Ring, Rackard, Meagher Cups review
The final pairings have been confirmed for the Christy Ring (Kildare v Mayo), Nickey Rackard (Roscommon v Tyrone) and Lory Meagher (Longford v Louth) Cups.
Christy Ring Cup
Kildare topped the Christy Ring Cup table with a 100% record after they saw off Sligo in Newbridge.
Kildare were able to make a raft of changes to their team and still register a fifth consecutive win, with a Mark Delaney goal helping them lead by 1-12 to 0-8 at half-time. A spirited Sligo side hit the net twice after the restart through Andy Kilcullen (who finished with 1-11) and Tomás Cawley, but Shane Ryan’s goal helped Kildare secure another win. Brian Byrne (0-7) and Delaney (1-4) were on song for David Herity’s team, who will be targeting their fourth Christy Ring title next weekend.
Mayo will be standing in Kildare’s way after they got the win they needed against Derry in Castlebar.
Ten months after winning the Nickey Rackard Cup, Mayo have put a disappointing league campaign behind them to regain momentum with four straight wins. A Joe Mooney goal for the hosts was cancelled out by John Mullan, but points before half-time by Eoin Delaney, Shane Boland and Mooney saw Mayo change ends leading by 1-12 to 1-8. A Kenny Feeney major kept Mayo in the driving seat, but Odhrán McKeever responded to keep Derry in the hunt for the result they needed to claim a final place. Boland and Mooney responded to guide Mayo over the line, with goalkeeper Bobby Douglas also making a vital contribution during the closing stages.
London secured their Christy Ring Cup status with a convincing win over Wicklow at Ruislip.
Dónal Hannon and Jack Goulding led a strong start by London, who had five points to their credit by the time Seánie Germaine got Wicklow off the mark. Wicklow cut their deficit to a point midway through the half, but London were six clear by the interval at 1-14 to 1-8, with Goulding getting their goal. London never looked likely to be caught throughout the second half as they stayed well clear to claim a win that consigns Wicklow to a first relegation from the Christy Ring Cup.
Nickey Rackard Cup
Tyrone are through to their second consecutive Nickey Rackard Cup Final after they edged out Donegal in Carrickmore.
Damian Casey was in inspirational form as Tyrone held off a second-half rally from their neighbours to leapfrog them into second place in the group. Casey hit the net as the Red Hands built up a 1-11 to 0-8 half-time lead in a game where both teams were without in-form forwards (Tyrone’s Tiarnan Murphy and Donegal’s chief marksman Davin Flynn). A Ritchie Ryan goal lit up a comeback that saw an often-wasteful Donegal draw level at 1-18 apiece, helped by three points from sub Liam Óg McKinney, but Tyrone responded with five of the game’s last six scores. Inevitably, Casey was to the fore as Tyrone kicked for home, with a sideline cut helping him to a personal tally of 1-12.
Roscommon saw out the group stage with the only unbeaten record after they had too much scoring power for Fermanagh in Enniskillen.
Despite starting without some of the key men of their winning run, Roscommon controlled the first half, with a goal from the impressive Eoin Fitzgerald pushing them towards a 1-17 to 0-7 interval advantage. A Daniel Teague major got the second half off to a much brighter start for Fermanagh, but goals by Adam Donnelly and Cathal Dolan (who finished with 1-11 to his name) kept Roscommon in command. Despite Brian Teehan and Seán Corrigan weighing in with a share of consolation scores for Fermanagh, Roscommon had long since done enough to advance to their fourth final at this level.
The other Nickey Rackard Cup game was a goal-fest at Páirc na hÉireann, where a dominant first-half performance set the foundations for Armagh to see off Warwickshire.
A first-half hat-trick by Danny Magee and further goals by Eoin McGuinness and Tiarnán O’Neill helped Armagh build up a commanding 5-15 to 2-7 lead. Kelvin Magee, Jack Grealish and Luke Hands all hit the net as Warwickshire produced their most prolific performance of the year, but 0-13 from Ryan Gaffney helped Armagh sign off on a topsy-turvy season with back-to-back wins.
Lory Meagher Cup
Longford rubber-stamped their place in their first Lory Meagher Cup Final since 2014 when they won away to Cavan.
Despite the injury-enforced absence of captain Johnny Casey, Longford put a slow start behind them to lead by the minimum (0-10 to 0-9) at the break. Cavan had raced into a four-point lead early on, but a first win of 2022 was soon slipping away from their reach as Longford made an emphatic start to the second half, with Joe O’Brien, Cathal Mullane and Paddy Lynam among their scorers. A rapid burst of goals by Canice Maher and sub Rory Farrell gave Cavan renewed hope, but with O’Brien taking his tally to 13 points, Longford sealed their fourth consecutive win with seven to spare.
Louth are back in the decider for a second time in three years after they pipped Leitrim in an exciting finish in Ballinamore.
Louth made all the early running, with Darren Geoghegan leading the way, but a James McNabola goal helped Leitrim go in level at 1-8 to 0-11. A three-pointer by Geoghegan, who racked up 1-9, was cancelled out by Brendan Delaney as the home side came from six points down to get back on level terms, but a long-range free by Jamie McDonnell dropped into the net to put Louth on the brink of qualification. There was still time for more late drama, as Gavin O’Hagan took his tally to nine points to leave Leitrim within touching distance of the draw they needed to advance, only for added-time scores by Mark Gahan and Paul Mathews to send Louth through.
Monaghan signed off on their Lory Meagher Cup campaign with a hard-earned win over Lancashire in Inniskeen.
Despite both teams having only pride to play for, they produced a good contest where Monaghan came from two points down inside the last ten minutes to claim their fourth win in five games. The hosts had led by 0-11 to 0-6 at half-time, with Declan Hughes and Conor Gernon contributing some good scores from play, but Lancashire gradually reeled them in after the restart.
Darragh Carroll and David Power edged the Exiles ahead during the final quarter, but Luke McKenna and impact sub Shane Slevin responded to win it for Monaghan, who were left to rue having been docked four points earlier in the competition.
Saturday, May 14
Christy Ring Cup Round 5
Kildare 2-23 Sligo 2-14
Mayo 2-23 Derry 2-18
London 1-29 Wicklow 2-16
Nickey Rackard Cup Round 5
Fermanagh 2-15 Roscommon 3-25
Tyrone 1-23 Donegal 1-19
Warwickshire 5-16 Armagh 5-27
Lory Meagher Cup Round 5
Cavan 2-14 Longford 0-27
Leitrim 2-16 Louth 2-18
Monaghan 0-17 Lancashire 0-16