Derry have taken control of Group H in the Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge following their impressive Round 3 win over Down in Portaferry.
Meanwhile, in the group’s other games, Armagh secured an away win against Antrim while Tyrone displayed their goal-scoring threat against Fermanagh.
Read our round-up of all of the action from Round 3 below.
Derry Prove Too Strong For Down In Portaferry
Down 3-2 Derry 0-15
This was set to be an intriguing encounter with both teams having won the William Robinson trophy over the past two seasons, Down winners in 2017 followed by Derry last year. However, Derry stole the spoils in Portaferry on a blustery Sunday afternoon in the 2019 Celtic Challenge.
This was always going to be a game of two halves with the weather playing havoc throughout the game. It was Derry who opened the scoring in the opening within eight minutes from two pointed frees through Shea Cassidy. It took just over ten minutes of play before Down eventually got on the scoreline with Francis Caldwell scoring his ninth goal of the campaign.
The teams were level after fifteen minutes with fine points from Ryan O’Neill and Pádhriag Nelis. A long, high flighted ball from Fisher deceived Leo Passmore in the goals and found its way to the Oakleaf goal. Minutes later, Cutliffe, who was through on goal, had to settle for a point thanks to the tenacity of Darragh Kelly. The Oakleafers, having weathered the storm, put on an exhibition of defending, notably from O’Hagan, McGonigle and Conway to ensure the half-time score was Derry 0-6 Down 2-2.
With the aid of the wind, Derry crept into the lead through the impressive Jack Conway, Kosta Papachristopoulos and Slaughtneil’s Shea Cassidy. Although it looked as though a Down fightback was on, Derry managed to extend their lead when McGilligan put them three points clear with Down reduced to 14 men.
Papachristopoulos and Conway added further scores but the heroics of Cahal Lavery, who pulled off superb point-blank saves, and the resoluteness of the Down defence prevented the gap from widening. Down’s Ciaran Savage broke through to angle the sliotar into the bottom corner, however, it was not enough to prevent the impressive win for Derry.
After the game referee, Fionntán McCotter awarded Down goalkeeper, Cathal Lavery, and Derry captain, Darragh McGilligan, with their Best and Fairest awards. Down now go into the Easter break in third place in Group H, with the high scoring Tyrone up next on Sunday 14th April.
Report by Diarmuid Ó Donnghaile
Down Team: Cahal Lavery, Eoin Pucci, Darragh Kelly, Ethan Bell, Owen McDermott, James Duggan, Lukas Boyd (Capt.), Jon Fisher (1-0), Finn Collins (0-1), Ryan O’Neill (0-1), Imran Hussain, Eoin Magee, Ciaran Savage (1-0), Francis Caldwell (1-0), Tom McGrattan
Replacements: Brendan McNamara, Oisín Coulter, Enda Gargin, Coran Trainor
Derry Team: Leo Passmore, Callum O’Kane, Aodhán O’Hagan, Fearghal McGahon, Lorcan McAlinden, Niall McGonigle, Jack Cassidy, Eóin McCallion, Darragh McGilligan (Capt.) (0-3, 0-2f), Jack Conway (0-3), Pádhriag Nelis, Aidan Cutliffe, Kosta Papachristopoulos, Lee Colville, Shéa Cassidy (0-3F)
Replacements: Karl McGilligan, Keelan O’Kane, Dara O’Kane, Adam Rankin, Keelan Doherty, Oisín Madden
Clinical Tyrone Fire Past Fermanagh
Fermanagh 0-7 Tyrone 8-17
An impressive 3-6 from Cain Ferguson helped Tyrone to their second win in Group H of the BOI Celtic Challenge at Irvinestown on Sunday against a Fermanagh side that battled until the end in difficult conditions.
Fermanagh led early on, Ultan O’Reilly points in the opening five minutes gave them the advantage with Devlin’s opening point and a well taken Conall McKee score levelling things. Tyrone enjoyed plenty of ball and carved out several openings, Matthew Duffy fired his goalbound effort over the bar and Devlin made space for himself to score a point only for a rapid Erne response. O’Reilly and Oisin McPhilips frees leaving it level again.
A quickfire 2-1 changed the complexion of the contest, Jack Donnelly’s long-range effort dropped short to Fermanagh keeper, only for the lurking Jude Kane to sweep the rebound to the net. Mark McCann added a point with Devlin adding the second goal with a tidy drive from the left.
