Armagh Championship Match Reports

Senior Championship

Sarsfields 2-8 Ballymacnab 2-17

The margin separating the side at the final whistle may suggest a one sided contest but this game was anything but and it wasn’t until Gavin McParland’s 55th minute goal that the game was decided. Ballymacnab led from the opening minute to the last but were given a testing time by the home side.

It was McParland who got his sides’ first point with the first shot of the game before he turned provider to set up a Jack Grugan goal, firing Ballymacnab into a four point lead after just two minutes. Eamon McGeown got the hosts up and running but Ballymacnab remained on top with McParland nabbing his second while Cormac Gribben also split the posts.

The High Moss club got themselves back into contention with Paul McGeown (free) and Paul McGaughey reducing the margin to three. McGaughey hit a second, splitting scores from Rory Grugan and Gavin McParland before Sean Skelton cut through the Nab defence and buried the ball to the net, with Sarsfields now within a point of the leaders.

Ballymacnab would dominate on the scoreboard for the final five minutes of the half with Jack Grugan chipping over three points in a row before Sarsfields replied through Eamon McGeown. Gavin McParland closed the scoring for the half with his 4th point to see Ballymacnab ahead at the interval 1-9 to 1-5.

The use of the McGeown brothers Eamon and Paul as a two target men on the edge of the square troubled the Ballymacnab defence and it was Paul McGeown who opened the scoring for the second period. Pauric Gribben and Jack Grugan extended the Nabs advantage to five before Colin Stevenson struck for goal five minutes into the second period.

With Sarsfields continuing to pressure Ballymacnab up stepped Ryan Watters who kicked two massive points to give his side some breathing space. The wing half forward could have added to his personal tally but was denied a three pointer as the crossbar came to the rescue for the hosts.

Paul Meegan tagged on a further score for Ballymacnab while Paul McGeown hit two in a row for his side. James Gray popped up from his defence duties to help ease Ballymacnab further in front before Gavin McParland’s powerful shot was blocked down and ricochet into the Sarsfields net. McParland added a 45 to bring his tally to 1-5 before Brian McCone hit the insurance point one minute from time with Ballymacnab securing a nine point victory.

Ballymacnab: Conor McGivern, Ciaran Connelly, Cormac Gribben (0-1), Chris Loughran, Sean Lynch, Michael Beagan, James Gray (0-1), Rory Grugan (0-1), Pauric Gribben (0-1), Cormac McKee, Oisin McGivern, Ryan Watters (0-2), Gavin McParland (1-5), Jack Grugan (1-4), Brian McCone (0-1). Subs: Colm McKee for C. Loughran, Paul Meegan (0-1) for Cormac McKee, Ryan Kennedy for Colm McKee, Joe Gribben for J. Grugan.

Sarsfields: Christopher Scullion, Peter Stevenson, Declan Breen, Darragh O’Hanlon, Sean McAlinden, Sean Skelton (1-0), Aaron McGaughey, Brian Lavery, Eamon McGeown (0-2), Colin Stevenson (1-0), Paul McGaughey (0-2), Niall Kerr, Kevin McAlinden, Paul McGeown (0-4), Michael Stevenson. Subs: Caolan Skelton for A. McGaughey, Ruairi Blaney for P. McGaughey, Paul Magee for S. Skelton.

Madden 1-9 Maghery 0-6

Madden provided the Senior Championship with the first major shock of the competition with a deserving six point victory over League Champions Maghery. The Raparees enjoyed home advantage and played the game in a calm and controlled manner with Niall Grimley leading from the front in the middle of the field.

Maghery were missing a few regulars in Stefan Forker, Ronan Lappin and Stephen Cusack but their lacklustre and below power display couldn’t be excused.  The game was low scoring although the better chances undoubtedly fell to the home side who could have pulled away by more had they made the most of their several opportunities.   

Aidan Forker pointed when the game was just two minutes old with a well struck 45 but the sides were level within five minutes as Conor Grimley stroked over a brilliant point. Paul Forker handed Maghery the led with his first score before Niall Grimley fired his side one ahead with two fascinating placed ball efforts.

Aidan Forker would level the game with a converted free of his own while John Mackle traded scores with Niall Smith whose foraging runs forward caused the visitors problems all evening long. This was to be the final score of the half with Madden the happiest heading into the break as the sides were level 0-4 each.

