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Armagh GAA League round-up: Harps keep pressure on league leaders Maghery

Armagh Harps 2-11 Granemore 1-13

Armagh Harps kept up the pace with the top teams in the Senior League with a narrow one point win over Granemore at Abbey Park.

Gareth Swift was in inspirational form for the hosts with two goals and six points to leave Granemore languishing in the bottom half of the division.

Swift struck the first goal with just five minutes of the first half remaining but Colm Brown responded moments before the interval to leave the score 1-6 to 1-4 in favour of the ‘Harps.

The returning Caolan Rafferty made a huge difference for Granemore with three points from play.

With the sides level going into the final quarter of the game, Swift popped up again, adding his second goal of the game to give his side some breathing space.

However, the visitors closed the gap to one before Mark McConville was black carded for hauling Caolan Rafferty down as he bore down on goal.

‘Harps held on for a valuable two points and next up for them is a home tie against St Paul’s while Granemore host Wolfe Tones.

Annaghmore 1-11 Maghery 2-14

Maghery maintained their 100 percent start to the campaign with with a handsome six point victory away to Annaghmore this afternoon.

Todays match started off fast paced with Oisin McKeever showing us he was well up for the game but well done to Nial Forker who never left his side the entire game.

Annaghmore took an early lead with two points and held Maghery back until the 8th minute when Shea Tennyson opened the scoring for the visitors, which was quickly followed by two points from Seamus Forker.

It wasn’t until the 22nd minute that Annaghmore got their 3rd point of the game, by then Maghery had put another three over the bar including an excellent point from Stefan Forker from distance.

Annaghmore had the chance to put things level going into the break when McKeever was through on goal but after a fine save from Johnny Montgomery the ball found its way over the bar from Conor Mackle to put Maghery 8-4 in front at the break.

Maghery came out strong and increased their lead by a further three shortly after the restart.

Annaghmore started to come back into the game slotting a flurry of unanswered points until Stefan Forker placed a couple of great free kicks between the posts.

There was only four points between the sides coming into the last 10 minutes until after a very well worked passage of play saw Stephen Cusack bury the ball into the back of net, followed by another goal from Ciaran Lappin a minute later!

With 10 in it Annaghmore pushed to get something back and managed to claw five points off the lead including a goal of their own but when the final whistle went it was the last point scored that saw Maghery win by six.

St Patrick’s 2-09 Wolfe Tones 2-08

Cullyhanna emerged from this away fixture as somewhat fortuitous victors in a nervy and closely contested encounter today.

Yet there was no indication of the eventual tightness of the result in the early stages as Cullyhanna threatened to run riot. Only 20 seconds had elapsed when Robbie Tasker kicked a fine point from play to open the scoring and a minute later Aidan Nugent benefitted from a fine Cullyhanna passing move to net a goal.

The perfect start for the visitors continued five minutes into the game when Mickey Murray burst through the Wolfe Tones defence, combining adeptly with Robbie Tasker and Tony Donnelly to allow the latter to goal from short range.

Seven points to the good against unfancied opponents, most onlookers expected a comfortable hour for the south Armagh outfit but such predictions could not have proved further from the mark as the plucky Derrymacash outfit worked their way back into the fixture.

A perfectly struck ‘45 opened the scoring for the home side before a goal nine minutes in brought them back within three points. The sides shared four points between the 15th and 20th minute – with Tony Donnelly’s place kicking responsible for the two Cullyhanna efforts.

Sean Connell sprinted forward to kick a further Cullyhanna point and when Gareth Mackin fired over an excellent score from range six minutes from half-time, the visitors looked to have reasserted a measure of control on proceedings. It was Wolfe Tones who had the final say in the half however with another pointed ‘45 to leave four between the sides at the break.

That margin was not last long as Wolfe Tones dominated the early stages of the second half with three points in succession to reduce their deficit to the minimum. A Tony Donnelly pointed free doubled the advantage and when good play from Mal Mackin allowed Shea Hoey to link with Robbie Tasker for a point, it looked as though St Pat’s might have steadied the ship.

A pointed free kept Wolfe Tones very much in the game before they finally grabbed the lead with a goal nine minutes from time. Suddenly St Pat’s were in dire straits however they rose manfully to the challenge and began to dominate the latter stages of the affair.

Six minutes remained when Paudie McCreesh chipped over a badly needed point to restore parity between the teams. In the final minutes both sides had their chances but Cullyhanna in particular carved out a number of opportunities before spurning each. In the end however, they were not left to rue their profligacy as a final opportunity presented itself from an injury time ‘45.

Robbie Tasker stepped up to the task and was not found wanting, cooly slotting over the pressure kick to secure victory. Although a couple of minutes of injury time remained, a Barry McConville interception ensured that the Tones could not fashion an equaliser.

In truth, although two points away from home will always be welcomed, this was a rather flat performance which will not live long in the memory. There was a lethargy and lack of intensity about the Cullyhanna display which was quite disappointing.

That said, the side did display excellent character in the final stages to reassert themselves in a match where little appeared to be going their way though much better will be required against Pearse Ogs next weekend.

Elsewhere, Pearse Og kept up their unbeaten start to the season with a 2-11 to 0-12 win over St Paul’s to remain within a point of top spot. Four goals from Sarsfields was good enough to defeat Dromintee on a scoreline of 4-8 to 1-11, moving them into the top half of the league. Forkhill beat Killeavy 3-12 to 3-09 leaving Steven McDonnell’s men rooted to the bottom – the only team yet to pick up any points this season.

On Friday night, Tir na nOg picked up their first points of the season with a decent win over Carrickcruppen.

