Down and Armagh triumph in McKenna Cup
Down and Armagh both emerged victorious today in the McKenna Cup. The wins mean Armagh bagged their first points of the tournament while Down move two points clear at the top and look good to win the group.
Armagh hosted St Mary’s at the Athletic Grounds and few would have seen anything other than an Armagh win. A goal from corner-forward Ryan Rafferty in the first half put Armagh in to a comfortable 1-3 to 0-2 lead over their opponents. St Mary’s recorded their two points from Niall Morgan frees. Armagh dominated the rest of the first half firing in 8 straight points to give themselves a comfortable 1-11 to 0-3 lead at half time.
The sides produced 7 points a piece in the second half with Thomas Canavan, nephew of former Tyrone legend Peter Canavan, scoring an impressive 3 points for the college side. Although St Mary’s lost, they impressed at Armagh with Emmett Bradley also putting in a good performance. The final score in the Cathedral City was Armagh 1-18 – St Mary’s 0-10.
It was a more impressive display from Down at Clones as the Mournemen demolished Monaghan. Marcus Miskelly opened the scoring for Down with a free early in the game. Soon after, a goal from Kalum King following an impressive build-up from Benny Coulter and Aidan Carr gave Down a brilliant start. A point from Benny Coulter and a double from Paul Finlay made the score Monaghan 0-2 Down 1-2.
Monaghan narrowed the gap with a point from Hanratty, however soon after King was again celebrating a goal for Down with Aidan Carr again getting the assist. Down then got two quick points on the bounce when Miskelly and Ambrose Rogers fired home. Points from Coulter and Naill McParland, as well as a Dan Gordon goal, gave Down an impressive 3-06 to 0-03 lead at half time.
Down came out in the second half firing on all cylinders with points from Miskelly, Gordon and Coulter increasing their lead. Benny Coulter proved his importance for Down soon after by netting a goal for the Mournemen to put the game beyond all doubt. Monaghan clawed back a few points before the end but Down proved to be too impressive on the day and ran out comfortable winners. Final score from Clones, Monaghan 0-11 Down 4-12.
The results mean that Down need a win on Wednesday night in Newry against St Mary’s to go through to the latter stages of the McKenna Cup. On the basis on their form so far few would see anything other than another comfortable win. Down fans will also take note of the draw for this year’s Ulster Championship as Monaghan are one of the three teams between them and a place in the final.
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