Ring, Rackard, Meagher Cups round-up
Christy Ring Cup Group 1 Round 2
Derry 0-20 Donegal 1-14
Down 2-25 Wicklow 2-19
Christy Ring Cup Group 2 Round 2
Roscommon 1-25 London 2-15
Meath 2-27 Kildare 1-13
Nicky Rackard Cup Group 1 Round 2
Armagh 1-21 Warwickshire 2-18
Longford 2-17 Monaghan 1-17
Nicky Rackard Cup Group 2 Round 2
Sligo 3-19 Tyrone 1-14
Mayo 3-23 Louth 1-13
Lory Meagher Cup Round 1
Lancashire 0-20 Leitrim 1-15
Fermanagh 0-19 Cavan 1-11
The Christy Ring and Nicky Rackard Cups continued with full rounds on Saturday, while the Lory Meagher Cup got underway.
Christy Ring Cup
Derry remain top of the Christy Ring Cup Group 1 after they survived a scare from tournament newcomers Donegal to win their local derby at Owenbeg.
Despite seeing Lee Henderson have to join Declan Coulter on the sidelines through injury, Donegal threatened to upset the odds when they earned a 1-12 to 0-7 half-time lead, with Danny Cullen on song and Dylan Duffy getting the goal. Cormac O’Doherty and Brian Óg McGilligan helped Derry eat into their deficit after the restart and with several subs making an impact, they worked their way into contention. Darragh McCloskey was credited with a crucial interception late on and with Gerard Bradley, McGilligan, O’Doherty and Sé McGuigan on target down the home straight, Derry edged it by 0-20 to 1-14.
Down and Wicklow are both within two points of the group leaders after the Mourne County made their second successful trip to Aughrim in the space of just over three months.
A Wicklow win here would have seen both them and Derry qualify for the semi-finals with a round to spare, but Down ripped up the script to leave it all to play for at the start of June. The scores flowed during a first half that finished with Down ahead by 0-15 to 0-11, with Paul Sheehan and Oisín McManus leading the visitors’ scoring, until the former had to go off injured.
Wicklow also suffered an injury blow later on when they lost their captain Warren Kavanagh, but Christy Moorehouse netted a penalty soon after the restart to make it a one-point game. Wicklow briefly drew level, but Down responded with 1-2, including a Daithí Sands major. Andy O’Brien (0-4) and Jonathan O’Neill (1-0) were influential off the bench for Wicklow, with Gary Hughes also among their scorers, but Down managed to stay ahead through to the end. McManus took his total to 0-10 and when Tim Prenter hit the net late on, there was no way back for Wicklow, who finished on the wrong side of a 2-25 to 2-19 scoreline.
Qualification from Group 2 has been settled, with second wins for Roscommon and Meath securing their places in the last four.
Roscommon continued their dream start by claiming full points from their trip to Ruislip to face London. Shane Curley, Pádraig Kelly and Cathal Dolan were on the mark as Roscommon earned a narrow 0-11 to 0-9 lead by half-time and with London going on to have two players sent off, the away side would steadily build on that position. Gearóid and Cillian Egan added points for Roscommon, who had the result in the bag when Conor Mulry got their only goal late on. London hit a late consolation goal, but fell well short. A 1-25 to 2-12 result means a resurgent Roscommon have beaten both of last year’s finalists in the space of a week.
Meath are also safely through after a double-scores win in Newbridge saw them end Kildare’s hopes of extending their reign as champions. The teams were evenly matched in the opening stages, but Meath took off when a brace of goals from Eamon Ó Donnchadha put daylight between the teams. Jack Regan racked up an impressive 0-16 for Meath, as they kept their bid to return to the Joe McDonagh Cup firmly on track. Brian Byrne (0-8) and James Burke (1-2) led Kildare’s scoring, but a dominant Meath side top the table on score difference after a 2-27 to 1-13 victory.
Nicky Rackard Cup
Armagh and Warwickshire remain tied at the top of the Nicky Rackard Cup Group 1 after they played out an exciting draw at Páirc na hÉireann, Birmingham.
