Ring, Rackard, and Meagher Cups round-up
By Colm Shalvey
Christy Ring Cup
Carlow and Antrim will contest the Christy Ring Cup Final.
Carlow qualified with a comfortable win at home to Wicklow.
A dominant Carlow hit 13 of the first 15 scores, with Denis Murphy and John Michael Nolan in prolific form. An Eoin McCormack goal was one of just two responses in the first half-hour from Wicklow, who were ten points adrift (0-16 to 1-3) at half-time. George O’Brien netted to give Wicklow hope after the restart, but with Murphy (0-8), Nolan (0-5) and Marty Kavanagh (0-3) leading the way, Carlow ran out 0-24 to 2-8 winners to advance to their first final since 2009.
Antrim were even more dominant as they saw off neighbours Down in Cushendall.
Goals by Conor Johnston and Ciarán Clarke helped Antrim lead by 2-12 to 0-7 at half-time and when Clarke bagged his second major just after the restart, the Saffrons were well on their way to their second successive appearance in the final. Neil McManus and Conor Carson were also among the point scorers for Antrim, who had a fourth goal late on from Johnston to seal a 4-23 to 0-15 victory.
Nicky Rackard Cup
Armagh qualified for their third consecutive Nicky Rackard Cup Final at the expense of local rivals Tyrone in Carrickmore.
David Carvill hit 1-5 as Armagh raced into an 11-point lead by the time the hosts got off the mark. The best efforts of the likes of Damien Casey and goal-scorer Brian McGurk couldn’t get Tyrone back into contention, as Nathan Curry converted a penalty to help Armagh finish well clear at 2-25 to 1-14.
Derry will be Armagh’s opponents, in their first Nicky Rackard Final since 2006, after they proved too strong for Monaghan in Inniskeen.
Dónal Meegan was prominent for Monaghan as they stayed in touch in the early exchanges, but goals by Brian Cassidy and Brendan Rogers saw Derry take charge. Tadhg Campbell got one back for Monaghan, only for Rogers to end up with a hat-trick and Ruairí Convery also rattle the net from a free as Derry ended up convincing winners on a 6-17 to 1-12 scoreline.
Lory Meagher Cup
Leitrim are through to the Lory Meagher Cup Final after an exciting win over Sligo in Carrick-on-Shannon.
A brace of goals from Pádraig O’Donnell got Leitrim off to a flying start, but Sligo came roaring back with three-pointers from Matthew Davey (two) and Michael Gilmartin, leaving them within the minimum at half-time: 2-7 to 3-3. O’Donnell continued to lead the way for Leitrim in the second half and although Keith Raymond and Cormac Behan kept Sligo in touch, a late goal by Zak Moradi saw the hosts pull away for a 3-15 to 3-8 win that elevated them into second place.
Fellow finalists Warwickshire finished the group stage with a 100% record after they had a 1-15 to 1-10 win over Lancashire in Manchester. John Reddin got the goal for Warwickshire, with Shane Caulfield also on form, and even though Ronan Crowley kept up his prolific form for Lancashire, they couldn’t sign off with a win.
Cavan got their first win since returning to senior inter-county hurling against Fermanagh in Lisbellaw.
Goals by Kevin Conneely and John and Colum Sheanon had Cavan in command at 3-12 to 0-7 up by half-time. Seán Corrigan led Fermanagh’s scoring once again, but another Colum Sheanon major helped Cavan finish their campaign with a 4-17 to 0-17 win.