If Madden were pleased with their first half efforts then their second half performances will be remembered for a long time as they held Maghery to just two pointed frees as they pulled away to a deserving win. Two points from Ciaran Rafferty and the busy Conor Grimley gave Madden the lead before Aidan Forker halved the margin.

Niall Grimley and Forker traded frees two minutes apart before the defining score of the game came in the 50th minute. The elusive Niall Smith drifted forward into a goal scoring area only to be clattered by the Maghery net minder with the referee pointing to the spot for a Madden penalty.

Up stepped Aron McKenna who comfortably tucked the ball away into the bottom corner of the net to send the home side four ahead. Further points were added by Niall Grimley (2) to see out a brilliantly well deserved Madden victory which now puts the men in red and black in pole position to top the group.

Madden Scorers: Niall Grimley (0-5), Aron McKenna (1-0), Conor Grimley (0-2) Ciaran Rafferty (0-1), Niall Smith (0-1)

Maghery Scorers: Aidan Forker (0-4), Paul Forker (0-1), John Mackle (0-1)

Granemore 0-15 Armagh Harps 1-11

A Jason O’Neill fisted point was enough to secure the victory for home side Granemore who edged the physical stakes on the night and were full value of their win. The Harps will rue some of their missed goal chances in the opening half, particularly a 27th minute penalty which was turned away from goal by Granemore shot stopper Kevin Kelly.

Jason O’Neill opened the scoring with a point five minutes after the first whistle while Granemore doubled their lead with the next attack, Cathal O’Hare this time raising the white flag. Gareth Swift pointed from a placed ball to close the gap before O’Neill hit his second with eight minutes played.

Pete Carr’s effort three minutes later saw the hosts take a four point lead but a five minute burst from Armagh Harps meant the visitors took a one point advantage with Tom O’Kane (2), Charlie Vernon and Karol Loughran all getting in on the action. Granemore grabbed an equaliser when Liam Doyle’s high ball was captured by Kieran Toner who in turn provided the assist for Jason O’Neill’s third.

The Harps could have been out of sight but for some great defending as a goal line clearance from Darren Hughes, once Gareth Swift had rounded the keeper, meant the Harps had to settle for a point as Karol Loughran struck the resulting 45. Granemore did tag on a levelling score from Cathal O’Hare when his one-two with Louis Hughes allowed him to find the space to fire the ball between the uprights.

Then came the penalty miss as Swift was again the man with the chance but was denied by the diving Kevin Kelly who averted the danger. Liam Doyle struck the final point of the first half with a free kick to see his side lead by the minimum of margins at the break, Granemore 0-7 Armagh Harps 0-6.

Brendan Boylan launched a long ball goal bound straight from the throw in and saw his kick bounce in front of the keeper and over the bar before Gareth Swift hit a free to bring it back to a one point game. Tom O’Kane levelled matters moments later before Louis Hughes opened his account and restored Granemore’s slim advantage.

A free flowing move saw Kieran Toner kick his first, although he did trouble the defence for the duration of the contest. Armagh Harps came roaring back into the game with Gareth Swift the man pulling them through. He kicked another from the dead ball before Shane McKeown pass across the square was palmed home by Swift to put the Harps in front mid way through the second half.

Granemore remained resilient and Jason O’Neill traded scores with Tom O’Kane while Cathal O’Hare ventured forward once again to score as did Pete Carr who drew the game. O’Kane edged the Harps ahead before a long range free kicked from the boot of Liam Doyle sailed between the posts to make matters all square once more.

On the kick out the Harps gained possession only to be overturned by a Louis Hughes interception with the youngster setting off another Granemore attack and the most important of the game. The ball made its way to Jason O’Neill who sensibly fisted the winning score with Granemore ahead 0-15 to 1-11 at the final whistle.

Granemore: Jason O’Neill (0-5), Cathal O’Hare (0-3), Liam Doyle (0-2) Pete Carr (0-2), Brendan Boylan (0-1), Louis Hughes (0-1), Kieran Toner (0-1).

Armagh Harps: Gareth Swift (1-3), Tom O’Kane (0-5), Karol Loughran (0-2), Charlie Vernon (0-1).

