Derry are through to the Christy Ring Cup Final after victory over Sligo.
Derry are through to the Christy Ring Cup Final after victory over Sligo.

Ring, Rackard, Meagher Cups round-up

The final pairings have been decided in the Christy Ring, Nickey Rackard and Lory Meagher Cups.

Christy Ring Cup

Offaly sent out a statement of intent in their comprehensive Christy Ring Cup semi-final win over Wicklow.

First-half goals by Oisín Kelly (two), Brian Duignan, Killian Sampson and Leon Fox saw Offaly take complete control as they led by 5-11 to 0-5 at the interval. Andy O’Brien hit eight points for Wicklow, but his team-mates added just three scores in total, while a dominant Offaly side had 14 players on the scoresheet, including four substitutes, despite a high wides tally. Eoghan Cahill had 0-8 to his name by the time he was called ashore early in the second half, while Ben Conneely added a sixth goal for Michael Fennelly’s side, who now have seven consecutive wins to their name in 2021.

Scorers for Offaly: Eoghan Cahill 0-8 (3f, 1 s-l); Brian Duignan 1-4; Oisín Kelly 2-1; Leon Fox 1-2; Ben Conneely 1-1; Killian Sampson 1-0; John Murphy 0-3; Éimhín Kelly 0-3; Jason Sampson 0-2; Shane Dooley 0-2f; Aidan Treacy 0-1; Liam Langton 0-1; Luke O’Connor 0-1; Colm Gath 0-1.

Scorers for Wicklow: Andy O'Brien 0-8 (7f); Eoin McCormack 0-1; Gavin Weir 0-1; Wayne Kinsella 0-1.

Derry are through to the Christy Ring Cup Final for the first time since 2015 after they held off a valiant challenge from first-time semi-finalists Sligo at Owenbeg.

A string of points from the likes of Cormac O’Doherty, Gerald Bradley and Sé McGuigan put Derry in the driving seat and although Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch hit the net for Sligo, the hosts hit back with seven unanswered scores on their way to leading by 0-16 to 1-7 at half-time. Odhrán McKeever came on to hit a brace of quick points to help Derry move nine clear after the restart, but a Joe McHugh goal gave Sligo renewed hope. Sligo’s goal-scorers finished with 2-10 between them, but with O’Doherty hitting 0-12, Derry kept their opponents at bay.

Scorers for Derry: Cormac O’Doherty 0-12 (8f); Gerald Bradley 0-5; Sé McGuigan 0-3; Brian Cassidy 0-2; Odhrán McKeever 0-2; Eoghan Cassidy 0-1; Mark McGuigan 0-1; Déaglán Foley 0-1; Richie Mullan 0-1.  

Scorers for Sligo: Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch 1-6 (0-5f); Joe McHugh 1-4; Conor Hanniffy 0-2; Andrew Kilcullen 0-1; Thomas Cawley 0-1; Eoin Comerford 0-1; Rory McHugh 0-1; Liam O’Kelly Lynch 0-1.

Tyrone's Damian Casey was the key man in his team's Nickey Rackard Cup victory over Donegal. 
Tyrone's Damian Casey was the key man in his team's Nickey Rackard Cup victory over Donegal. 

Nickey Rackard Cup

Donegal’s reign as Nickey Rackard Cup champions was ended by their neighbours Tyrone in Carrickmore.

Tyrone raced into a five-point lead, boosted by an early goal from Conor Grogan, but Ciarán Matthewson responded to keep Donegal in touch. Declan Coulter’s accuracy helped the holders move ahead by the half-hour mark, but Cain Ferguson hit 1-1 in quick succession as Tyrone changed ends leading by 2-11 to 1-11. There were no further goals in the second half, with Tyrone keeper Conor McElhatton frustrating Donegal’s efforts, while Damian Casey, Lorcan Devlin and Grogan kept the scoreboard ticking over for the home side as they doubled their winning margin to six.

Scorers for Tyrone: Damian Casey 0-11 (10f); Cain Ferguson 1-4; Conor Grogan 1-3; Lorcan Devlin 0-3; Bryan McGurk 0-1; CJ McGourty 0-1; Rory Weir 0-1.

Scorers for Donegal: Declan Coulter 0-15 (12f); Ciarán Matthewson 1-1; Richie Ryan 0-2; Gerard Gilmore 0-1; Bernard Lafferty 0-1; Danny Cullen 0-1.

2020 Nickey Rackard runners-up Mayo qualified for another final with a convincing second-half performance against Armagh in Carrick-on-Shannon.

