Gerry Gilmore, Donegal, and Caolan Duffy, Fermanagh, in Nickey Rackard Cup action.
Gerry Gilmore, Donegal, and Caolan Duffy, Fermanagh, in Nickey Rackard Cup action.

Round-up: Ring, Rackard, and Meagher Cups

The Christy Ring, Nickey Rackard and Lory Meagher Cups all got underway this weekend.

Christy Ring Cup

London came from nine points down to win the Christy Ring Cup opener against Sligo in Ruislip on Saturday.

Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch, Tomás Cawley and Andy Kilcullen led a strong start to the game by Sligo, who saw keeper Jimmy Gordon save a penalty late in the half. The visitors led by 0-13 to 0-4 at one stage, with the wind at their backs, but London rallied before half-time to reduce their deficit to five.

With Ronan Crowley leading the scoring, London continued their resurgence into the second half. Sligo slowly worked their way back into contention, but late points by Richie Lombard, Benny McCarry and Donal Hannon helped London get off to a winning start.

Derry proved far too strong for Wicklow at Celtic Park on Sunday.

Just a week after winning the Allianz Hurling League Division 2B title, Derry maintained their momentum with a comfortable win, with Cormac O’Doherty and Odhrán McKeever leading the way up front. Derry were 0-10 to 0-6 up after playing into the breeze in the first half, despite Brandon Ryan landing four points for the visitors.

Derry moved through the gears in the third quarter and although Eoin McCormack hit the opening goal for Wicklow, Fintan Bradley quickly cancelled that score out to put the result beyond any doubt.

2020 champions Kildare were comprehensive winners over Mayo in Ballina.

2021 Nickey Rackard Cup winners Mayo stayed in touch with the favourites for most of the first half, but Kildare pushed on to lead by 0-13 to 0-8 at the interval and they hit the net moments after the restart through Paul Divilly.

From then on, it was one-way traffic, with goals by Mark Delaney, Cathal Dowling, Brian Byrne and Jack Sheridan sealing an impressive start by David Herity’s side.

Nickey Rackard Cup

Tyrone began the Nickey Rackard Cup with a prolific win away to Warwickshire.

Early goals by Tiernan Murphy and Ruairí Slane set the tone for Tyrone and although John Collins helped keep Warwickshire on their coat-tails, the result would be all but decided by the end of the first half. Murphy and Slane both added their second majors, before CJ McGourty fired home to make it 5-6 to 0-8 at the break.

Damian Casey added his name to the list of goal-scorers for the Allianz Hurling League Division 3A winners and while Luke Hands hit a brace for Warwickshire, Rory Weir hit Tyrone’s seventh goal of a free-scoring win late on.

Damian Casey remains a key figure for Tyrone.
Damian Casey remains a key figure for Tyrone.

Roscommon were similarly impressive winners over Armagh at the Athletic Grounds.

Armagh had beaten Roscommon in the Division 3A semi-final in the league last month, but they had no answers here in a game where they finished with 13 men after Tiarnán Nevin and Shaun Toal were sent off.

Brendan Mulry and Mickey Joe Egan continued their goal-scoring form to put Roscommon in the driving seat, with Daniel Glynn adding a series of points for Francis O’Halloran’s charges. Egan’s second goal helped Roscommon lead by 3-12 to 0-4 at half-time and although Armagh book-ended the second half with three-pointers by Eoin McGuinness and Shea Harvey, strikes by Eoin Kiernan and Connell Kennelly helped Roscommon finish well clear.

Completing a clean sweep of away wins in the first round of the Nickey Rackard Cup, Donegal finished strongly to pull clear of Fermanagh in Maguiresbridge.

With Davin Flynn on song up front and Ronan McDermott hitting the net, Donegal led by 1-12 to 0-11 at half-time, but despite having Danny Teague sent off, Fermanagh came back to draw level, via goals from Brian Teehan and Barney McAuley (penalty). Donegal kicked for home, however, with Flynn taking his tally into double figures and Danny Cullen also showing the way as they secured a 1-21 to 2-13 win.

Lory Meagher Cup

A much-improved second-half performance saw Louth start the Lory Meagher Cup with a big win over Lancashire at Abbottstown.

Danny Connolly’s accuracy helped keep Lancashire in touch throughout the first half, but despite changing ends on level terms at 1-6 to 0-9, they had no answers to a rejuvenated Louth after the restart. Goals by Seán Kerrisk and Paul Matthews helped Louth pull away, while Mark Gahan, Feidhelm Joyce and Niall Keenan all put wind advantage to good use as the 2020 champions claimed their first win of the year.

There was late drama in Carrick-on-Shannon, where an added-time penalty by Joe Murray saw Leitrim pip Longford.

James McNabola hit the first of four Leitrim goals, but they trailed by 0-9 to 1-5 at half-time, with Joe O’Brien converting a series of frees for Longford in the absence of the suspended Paddy Lynam. Despite hitting another brace of goals through Karl McDermott and Joe Murray, Leitrim still trailed well into added time, when Murray held his nerve to convert a penalty. Remarkably, there was still time for another penalty, which saw Murray hit the woodwork, but Leitrim held on to win by the narrowest of margins (4-9 to 0-20).

Monaghan started with a derby win over Cavan in Inniskeen. Just a goal separated the teams in the end, following a late rally by Cavan, but Monaghan should have been out of sight long before the end, as they hit 18 wides and missed a series of goal chances. A brace of second-half goals by youngster Thomas Hughes proved decisive as Monaghan saw off last year’s runners-up. Mark Treanor’s opening goal had helped Monaghan lead by 1-6 to 0-2 at the break, but Canice Maher found the net to keep Cavan in touch. The Breffni side more than doubled their tally during the final quarter, with Fiachra Hughes netting a penalty in added time, but Monaghan held on.


Saturday, April 9

Christy Ring Cup Round 1

London 0-26 Sligo 0-21

Sunday, April 10

Christy Ring Cup Round 1

Derry 1-21 Wicklow 1-9

Kildare 5-26 Mayo 0-11

Nickey Rackard Cup Round 1

Tyrone 7-18 Warwickshire 2-11

Roscommon 5-19 Armagh 2-7

Donegal 1-21 Fermanagh 2-13

Lory Meagher Cup Round 1

Louth 2-27 Lancashire 1-10

Leitrim 4-9 Longford 0-20

Monaghan 3-9 Cavan 2-9