Orchard lose out in championship opener

Armagh 1-12 Donegal 0-22

Armagh suffered a seven-point defeat at the hands of Donegal on Saturday afternoon in the opening round of the championship.

The Orchard County were well in the game, but the travelling side finished the brighter of the two teams.

Armagh were also reduced to 14 men midway through the second half, with hampered their chances.

Conor Gartland traded scores with Paul Gaffney early on before Liam McKinney gave the visitors an early lead.

It was short lived however as Armagh burst ahead through sharpshooter Alex O’Boyle, who pulled on a loose ball and fired it to the net.

Gaffney slotted over a second as O’Boyle exchanged pointed efforts with Gilmore, Ruairi Campbell and the unstoppable McKinney.

A superb sideline cut point from Gilmore narrowed the gap while McKinney levelled the game.

That kickstarted a scoring spree that yielded five-points on the trot for Donegal while Joe O’Connor traded scores with Ruairi Campbell.

Donegal could have grabbed a goal themselves but for some heroic defending from the home side.

Josh Cronolly McGee saw his effort blocked down by Kieran McKernan and Armagh pointed with an O’Boyle free from the resulting counterattack.

Gartland claimed his second of the day to bring the half to a close, with Donegal ahead 0-13 to 1-7.

Armagh suffered a seven-point defeat at the hands of Donegal on Saturday afternoon in the opening round of the championship.
Photo Credit: Finbar Burns

Aaron Fox closed the gap at the start of the second period, but his effort was cancelled out by former Armagh attacker Declan Coulter.

McGee and O’Connor swapped scores before O’Boyle narrowed the gap to two. Connor Renaghan then picked up a red card moments after coming on.

Donegal pushed on and landed the next two scores through McKinney and Gilmore. Substitute Ciaran Duffy and O’Boyle kept Armagh in touch.

Donegal finished with a flurry, firing over the final five points of the game through Gilmore (free), Sean Ward, Peter Kelly and a McKinney brace.

It’s Louth up next in the championship as Armagh take on Louth in the second round of the Nickey Rackard Cup next weekend.

Armagh: Fintan Woods, David Ryan, Paul Gaffney 0-2, Niall Lennon, Kieran McKernan, Oisin O’Hare, Tiarnan Nevin, Barry Shortt, Aaron Fox 0-1, Dillon Fox, Stephen Renaghan, Alex O’Boyle 1-6 (5f), Joe O’Connor 0-2, Sean Og McGuinness, Tiarnan O’Hare. Subs: Connor Renaghan for T. O’Hare (46 mins), Ciaran Duffy 0-1 for S. McGuinness (55 mins), Kane Laverty for D. Ryan (57 mins), Tam McKavanagh for J. O’Connor (63 mins).

Donegal: Luke White, Ciaran Curran, Stephen McBride, Gavin Browne, Stephen Gillespie, Sean McVeigh, Jack O’Loughlin, Gerard Gilmore 0-7 (5f), Conor O’Grady, Oisin Grant, Brian McIntyre, Ruairi Campbell 0-3, Josh Cronolly McGee 0-1, Liam McKinney 0-6, Conor Gartland 0-2. Subs: Declan Coulter 0-1 for G. Browne (half-time), Oisin Kelly for S Gillespie (44 mins), Sean Ward 0-1 for O. Grant (54 mins), Peter Kelly 0-1 for B. McIntyre (60 mins), Ryan Hilferty for J. Cronolly McGee (67 mins).