Hurling Matchbox: Kilkenny hammer Wexford while Armagh down Monaghan
Conor McGurk Cup final: Antrim 4-24 Down 1-19
AN all-changed Antrim team produced a fine display of hurling at Corrigan Park on Friday night to easily dismiss the challenge of Down in the McGurk Cup final.
Darren Gleeson made 15 changes to the Antrim side which lost to Dublin in the league the weekend before as he took a good look at his panel ahead of this weekend’s clash with Wexford, and the fresh faces did not disappoint.
The Saffrons were fastest out of the traps as Eoin O’Neill broke through to fire the sliotar to the Down net on 12 minutes after Shea Shannon’s three early points. Down kept in touch via the free-taking of Oisín McManus and had closed the gap when the Saffrons struck for their second goal through Niall McCormick. With Nicky McKeague and Shannon adding further points, Antrim led by 2-10 to 0-8 at the interval.
Points from Shannon (0-2) and O’Neill opened up an 11-point gap at the start of the second-half, while goal number three followed soon afterwards when substitute Peter McCallin combined with St John’s club-mate Shannon to fire home. The Ards men pulled a goal back when substitute Ronan McCusker was put clear by Ronan Costello to beat Paul McMullan in the Antrim goal.
Four points without reply from Down further closed the gap, but the introduction of substitutes Keelan Molloy, James McNaughton and Conor McHugh lifted the Saffrons and Shannon got Antrim’s fourth goal of the night as the clock ticked down.
National Hurling League
Division One Group B
Wexford 0-23 Kilkenny 2-27
TJ Reid was the star of the show as his 1-18 tally helped consign a Covid-19 afflicted Wexford to a heavy loss as Nowlan Park basked in the late May sunshine.
Reid had 1-9 to himself by half-time as the hosts built their platform for victory upon a 2-15 to 0-7 interval advantage.
Early on, Wexford kept in touch courtesy of Aidan Nolan and two majestic Rory O’Connor contributions. But Kilkenny were by far the more dangerous of the two as the Yellowbellies toiled up front, enduring an 18-minute drought while the Cats stretched their lead to 1-11 to 0-5 by the 28th minute.
Moments after Lee Chin ended Wexford’s dry spell with a point, they were stung by Reid when the Ballyhale Shamrocks’ man capitalised after an initial save by James Lawlor from Alan Murphy.
Kilkenny were home and dry by half-time and, while Wexford sprung to life during the third quarter as they closed to within 2-20 to 0-16, the Cats easily put themselves in pole position to win Group B.
Monaghan 2-15 Armagh 1-27
ARMAGH moved to the top of Division 3A yesterday afternoon thanks to a hard-fought win over Monaghan in Inniskeen.
Fionntán Donnelly was on fine form for the Orchard county in the first-half, hitting 0-7 from dead balls, while Eoin McGuinness chipped in with 1-1 as Armagh went in 1-11 to 0-8 to the good. Fergal Rafter kept the Farney in touch with his own unerring accuracy.
Monaghan refused to throw the towel in after the break, with Mark Treanor and Stephen Lambe both hitting the back of the net. However, two great scores from Odhrán Curry and the efforts of Petey McKearney seen the visitors over the line.
Sligo 5-23 Longford 2-19
GERARD O’Kelly Lynch was to the fore as Sligo notched up their second league win from two at Markievicz Park on Saturday.
O’Kelly Lynch managed 3-9, while Joe McHugh and Thomas Cawley hit 1-2 apiece as the Yeats men cantered to victory.