Clann Eireann 0-9 Crossmaglen 3-18

Clann Eireann were no match for the reigning Senior Champions and Crossmaglen defended their crown with a powerful second half performance. The away side led by just six at the break but with the assistance of a strong breeze for the final 30 minutes they made their advantage felt keenly on the score board.

The first 15 minutes of the contest was a very even affair with the sides locked on four points each, Aaron Kernan (2), Stephen Morris and Colin O’Connor all scoring for the away side. Clann Eireann slotted over a point to give them the lead but it was short lived as Cross went on a scoring spree with Kernan (3), Cian McConville and Johnny Hanratty all scoring.

Clann Eireann hit another point before the opening goal of the contest came through Mel Boyce who finished superbly to the Clann Eireann net to reinforce their strong lead, after a fine pass from Oisin O’Neill. This saw the action end for the half time break with Cross ahead 1-9 to 0-6.

Things didn’t get much better for the home side and it was all Cross during the second period as they opened the scoring with an Alan Farrelly goal. Firmly in control of the game and playing with the wind Crossmaglen continued to add to their tally with a Cian McConville point before Boyce hit the net for the second time.

Clann Eireann raised a white flag but couldn’t halt the Rangers momentum as they hit six points without reply with McConville (3), Oisin O’Neill, Stephen Morris and Callum Cumiskey all finding their range. Aaron Kernan and O’Neill swapped scores with the opposition to see out the game, with Crossmaglen winning in dominant fashion.

Intermediate Championship

Crossmaglen II 1-11 Mullaghbawn 1-16

Crossmaglen played hosts to Mullaghbawn for their second round clash, with the away side the favourites before the throw in. Cross won the toss and opted to play with the strong breeze for the first period but the Rangers didn’t benefit from the wind as they trailed at the interval by five points.

Captain Ryan Conlon did open the scoring for Cross with the game just seconds old while Mullaghbawn soon replied with a point of their own. Mullaghbawn struck the net from their next attack after good link up play saw them move the ball up the field at pace and with purpose to put them into an early lead.

The home side drew level through two Callum Kieran efforts while Ryan Conlon pointed from a free to tie the game. Mullaghbawn soon found themselves in front once again with three points of their own to leave the goal the difference between the sides as the game entered the second quarter.

Some super goalkeeping from Cross number one Stephen Ogle prevented Mullaghbawn from extending their advantage as both sides continued to miss chances. Crossmaglen kicked a further two points while Mullaghbawn raised four white flags to see out the opening half with the away side in front 0-6 to 1-8.

Both sides exchanged scores within the first few moments of the second half with Ryan Conlon again popping over a free kick for Cross while Mullaghbawn answered with a placed ball conversion of their own before they were reduced to 14 players when Barry McKinley received his marching orders for a second bookable offence.

This handed the Rangers a lifeline and both teams scored points before Shane McConville split the posts mid way through the half to leave the gap at four. Callum Kieran added to his early scores with a goal to reduce the deficit to the minimum of margins with the momentum now in the hosts favour.

Mullaghbawn’s response was quick and clinical as they struck three points without reply in a matter of minutes to restore a comfortable lead. Liam Finnegan scored a point to keep Cross in touch but a brace from Mullaghbawn ended proceedings with the eventual winners the best team on the night winning 1-16 to 1-11.

Carrickcruppen 1-13 Whitecross 3-7

Whitecross made the short journey to Camlough on Friday evening for a local derby clash with Carrickcruppen in round two of the Intermediate Championship. A high scoring first half was met with the opposite in the second period as Carrickcruppen limited Whitecross to just three points in the second 30 minutes to earn a draw.

Whitecross got off to a great start playing against a strong breeze and within four minutes of the opening whistle Cathal McSherry had racked up 1-2 from play to the home sides 0-1. Whitecross continued to attack in devastating fashion with Ryan McSherry hitting a further two goals to put seven between the sides by the end of the opening quarter.

Six pointed frees from goalkeeper Blaine Hughes and Eoin Woods saw Carrickcruppen claw their way back into the contest but Whitecross were able to add another two scores to the board before the short whistle with the visitors just ahead at the break, Carrickcruppen 0-11 Whitecross 3-4.

