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Allianz HL: Donegal, Armagh and Leitrim secure final slots

Armagh put in one of their best performances of the year this afternoon at the Box-It Athletic Grounds.

Armagh put in one of their best performances of the year this afternoon at the Box-It Athletic Grounds.

Allianz Hurling League Division 2B/3A/3B semi-finals

Roinn 2B


Roinn 3A


Roinn 3B


Perhaps the biggest shock of the day in the Allianz Hurling League across all the Divisions was at Echelon Park in Aughrim, where Donegal bounced back from a heavy 19-point defeat to Wicklow last time out to nick a win against the Garden County and set up a league final tilt against Meath next weekend.

With a host of key men absent, including stars such as Danny Cullen and Declan Coulter, Donegal were further rocked when team captain Ronan McDermott received a second yellow card just two minutes into the second half.

Even at 0-10 to 0-5 up at that stage, it looked like Wicklow would reel in Mickey McCann’s charges, but a youthful Donegal side held out.

Brian McIntyre put in a man-of-the-match performance at midfield for Donegal while Liam McKinney had an excellent day from frees, while no Wicklow player scored more than a single point from play over the course of the 70 plus minutes of action.

McKinney (0-3), Ronan McDermott, Ryan Hilferty and Ritchie Ryan helped Donegal into an early six-point lead and with only Christy Moorehouse’s frees making an impression for Wicklow, Donegal were full value for their five-point interval lead.

However Wicklow produced their best hurling immediately after half-time, with Davy Maloney and Diarmuid Masterson scoring to help reduce the gap to two points, with McDermott’s red card making matters worse for the Tír Chonaill men.

They replied well however to build an 0-13 to 0-8 lead, and that was just about enough to hang on for a one-point win. 

In Division 3A, Armagh will get the chance to make amends for their dismal showing at Dr. Hyde Park two weeks ago when they brushed Monaghan aside at the Box-It Athletic grounds by 2-23 to 0-16, setting up a rematch with the resurgent Rossies next weekend.

Shea Harvey's sixth-minute goal set the tone for the home side, who never looked in trouble against a Monaghan. They had a ten-point lead built up with 12 minutes gone, with Odhrán Curry and Harvey scoring a couple of points each, and while Monaghan settled into the game through a tring of frees from Fergal Rafter, they never looked like causing Armagh too many problems close to goal.

Niall Arthur’s four second half points in his second game since transferring into the Farney county kept things respectable, but Armagh were always in control, with Cormac Jennings' late goal putting the icing on the cake.

In the Division 3B semi-final, Leitrim defeated Longford 2-16 to 1-11 at Shane McGettigan Park in Drumshanbo, ensuring they will take on Cavan next weekend for the right to climb out of the basement division in hurling’s league architecture.

After an even first quarter, with the sides tied at 0-4 apiece, Leitrim went on a run of scoring 1-5 without reply to take the game by the scruff of the neck.

Joe Murray's goal and some superb points from David McGovern made it 1-12 to 0-5 in the run up to half-time, though Longford gave themselves some hope with the last two points of the half, and they continued that momentum into the second half.

Cathal Mullane hit the net from a free and scored a run of points as the lead was briefly cut to just three points, but a second Murray goal inside the last ten minutes confirmed Leitrim’s win and set up another local derby clash next weekend against the Breffni County.