Shane O’Neill’s 1-6 Armagh Harps 0-16
Armagh Harps opened their championship account for 2023 with a seven point victory away from home again Shane O’Neill’s.
Harps raced into the lead at the start of the game, raising the first four white flags, through four different scorers.
Captain Declan McKenna got things up and running after three minutes, while James McCoy (free) doubled their lead.
Joe McElroy split the posts with a dead ball effort while midfielder Tadhg Grimley extended their advantage to four.
Raymond Fitzpatrick got Shane O’Neill’s off the mark with a sensational free, off the ground, from close to the sideline.
Ryan ‘Mini’ McShane chipped in with a score, as did Harps dangerman Luke McKeever at the end of the first quarte.
Aodhan Conlon nailed a free, which was soon cancelled out by McShane to restore a five-point lead for the Harps.
Youngster Keegan Grant scored, followed by another Fitzpatrick free, before Grimley ended the scoring for the first half. The Harps lead 8-4 at the halfway stage.
Ryan McCabe knocked over the first point of the second half, but that was matched by a dead ball effort from McKeever.
McShane and McKenna added to their first half scores, while Ryan Quinn nailed a free for last year’s Intermediate champions.
Conor Murphy added another for the harps before Conlon claimed the only goal of the game to give Shane O’Neill’s a lifeline.
McKeever hit a free before Shane O’Neill’s lost Greg McCabe to a black card. Murphy and Conlon swapped scores near the end.
The Harps finished strongly, growing their winning margin to six with late scores from McElroy and goalkeeper John Daly (45).
It’s the perfect start for the Harps in a game that looked a potential banana skin from the outset.