Derry win Nicky Rackard Cup
Nicky Rackard Cup Final
DERRY 3-23 ARMAGH 2-15
By Paul Keane at Croke Park
Goalscorers Alan Grant, Gerald Bradley and Brian Cassidy combined to power Derry to Nicky Rackard Cup success at Croke Park, their second at the grade.
Two years on from being denied a maiden Christy Ring Cup title, the Oak Leafers strode to an impressive win over their Ulster counterparts.
Dual stars Chrissy McKaigue and Brendan Rogers, who helped Slaughtneil to Ulster club titles in both codes, and recently played against Tyrone in the Ulster football championship, contributed 0-6 between them.
It's an agonising third consecutive final defeat for Armagh who were burned off by the scoring power of a Derry side that has now claimed a remarkable 17 goals in just three games.
Grant gave Derry the best possible start when he opened the game's scoring with their first goal early on.
The wing-forward flicked cleverly from a pack of players into open space and ran onto it before beating the 'keeper in a one-on-one.
Armagh's response was impressive as they registered the next four points through Nathan Curry, Eoin McGuinness and David Carvill to take a brief lead.
Derry hit back themselves with five points in a row, three of which came from placed ball expert Grant to open up a 1-5 to 0-4 lead.
Armagh were guilty of wasteful play up front and fired seven first-half wides.
They were costly misses as Grant brought his own tally to 1-4 for the afternoon with a 32nd minute Derry point and the excellent Bradley hit his third point from play.
Derry closed out the half with back to back points from full-forward Cassidy to take a commanding 1-9 to 0-6 lead into the interval.
Armagh, who lost their Round 1 encounter to Donegal back in April, lacked the sort of cutting edge that saw them rack up subsequent tallies of 0-23, 4-20 and 2-25 in the competition.
Ryan Gaffney did hit 55th and 69th minute goals but the game was already out of their reach at that stage.
In their sixth final, and seeking a third win at the grade to match the successes of 2010 and 2012, Armagh were ultimately consigned to their fourth final defeat as Derry maintained control of the game throughout the second-half.
Rogers pointed after the restart before Bradley's goal, a close range bullet to the net, and suddenly Derry were 2-10 to 0-6 clear.
Substitute Ruairi Convery added four points for Derry while McKaigue came into his own with three long range scores.
Derry's third goal came just before the hour mark when Rogers took off on a solo run down the left and passed across to Cassidy who spun away from the defence before slotting to the net.
Armagh captain David Carvill hit seven points but Derry were always comfortably ahead and scored the last three points of the game, through Cassidy, Rogers and Convery.
Scorers for Derry: Alan Grant 1-5 (0-4f), Brian Cassidy 1-4, Gerald Bradley 1-3, Ruairi Convery 0-4 (0-3f), Chrissy McKaigue 0-3, Brendan Rogers 0-3, Cormac Doherty 0-1.
Scorers for Armagh: David Carvill 0-7 (0-6f), Ryan Gaffney 2-0, Cahal Carvill 0-3, Eoin McGuinness 0-2, Nathan Curry 0-1, Connor Corvan 0-1, Dean Gaffney 0-1.
DERRY: Darryl McDermott; Paddy Turner, Sean Cassidy, Darragh McCloskey; Paul Cleary, Oisin McCloskey, Liam Og Hinphey; Conor McAllister, Chrissy McKaigue; Alan Grant, Mehaul McGrath, Gerald Bradley; Brendan Rogers, Brian Cassidy, Cian Waldron. Subs: Kevin Hinphey for Grant (12-13), K Hinphey for McAllister (23), Naoise Waldron for Turner (h/t), Cormac Doherty for Cian Waldron (46), Ruairi Convery for Grant (47), Brian Og McGilligan for Cleary (60).
ARMAGH: Simon Doherty; Ciaran Clifford, Artie McGuinness, Tiarnan Nevin; John Corvan, Paul Gaffney, Connor Devlin; Nathan Curry, Odhran Curry; Dylan McKenna, Eoin McGuinness, Connor Corvan; David Carvill, Ryan Gaffney, Cahal Carvill. Subs: Fiachra Bradley for McKenna (30), D Magee for A McGuinness (h/t), Dean Gaffney for E McGuinness (60), David Bridges for Devlin (62), Caily Gorman for C Corvan (71).
Referee: Shane Hynes (Galway).