After the interval both sides exchanged points from open play with Aidan Finnegan hitting the target for the away side before Neil McSherry also raised a white flag. Carrickcruppen came bouncing back into the game when a high ball played to the square was smashed to the back of the net to put the home side in front for the first time with 15 minutes remaining.

The clock ran into injury time with Whitecross pressing hard to try and salvage something from the game and the chance fell to Neil McSherry who fired over the equaliser to make sure his side weren’t going home empty handed with Whitecross taking a share of the spoils on a score line of Carrickcruppen 1-13 Whitecross 3-7.

An Port Mor 1-17 St Paul’s 3-9

An Port Mor scrapped through a tough affair against St Paul’s on Saturday evening but were deserving victors after 60 minutes of action. Cormac Kierans top scored on the night, finishing with 1-2 to his name with the all important three pointer coming mid way through the second half, seeing An Port Mor over the line.

It was the home side who gained the advantage in the early minutes with David Curran and Michael Gartland hitting two points in as many minutes. St Paul’s replied instantly and were level in a matter of moments when Ordhan Magill and Eoin McConville pointed, McConville a constant threat to An Port Mor all evening.

The hosts edged ahead once again with Cormac Kierans opening his account while St Paul’s shot into the lead after nine minutes with Ordhan Magill raising the first green flag of the net. An Port Mor replied emphatically and with four points on the trot through Shane Nugent (3) and David Curran they once again held the upper hand.

St Paul’s came roaring back however and once again rattled the back of the net with the goal coming this time through Ryan Lawless. An Port Mor continued to find their groove and saw out the half with four unanswered points with Caolan Rice, Shane Nugent, Gary Traynor and Mark Curran all hitting the target to leave the half time score An Port Mor 0-11 St Paul’s 2-2.

The goals kept St Paul’s alive in the opening period but they didn’t shy away from their point taking ability in the second half as they hit three of the first four points in the third quarter. Michael Gartland saw his early effort cancelled out by two Eoin McConville points while Niall McParland’s score left one the margin.

An Port Mor were able to keep the opposition at arm’s length however when Cormac Kierans goal saw them take a four point lead while Kierans was again on target for a point following a Gary Traynor score. St Paul’s fought back and points from Eoin McConville, Niall McParland and Odhran Magill brought them back into the contest.

Gary Traynor traded scores with Peadar Nash before Niall McParland struck for goal to make it a one point game with four minutes remaining. Oisin Campbell ended the half with an excellent score to see An Port Mor win 1-17 to 3-9.

An Port Mor Scorers: Cormac Kierans (1-2), Shane Nugent (0-4), Gary Traynor (0-3), David Curran (0-2), Michael Gartland (0-2), Oisin Campbell (0-2), Mark Curran (0-1), Caolan Rice (0-1)

St Paul’s Scorers: Niall McParland (1-2), Eoin McConville (0-4), Odhran Magill (1-1), Ryan Lawless (1-0), Darren Fox (0-1), Peadar Nash (0-1)

Junior Championship

Derrynoose 1-17 Corrinshego 1-8

Derrynoose enter the quarter final stages of the competition with three wins from three as they overcame Corrinshego on Saturday evening. They didn’t have it all their own way however as the home side led by just three at the half time break before pulling away in the second half to win by nine.

Conor McNally opened the scoring in the first minute but his early effort was soon cancelled out with a Corrinshego point. McNally again swapped scores with the away side before Pearse Lennon scored the first goal of the day with the game just ten minutes old. Corrinshego were within a point of the leaders soon as two points in quick succession left the margin at one.

Conor McNally saw his third point matched once again by Corrinshego before Pearse Lennon and Stephen Keenan raised white flags to give Derrynoose a three point advantage. The game was level with three minutes of the opening half left as Corrinshego hit their only goal of the day leaving the sides drawn 1-8 each.

Derrynoose saw out the opening half strongly as Conor McNally once again exchanged scores with the Corrinshego attack while scores from McNally (2) and Pauric McNaughton gave Derrynoose a three point lead at the half time break, the score Derrynoose 1-9 Corrinshego 1-6.

Derrynoose had 0-8 on the board before the visitors got their first and only score of the second half with McNally leading from the front adding six points to his ever growing tally while Aaron Fox and Pearse Lennon also chipped in with scores. Corrinshego hit the final score of the game but the game was beyond doubt as Derrynoose won 1-17 to 1-8.