Armagh started brightly with four of the first five points, only for Warwickshire to reel off seven in a row to move ahead, on their way to a 0-12 to 0-8 half-time advantage. Willie Allen and John Collins were among the scorers for Warwickshire, with a sideline cut included in the latter’s efforts. Kelvin Magee added a goal for the Exiles, but Dean Gaffney’s accuracy continued to keep Armagh in touch – their free-taker ending up with 16 points to his name – and when Danny Magee found the net late on, they looked set for a second win in a week. There was still time for one more twist, however, with Warwickshire pinching an equalising goal deep into added time.
Longford got off the mark with a remarkable comeback in a 2-17 to 1-17 win over Monaghan in Inniskeen.
Longford trailed by nine points at half-time, but after finding the net seconds after the throw-in through the inspirational David Buckley, they were a different team in the second half. Fergal Rafter was on form as Monaghan made a dominant start, hitting eight of the game’s first nine points en route to a 0-14 to 0-5 half-time lead. Buckley’s brace of goals lit up Longford’s challenge, however, as they hit an unanswered 2-3 in the space of eight minutes to draw level. Taidhg Campbell netted at the other end to halt that burst, but that couldn’t inspire Monaghan, who only managed to add another three points to their tally. Buckley finished on 2-9 and with Cathal Mullane and Bart Hanley also weighing in with important scores and Éanna Daly making a superb save to deny Brian McGuigan at the other end, Longford claimed a valuable win.
Sligo are the surprise front-runners in Group 2 after their impressive win at home to Tyrone, who were unable to build on a notable result against Mayo.
Despite playing into the breeze in the first half, Sligo got off to a flying start with 1-1 in two minutes, the goal from Kevin Gilmartin. Having hit 1-12 last weekend, Damian Casey once again got into double figures here and it was his accuracy that saw Tyrone rally to lead by 0-12 to 1-6 at the interval. Sligo began the second half the way they had started the first, as Shane Crowley hit the net to bring them back on level terms. That led to a remarkable run of 1-9 without reply from the 2018 Lory Meagher winners and although Tyrone eventually opened their second-half account, Connor Griffin raised a third green flag for Sligo. Casey got a late consolation goal for Tyrone, but with Keith Raymond top-scoring for Sligo (0-8), the hosts claimed a 3-19 to 1-14 win.
Mayo returned to winning ways in convincing style against Louth in Castlebar. Darren Geoghegan kept Louth in touch in a tight first half that ended with Mayo four points to the good at 0-11 to 0-7, before the home side took complete control via a blitz of 3-8 without reply. Corey Scahill grabbed two of the Mayo goals, while Corey Scahill got into double figures with his personal tally. Seaghán Conneely hit a consolation goal for Louth, but they finished on the wrong side of a 3-23 to 1-13 scoreline.
Lory Meagher Cup
The Lory Meagher Cup got underway on Saturday with wins for Fermanagh and Lancashire.
Fermanagh won an Ulster derby away to Cavan, thanks to a strong finish. After conceding three of the game’s first four points, Cavan went on to hold a narrow lead for much of the first half, with Diarmaid Carney helping them change ends ahead by 0-10 to 0-7. They would score just twice in the second half, however, even though John Sheanon converted a penalty to move them five clear on 47 minutes. That proved to be Cavan’s last score, with John and Caolán Duffy and Barry McPhillips helping Fermanagh hit the final eight points to win by 0-19 to 1-11.
2018 runners-up Lancashire started with a hard-earned win at home to Leitrim.
Ronan Crowley continued his prolific form to help Lancashire lead from start to finish, including by 0-12 to 1-6 at the halfway stage. Veteran Clement Cunniffe had returned to the Leitrim fold to lead the Connacht side’s bid to end their losing run, along with the likes of James Glancy and Stephen Goldrick, but Crowley, Greg Jacob, Dáire Maskey and JJ Dunphy helped guide Lancashire over the line by 0-20 to 1-15.