. Following a great run through the middle, Peter McKearney found himself upended and the resulting free in landed in the square with the Armagh forwards stretching to try and get a touch on it, but the sliotar was scrambled away out of danger. Two further points from David Carvill and one from Cahal Carvill brought the scores to 0-17 to 0-13 in favour of Antrim. But with ten minutes remaining, Antrim took control and pushed on hitting seven points and a goal with the final puck of the ball.
Ft Ard Mhacha 0-15 Aontroim 1-24
While the game finished in a comprehensive win for Antrim, the final scoreline does not reflect the performance put in by the Armagh men right across the field. Manager Sylvester McConnell will take plenty of positives from this game as he prepares for their opening league game against Down in the Athletic Grounds in four weeks time.
Ard Mhacha: Simon Doherty, Ciarán Clifford, Adam Toal, Connor Devlin, Tiarnán Nevin, Nathan Curry, Cormac Toner, Paddy McGrane, Declan Coulter 0-5 (0-2f), Peter McKearney, David Carvill 0-7 (0-3 f), Eoin McGuinness 0-1, Odhrán Curry, John Corvan, Cahal Carvill 0-2
Subs used: Stephen Keenan, Aaron Fox, Dylan McKenna, Ryan Conway, Shaun Toal, Paddy Kelly