[standings league_id=1 template=extend logo=false]

For 2015 Senior League Fixtures and Results, click here

Madden 3-17 Dorsey 3-07

Madden got back to winning ways after last week’s defeat to Silverbridge, overcoming Dorsey Emmets with a ten point victory at Rory McGee Park on Friday evening.

Madden basically finished the job in the first half, completely swarming Dorsey from start. Two goals from Aaron McKenna put them seven points ahead in the opening minutes.

Dorsey struggled to get into the swing of the game and Madden showed their ruthless side by constantly pushing forward. Consecutive points from Niall Grimley and a further score from Paul O’Reilly helped Madden develop a 0-11 to 0-00 lead.

Dorsey got their first on the board with a 45, but Madden pinched back with a third goal from Paul O’Reilly and a Colly Campbell. The away side went in at half time leading 3-12 to 0-02.

To be fair to Dorsey they stuck to the challenge despite the massive margin, outscoring their opponents 3-05 to 0-05 in the second half. Although Madden played with a relaxed mentality knowing the job was finished early on.

Another deserved victory for Madden, much thanks to the accuracy of Aaron McKenna and Paul O’Reilly, with the pair notching 3-05. Another heavy defeat for Dorsey, who remain at the foot of the table, but they certainly showed a fair bit of spirit in the second half, something the club will hope to see more of in the coming weeks.

Eire Og 0-12 Shane O’Neill’s 2-11 

A determined performance from Shane O’Neill’s saw them claim a fully deserved five point win away to Eire Óg this afternoon.

Paul O’Rourke opened the scoring with the Shanes first attack of the game with a well taken point. Eire Óg replied with a close range free before two points from Ryan McCabe edged the Shanes in front.

A second Eire Óg point followed soon after before the Shanes got their first goal of the game courtesy of Paul O’Rourke when he took full advantage of a quick ball from David McCabe to coolly slot the ball to the back of the net.

Another pointed free from Eire Óg saw them trail by three only for O’Rourke to score his side’s fourth point of the half to keep the score-board ticking over for the Shanes but Eire Óg replied almost immediately with the next point to keep them well in the game.

The quick ball was paying dividends for the Shanes and when David McCabe found himself on the end of one he made no mistake to get his side’s second goal of the contest and put the Camlough men six points to the good. However, Eire Óg got the last two points of the half to go in four points in arrears at the break.

The sides swapped points in the opening minutes of the second-half with Connaire Mackin firing over a great long range free for the Shanes, Eire Óg then responded with three consecutive points to leave just the minimum between them.

Despite conceding those three points the Shanes steadied the ship and they themselves got the next points of the game with Paul O’Rourke (2) and second-half substitute Oisin Murphy on target.

Eire Óg managed to reduce the deficit to just three by scoring the next point only for Paul O’Rourke to reply for the Shanes with a placed ball before a point direct from a ’45 kept the Craigavon side right in the game.

However, this proved to be their final score as the Shanes fired over two late points with Paul O’Rourke and Sean McLoughlin on target to claim the win on a score-line of 2-11 to 0-12.

Culloville 1-11 Whitecross 3-09

Whitecross made a positive response to last week’s disappointing defeat in Middletown, with a four point victory over Culloville.

Culloville started strongly, taking a three pint lead early and could have been even further in front but for a super save from Cathal McParland in the Whitecross goal.

A Cathal McSherry goal hauled Whitecross back into it however Culloville kept the scoreboard ticking over and went in at half time one point to the good. Barry Shields entered the fray at half time and helped bolster the midfield section, giving Whitecross the platform to score an unanswered 2-02 in nine minutes.

The decisive goals came from Colm OHanlon and Conor Malone. Culloville did get a flurry of points in injury time however Whitecross had done enough to hang on for another 2 points, winning 3-09 to 1-11.

Barry Og McKeown, Colm, O’Hanlon and Cathal McSherry were some of the standout performers in this one.

Elsewhere, Silverbridge beat Keady 3-12 to 1-10 and Shane O’Neill’s beat Eire Og 2-11 to 0-12.

[standings league_id=3 template=extend logo=false]

For 2015 Intermediate League Fixtures and Results, click here

Ballyhegan 3-08 Corrinshego 1-11

Three early goals helped Ballyhegan grab a much needed victory, in what was a heated encounter, at Corrinshego today.

Ballyhegan have got off to a stuttering start in the Junior A league this year, suffering three defeats in their past three games. But last week’s Championship victory over St Patrick’s II’s seems to have kicked them into full swing.

Corrinshego began the game on the front foot, taking a three point lead in the opening four minutes, but Paul Nixon cancelled out those scores with a goal for Ballyhegan straight after.

Nixon notched a second goal on the seventh minute, and completed a stunning hat-trick in a four minute period – possibly setting a league record – as he reacted first to a saved penalty.

Corrinshego hit back with a converted free, making it 3-00 to 0-04 after 13 minutes. But Paul Nixon continued to storm the Corrinshego defence, grabbing another point at the midway point of the first half.

Two free kicks from Ballyhegan corner forward, Conall McKeever, and two from Jack Rafferty points meant that Ballyhegan went in at half time 3-05 to 0-06 ahead.

Corrinshego came out flying in the second half grabbing 1-03 in just nine minutes. The home side had a massive chance to get back into the game when they were awarded a penalty on the 43rd minute, but the big chance was blazed over the bar.

A point from centre half forward Paddy Murray, an and accurate Johnny McKeever free secured the result for Ballyhegan late on.

A superb performance from Ronan Devlin in the middle, top class shooting from Paul Nixon and a generally solid defensive display were all massive factors in this victory, which has helped the Davitt’s crawl away from that dreaded danger zone.

[standings league_id=4 template=extend logo=false]

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