Allianz HL D3A: Roscommon power past Armagh
Allianz Hurling League Division 3A Final
Kevin Egan reports from Páirc Tailteann
A topsy-turvy league campaign that saw Roscommon fail to pick up a win in their first three starts against Mayo, Louth and Fermanagh had a happy ending for the Connacht county this afternoon in Navan, as they overcame Armagh to secure the Allianz Hurling League Division 3A title and make up for last year’s relegation.
The Rossies racked up a landslide win at Dr. Hyde Park in the round robin stages of this division and it looked like they might win with plenty to spare here again when they burst out the blocks with three points in the first six minutes, playing some very clever and clinical hurling through the lines. Mickey Joe Egan got an outstanding afternoon for himself and his team up and running with two early points, and though Armagh got off their mark with their first score from Fiontán Donnelly free, a goal from Conor Mulry in the tenth minute pushed the lead out to five points.
Roscommon had the aid of the breeze in the opening half and looked sharp up front throughout, but they were more vulnerable at the back than they would have liked, and needed goalkeeper Enda Lawless to come up with some outstanding saves to keep them in the game, with Armagh’s Tomás Galvin hugely unlucky not to find the net on a couple of occasions.
Just as it had done in the Hyde three weeks ago, inaccuracy from dead balls also plagued the Orchard men, and while five of their six first-half points came from the stick of the Lámh Dhearg man, they could easily have been a lot closer than 1-9 to 0-6 at the break.
That still left them well in contention with a strong breeze set to blow at their backs in the second half, but they continued to struggle up front, while Roscommon always seemed to have an answer every time Armagh registered a score.
Eoin Fitzgerald had a very good game before he was carried off with a late injury, while teenager Paddy Fallon continued his own exceptional form, shooting four of his seven points from play, as well as playing a key part in the team’s second goal, rifled to the roof of the net by Mickey Joe Egan after Fallon seized an errant puckout 50 metres from the Armagh goal and quickly whipped the ball into his colleague.
Tiarnán Nevin and Cormac Jennings tacked on late points for Armagh as they chased the game through ten minutes of injury time, but they needed goals and Enda Lawless, Mark Ward and Conor Cosgrove all came up with excellent blocks and hooks at various stages to ensure that never came to pass.
The sides will meet again in the Nickey Rackard Cup at Dr. Hyde Park in a fortnight’s time.
Scorers for Roscommon: Mickey Joe Egan 1-5 (0-1f), Paddy Fallon 0-7 (0-3f), Conor Mulry 1-0, Adam Donnelly 0-2, Eoin Fitzgerald 0-2, Naos Connaughton 0-1.
Scorers for Armagh: Fiontán Donnelly 0-9 (0-8f), Tiarnan O’Hare 0-2f, Cormac Jennings 0-1, Tomás Galvin 0-1, Tiarnán Nevin 0-1, Barry Shortt 0-1f.
Roscommon: Enda Lawless; Darragh Mullen, Mark Ward, Thomas Fleming; Darragh Finn, Conor Cosgrove, Eamon Flanagan; Eoin Fitzgerald, Eamon Mulry; Mickey Joe Egan, Adam Donnelly, Brendan Mulry; Paddy Fallon, Naos Connaughton, Conor Mulry.
Subs: Pádraic Brennan for Fleming (42), Joe Brennan for Mulry (53), Seán Dowd for Connaughton (55), Jack Dowling for Fitzgerald (66), Jack Naughton for Fallon (70+8).
Armagh: Fintan Woods; Barry Shortt, Stefan McPartland, Odhrán McCann; Paudie Lappin, Tiarnán Nevin, Niall Lennon; Odhrán Curry, Peadar McBride; Cormac Jennings, Danny Magee, Fiontán Donnelly; Connor Reneghan, Tomás Galvin, Shea Harvey.
Subs: Oisín O’Hare for McCann (55), Eoin McGuinness for Magee (55), Paddy Garvey for Donnelly (69), Tiarnan O’Hare for Harvey (70), Tam McKavanagh for Jennings (70+5).
Referee: James Connors (Donegal)