Feeney guides Mayo to Rackard Cup win
Nicky Rackard Cup Final
Mayo 2-16 Armagh 1-15
By Paul Keane at Croke Park
Kenny Feeney's 1-9 haul at Croke Park proved decisive as Mayo held firm and finished strong to claim a first ever Nicky Rackard Cup title.
The sides were level twice in the closing minutes as Armagh did their best to avoid back to back final defeats in the competition.
But just like last year's decider defeat to Roscommon, the Ulster men were suckered by late scores as Mayo hit four points in a row to win it.
Feeney was at the heart of the strong finish with two of those four points, while Sean Regan and substitute Corey Scahill got the other points.
It was a strong response from Mayo who were relegated from the Christy Ring Cup last year.
They overcame Armagh in Round 2 back in late April and enjoyed a strong start here with a Darren McTigue goal after just three minutes. Feeney added a point, his first of four in the opening half, and suddenly Mayo led by four.
Another burst of three points without reply from JP Coen's outfit left them sitting pretty at 1-4 to 0-3 up after 21 minutes.
Five Armagh points in a row, however, put the Orchard County ahead for the first time in the 34th minute and a tit-for-tat encounter ensued.
Declan Coulter was to the fore with two of those Armagh points and three in total for the half though an injury-time Mayo point from Feeney tied it up at half-time, 1-6 to 0-9.
Armagh kicked themselves for shooting 11 first-half wides but made no mistake just moments into the second-half when Eoin McGuinness struck for a well worked goal.
Coulter took off on a lengthy solo run before playing in McGuinness for a close range finish.
Both sides swapped the lead in an entertaining second-half and the sides were level on four occasions in total.
Feeney's 57th minute goal put Mayo 2-11 to 1-11 ahead, but Armagh, typically, fought back to level it again with points from Conor Corvan, Coulter, McGuinness, and Ryan Gaffney.
Mayo had saved their best for late on though and conjured those four points to seal an impressive win.
Scorers for Mayo: K Feeney 1-9 (6fs), D McTigue 1-0, F Boland 0-2, S Regan 0-2, J McManus 0-1, S Boland 0-1, C Scahill 0-1.
Scorers for Armagh: D Coulter 0-5, E McGuinness 1-1, R Gaffney 0-4 (3f, 1 65), C Carvill 0-2, C Corvan 0-2, D Carvill 0-1.
Mayo: D O'Brien; E Collins, G McManus, B Hunt; A Lyons, K Higgins, C Freeman; D Kenny, C Charlton; S Regan, K Feeney, J McManus; S Boland, P O'Flynn, D McTigue.
Subs: P Connell for Lyons (38), F Boland for McTigue (43), C Scahill for O'Flynn (55), K McDermott for Hunt (62), G Nolan for S Boland (70).
Armagh: S Doherty; C Clifford, A McGuinness, C Devlin; J Corvan, N Curry, C Toner; K McKernan, S Renaghan; R Gaffney, C Carvill, D Carvill; D Coulter, E McGuinness, C Corvan.
Subs: J King for Renaghan (56), P McKearney for J Corvan (58), O Curry for Coulter (67).
Referee: Johnny Murphy (Limerick).