John Mullan scored two crucial points for the Oak Leaf County this afternoon at Ederney St. Joseph's GAA club.
John Mullan scored two crucial points for the Oak Leaf County this afternoon at Ederney St. Joseph's GAA club.

Allianz HL: Victories for Derry, Tyrone, and Fermanagh


Allianz National Hurling League Division 2B Final Result

Derry 1-23 Sligo 2-15

Ederney St. Joseph's GAA

Derry backed up the strong form they showed in Division 2B of this year’s Allianz Hurling League with yet another devastating performance in this afternoon’s final against Sligo at Ederney in Fermanagh, but it wasn’t until the second half of their contest with the Yeats County that they finally pushed clear to put a bit of daylight between themselves and the upwardly mobile Connacht county, who were looking to break yet more new ground by securing promotion to Division 2A.

16 wides from the Oak Leaf men and two superb saves from Sligo goalkeeper Jimmy Gordon were also a factor in the competitive contest that played out today, a game that was still very much in the balance well into the final quarter.

Odhrán McKeever’s early goal suggested that Derry, who won their five round robin games by an average of a fraction under 13 points per game, might kick on to record yet another comfortable win.

Seven minutes passed before Sligo got off the mark but they soon found a vein of form and scores from Rory McHugh, Andrew Kilcullen and Galway native Rory Hannify left just a point between the sides by the end of the first quarter.

Derry pulled away again with a point from Brian Óg McGilligan and a free from Cormac O’Doherty, but when Niall Feehily’s shot crept into the net coming up to half-time, the game was right back in the melting point.

The third quarter proved decisive as O'Doherty, Fintan Bradley, Gerard Bradley and Odhrán McKeever knocked over a string of points to stretch the lead out to seven by the 50th minute, 1-17 to 1-10.

A superb solo goal from wing-forward Joe McHugh proved to be yet another lifeline for the men in black, but Cormac O’Doherty closed out a mixed day from frees with a run of scores to give Derry a little bit of breathing room by the end.

Sligo were handed a late chance for salvation in the form of a 72nd minute penalty, but Gerard O’Kelly Lynch, who was visibly hampered by his injury throughout the game, fired it over the bar with what was the last score of the game.

Damian Casey of Tyrone in action against Tiarnan Nevin of Armagh during the Allianz Hurling League Division 3A Final match between Tyrone and Armagh at Owenbeg.
Damian Casey of Tyrone in action against Tiarnan Nevin of Armagh during the Allianz Hurling League Division 3A Final match between Tyrone and Armagh at Owenbeg.

Allianz National Hurling League Division 3A Final Result

Tyrone 2-21 Armagh 2-19

Derry COE, Owenbeg

The hurlers of Tyrone and Armagh have played out several tense and dramatic battles over the past few years, and there was no shortage of nailbiting action at Owenbeg this afternoon when they two sides fought it out for the title of Allianz Hurling League Division 3A champions.

In the end Tyrone saw off a remarkable comeback from their neighbours on the other side of Lough Neagh, thanks in no small part from a typically weighty contribution of 1-10 from Damien Casey.

As in most of the league finals played today, an early goal set the tone, in this case from Tyrone’s CJ McGourty. Tiernan Murphy, Conor Grogan and Chris Kearns followed up with points and while Armagh found their feet with scores for Nathan Curry, Fionntán Donnelly and Dean Gaffney, a superb goal from Casey gave Tyrone a commanding eight-point lead.

Armagh rallied and got a lucky break when a Dean Gaffney attempt at a point dropped into the Tyrone net, but they still trailed by seven at half-time and ten not long after the restart, following points from Ruairi Slane, Casey and Lorcan Devlin.

Armagh then found a real purple patch, powered by a Nathan Curry goal after 47 minutes and as the clock wound down, a run of points from Shea Harvey, Dean Gaffney and Stephen Reneghan narrowed the gap to just two.

Ultimately it all came down to a late free which Gaffney attempted to blast through the mass of bodies on the Tyrone goal-line, but the Armagh marksman’s effort was blocked and Tyrone were able to hold on to win.

Fermanagh players celebrate with the cup after the Allianz Hurling League Division 3B Final match between Fermanagh and Longford at Avant Money Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada.
Fermanagh players celebrate with the cup after the Allianz Hurling League Division 3B Final match between Fermanagh and Longford at Avant Money Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada.

Allianz National Hurling League Division 3B Final Result

Fermanagh 2-18 Longford 1-17

Avant Money Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada, Carrick-on-Shannon

Fermanagh will play their hurling outside the bottom tier of the Allianz Hurling League for the first time in eight years next Spring, after Luca McCusker’s stoppage time goal sealed a dramatic 2-18 to 1-17 win over Longford in the Division 3B final at Avant Money Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada in Carrick-on-Shannon this afternoon.

The last time the Erne County won this Division was in 2016, though on that occasion, a league reshuffle meant that they didn’t earn promotion for their efforts. Markievicz Park in Sligo was the venue for that fixture when 2021 captain Ryan Bogue scored a vital goal in their 2-13 to 3-8 win over today’s opposition.

Joe O’Brien and Cathal Mullane combined to score 3-5 in that game five year’s ago and the Longford duo certainly hit the ground running this afternoon as well, with O’Brien opening the scoring after just two minutes, blasting the ball to the net at the end of the good Longford counter attack.

Fermanagh started nervously with some poor wides, but two excellent scores from Caolán Duffy seemed to settle the unbeaten Ulster county into the game.

Longford’s attack was moving very well however, and O’Brien, Mullane and Emmett Corrigan all made their mark on the scoreboard as they moved 1-9 to 0-6 clear with a little over 20 minutes gone.

The next ten minutes was arguably the winning of the game, as Fermanagh went on a run of 1-5 without reply, Shea Curran their goalscorer after he met a long delivery from Seán Corrigan with a deft flick that evaded Conor Gallagher in the Longford goal.

Tom Keenan and Seán Corrigan hit the other five points between them, but Longford rallied briefly before half-time, drawing level before Corrigan added his seventh point of the game, his fourth free, to make it 1-12 to 1-11 in Fermanagh’s favour at the break.

The third quarter followed the same pattern as the first with Longford taking over, albeit this time Fermanagh kept their goal intact, which was to prove crucial. Luca McCusker doubled their lead with the first point of the half and they continued to defend well close to their own goal, but Longford were a real threat from long-distance, mainly through Paddy Lynam frees but also from play, David Buckley drawing a huge roar from the Longford support when he popped one over from his own half.

Poor Fermanagh shooting looked like it would prove costly as their wide count mounted, while Longford moved 1-17 to 1-14 in front by the hour mark.

Yet again, a powerful Fermanagh surge was to prove decisive. Ryan Bogue nailed a pressure free, Caolán Duffy and Bogue pointed either side of a momentum-shifting red card for Longford’s Paddy Lynam, and Tom Keenan scored the last point of the game going into stoppage time to heighten the tension.

With Longford chasing an equaliser, gaps opened up in their defence and Luca McCusker took full advantage to nab a goal after 73 minutes that confirmed Fermanagh’s win and their passage back up to Division 3A next year.