Hurlers finish league campaign on a high

Armagh 1-25 Tyrone 2-19

As expected, it was tight going in the Athletic Grounds on Saturday afternoon as Armagh took on old rivals Tyrone to bring their national league campaign to a close.

The two teams were on level terms six times throughout the contest, but Armagh had enough in the end to get over the line.

The sides were equally matched throughout the opening half, the difference being Armagh’s goal after seven minutes of action.

Danny Magee’s first half major was a massive score in this close affair, and he had Stephen McKearney’s tricky run to thank for creating the chance.

The Derrynoose man weaved between the flying tackles and sent the ball through to the home sides attacking third.

A scramble in the six-yard box saw the ball spill out to Magee and the Sean Treacy’s sharpshooter slipped the ball into an open net.

That goal left Armagh three up at the interval, but huge credit also must go to the Orchard net-minder Simon Doherty, who pulled off a superb save at point blank range.

Tyrone weren’t to be denied in the second half however when a long ball to the square was slammed home by dangerman Damien Casey.

It was Casey who levelled the game just after the second water break, the first time the sides were tied since the 5th minute.

This began an end-to-end period where neither side could really push on for victory without being pegged back by the opposition.

Donnelly and Peter McKearney opened up a two-point lead after Tyrone’s three-pointer, but Ciaran Logan, Casey and Bryan McGurk nudged the visitors ahead by one.

Eoin McGuinness steadied the ship with a levelling score while second half substitute Tiarnan O’Neill also pointed to edge Padraig O’Connor’s men in front once again.

The Red Hand County did hit the net for a second time with the final score of the game from ex-Antrim star CJ McGourty.

The result was beyond doubt at that stage however as Armagh powered to a three-point triumph with a dominate final quarter.

Points from McGuinness, Shaun Toal, McKearney and Donnelly (4) in those final ten minutes saw Armagh stretch the gap to six and just before the final goal.

It’s back to the same venue in two weeks’ time for both sides as they clash in the opening round of the Nicky Rackard Cup.

Tyrone will be out for revenge while Armagh will hope the momentum picked up from today’s win can carry over in a fortnight.

Armagh Scorers: Fionntan Donnelly 0-14, Danny Magee 1-1, Eoin McGuinness 0-3, Peter McKearney 0-2, Stephen McKearney 0-1, Mark McClatchey 0-1, Paddy McBride 0-1, Shaun Toal 0-1, Tiernan O’Neill 0-1.