Hurling & Camogie

Armagh rack up big score in Nicky Rackard quarter-final

&nbsp;Armagh's&nbsp;Conor Corvan was on good form against Longford, scoring 1-6<br />Picture by Seamus Loughran
 Armagh's Conor Corvan was on good form against Longford, scoring 1-6
Picture by Seamus Loughran
 Armagh's Conor Corvan was on good form against Longford, scoring 1-6
Picture by Seamus Loughran

Nicky Rackard Cup quarter-final: Longford 2-11 Armagh 3-19

ELEVEN points was the difference between these two sides in the end but it wasn't a true reflection on the game as Armagh were made work for their Nicky Rackard quarter-final victory.

The Orchard County manager Sylvester McConnell admitted Longford put it up to his side: "We knew coming here to Longford they'd be ready for us. They'd a fantastic victory over Tyrone last week. We knew they were in good shape and that they'd trained well for the championship. We knew what to expect."

His Longford counterpart Ray Gavin felt the final score didn't reflect his side's performance: "The scoreboard didn't reflect the effort our lads put in. Their quality and strength told in the end; when our lads got tired, they were clinical. The third goal really put a gloss on it for them."

Longford made a fine start to the game; four Joe O'Brien frees had them ahead by two on two occasions. Armagh began to get a hold of proceedings and in the 15th minute they took the lead for the first time.

Twice Armagh were ahead by three points but Longford kept at them. A point from Peter McKearney in the 33rd minute gave Armagh a four point lead at the break; 0- 11 to 0-07.

Declan Coulter put his side five ahead in the 37th minute but Longford replied with a goal from Keelan Cox to cut the deficit to two points. Both sides exchanged points before Coulter got his side's first goal in the 46th minute.

McConnell admitted his side's ability in getting scores constantly helped them claim the win: "You don't need big scores to keep you in the game you just need to keep the scoreboard ticking over all the time. It was tit for tat, Longford played well today and we can't take anything away from them. They are a very improved team. We got over today and it's another wee step for us."

It was a one point game in the 52nd minute but that was the closest Longford could get to Armagh. Stephen Renaghan added a second goal in the 60th minute and Conor Corvan got their third right at the end.

Gavin hopes his players can build on this performance next year: "The hope for Longford hurling going forward is that they get the younger players back that weren't allowed play this year. With that little bit of strength in depth they might be able to take that extra step and get out of Division 3B. They need to be hurling at a higher standard."


Armagh: S Doherty: C A McGuinness, Starman P McGrane; K McKernan, N Curry, C Toner; J Corvan (0-1), S Renaghan (1-0); D Carvil, P McKearney (0-1), R Gaffney (0-6, 0-4 frees); D Coulter (1-05), E McGuinness, C Corvan (1-6). Subs: C Devlin for P McGrane (43), O Curry for P McKearney (54), D McKenna for E McGuinness (57). Yellow cards: J Corvan 21, N Curry 28.

Longford: R Murray; G Moore, K Murray, J Gaffney; C McLoughlin, M Coyle, P Corcoran; P Barden Jnr, J Casey; K Cox (1-0), K Conneely, J Mulhern; J O'Brien (1-06, 0-6 frees), P Farrington (0-1), C Mullane (0-4). Subs: E Kiernan for C McLoughlin (32), A Sheridan for Moore (68) Yellow card: Casey 21

Referee: Peter Burke (Kilkenny)