Donn Corrigan pulled a point back for Fermanagh and Ethan McPhillips went close for a goal but it was all Tyrone, Devlin netted again after a great ball from Conrad McKeown split the Erne defence, Devlin and Mickey Little tagging on late points. Jack Donnelly wrapped up the Fermanagh account with a point as they trailed by ten points.
The second half was almost a one-man show, 1-2 in the opening six minutes from Ferguson was quickly followed by a Tiernan Cox goal and Devlin point, Fermanagh’s only reply a point from Lorcan McCaughey. Ferguson hit a further 2-4, Adam Toner bagged a goal with McCann, Devlin and Little among the points as the Red Hands ran out comfortable winners.
McPhillips and Fermanagh’s Best and Fairest winner, Ruari Moore, worked hard against a clinical Tyrone.
Report by Paddy Hunter.
Fermanagh: Ryan McLaughlin, Liam Moore, Ultan O’Reilly (0-3), Mark Johnston, Odhran Johnston, Ethan McPhillips (0-1), Ruari Moore, Michael Flannigan, Mark Hughes, Donn Corrigan (0-2), Matthew Britton, Cormac Daly, Ryan Gilleece, Oisin McPhilips, Darragh Gormely.
Replacements: Lorcan McCaughey (0-1).
Tyrone: Cahir Munroe, Sean Doran, Anthony Crossan, Conrad McKeown, Eoghain Orr, Jack Donnelly, Cahair Conroy, Matthew Duffy 0-1, Mark Mc Cann 0-2, Jason McAteer, Mickey Little (0-2), Jude Kane (1-0), Conall McKee (0-1), Fionn Devlin (2-5), Vilus Macidulskas.
Replacements: Cain Ferguson (3-6) for Macidulskas, Adam Toner (1-0) for McKee, Tiernan Cox (1-0) for Kane.
Armagh Overcome Strong Antrim Challenge
Antrim 2-5 Armagh 1-17
Antrim fell to a strong Armagh challenge in the third round of the BOI Celtic Challenge in windy conditions at Antrim’s Centre of Excellence on Sunday.
Antrim made use of the wind in the first half and got off to a quick start with a Seanie McIntosh goal before Marcus Toner put four between the sides with nine minutes gone. Armagh got their first score through Oisin O’Hare, then Antrim keeper Jimmy Joe Burns brilliantly stopped a goal opportunity from the Orchard County’s next attack.
The home team regained their composure through Aidan Scullion who was excellent all game. Conor McNicholl split the posts from a tight angle, to put five points between the sides. Armagh pointed over from a nice free from Lee Murtagh and then followed up by corner-forward Shea Harvey. Scullion took an excellent sideline cut, then followed the play to regain possession and fire over the bar.
The Saffrons continued their wave of attack, with help from the wind and slotted home a lovely worked goal through Luke O’Connor. Pearse McCreedy caused major problems while running at the opposition’s defence, finding an Antrim man at the end of every play. Armagh slotted over a free from Murtagh, to leave the score 2-5 to 0-4 at half-time.
Armagh came out stronger in the second half, scoring early unanswered points with the help of the wind.
Further scores from Harvey and Conor Rafferty brought the sides level midway through the second-half. The wind continued to be a factor, but the Antrim team continued to battle through corner-back Ben McCauley, Daire Maguire and captain Shane McKenna who lead by example.
The Antrim management changed their forward attack to re-vitalise the team against the tough breeze and they can hold their heads high after an impressive first-half display of hurling. However, Armagh finished the game strongly and earned the tough win.
Best and Fairest awards to both sides went to Antrim’s Aidan Scullion and Armagh’s half-back Fionntain Oliver.
Report by Dan McConnell.
Antrim: Bailey Graham, Shane McKenna, Daire Maguire, Aaron Carey, Ben McCauley, Aidan Scullion, Owen Kennedy, Eoin Boylan, Conor Boyle, Callum Kilgore, Marcus Toner, Andrew McLean, Finn McIlroy, Conor McNicholl, Ciaran McShane.
Armagh: Caolan McCann, Fiachra Moore, Adam Murtagh, Aaron O’Neill, Fiantan Oliver, Caolan McReynolds, Kane Laverty, Adam O’Neill, Aidan Harney, Adam Markey, Oisín O’Hare, Conor Rafferty, Shea Harvey, Lee Murtagh, Ronan Davidson.