Mayo hit an early goal through the returning Cathal Freeman, but Simon Doherty netted a penalty for Armagh and at the end of a first half littered by wides at either end, Fionntán Donnelly raised the green flag to send the seven-time finalists in leading by 2-5 to 1-7. Mayo dominated the second half, however, to outscore their opponents by 1-16 to 0-4, with Keith Higgins adding nine points to take his total into double figures. Mayo were without suspended marksman Shane Boland, but they still finished with 2-23 to their credit, capped by a late goal from Adrian Phillips.

Scorers for Mayo: Keith Higgins 0-11 (10f); Adrian Phillips 1-3; Cathal Freeman 1-1; Seán Kenny 0-4 (2f); Seán Regan 0-2; Jason Coyne 0-1; Brian Morley 0-1.

Scorers for Armagh: Fionntán Donnelly 1-3 (0-2f); Simon Doherty 1-0 (pen); Paddy McBride 0-2; Danny Magee 0-2; Stephen McKearney 0-1; Mark McClatchey 0-1.

Cavan are through to a first ever Lory Meagher Cup Final after victory over Louth. 
Cavan are through to a first ever Lory Meagher Cup Final after victory over Louth. 

Lory Meagher Cup

Cavan are through to their first Lory Meagher Cup Final after they finished strongly to take out holders Louth.

The sides were level eight times during a first half where they were never separated by more than two points. Seán Keating and Brian Fitzgerald led the scoring for Cavan, who were 0-10 to 0-9 up at the break, despite the best efforts of Darren Geoghegan, Paul Matthews and Feidhlim Joyce for Louth. The scores were tied on another five occasions after the restart, with Louth (who had all five subs used on the scoresheet) appearing to be on their way to another decider when a purple patch during the final quarter moved them into a four-point lead. Cavan hit 1-6 of the game’s last 1-7, however, with the only goal coming when a long-range effort by Fitzgerald was adjudged to have gone all the way. Cillian Sheanon also landed four second-half points for Cavan as they timed their late run to perfection.

Scorers for Cavan: Brian Fitzgerald 1-8 (0-6f); Seán Keating 0-4; Cillian Sheanon 0-4; Philip Brady 0-2; Jack Barry 0-1; Diarmaid Carney 0-1; Kevin Conneely 0-1.

Scorers for Louth: Darren Geoghegan 0-8 (2f, 2 ‘65s); Paul Matthews 0-4; Feidhlim Joyce 0-2; James Costello 0-1; Seaghán Conneely 0-1; David Kettle 0-1; Mark Gahan 0-1; Thomas McCreesh 0-1; Andrew Mackin 0-1.

2020 runners-up Fermanagh will also be part of an all-Ulster final after they won away to Longford.

Fermanagh raced into a four-point lead early on, with a brace of points from play by Seán Corrigan setting the tone for another influential display by the visitors’ centre-forward. Joe O’Brien helped to settle Longford into it and they were on level terms by the time Reuben Murray netted his fourth goal in three games late in the opening half. There was still time before the break for Fermanagh to effectively cancel that score out, with another double from Corrigan helping his side lead by 0-12 to 1-6. Longford, who were already feeling the absence of injured forward Cathal Mullane, saw their uphill battle get tougher when Johnny Casey was sent off. Despite O’Brien continuing to show the way, Longford couldn’t get back into it, with a Tom Keenan goal putting further daylight between the teams. Corrigan and John Duffy helped keep Fermanagh’s tally rising as they pulled away from a Longford side who finished with 13 men after a second booking for Enda Naughton late on.

Scorers for Fermanagh: Seán Corrigan 0-8; John Duffy 0-6 (5f, 1 ‘65); Tom Keenan 1-1; Kevin McGarry 0-2; Francis McBrien 0-1; Caolán Duffy 0-1; Mark Slevin 0-1; JP McGarry 0-1.

Scorers for Longford: Joe O’Brien 0-9 (5f, 2 ‘65s); Reuben Murray 1-0; David Buckley 0-2; Steven Creaven 0-1; Daniel Connell 0-1.


Saturday, July 24

Christy Ring Cup Semi-Finals

Offaly 6-30 Wicklow 0-11

Derry 0-28 Sligo 2-17

Nickey Rackard Cup Semi-Finals

Mayo 2-23 Armagh 2-9

Tyrone 2-24 Donegal 1-21

Lory Meagher Cup Semi-Finals

Cavan 1-21 Louth 0-20

Longford 1-13 Fermanagh 1-21