We have come to the end of the group stages in Group H of the Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge after a thrilling campaign.
In the final week, Derry finished strongly to maintain their position at the top of the leaderboard while Tyrone edged past Armagh in a cracking contest in Garvaghey. In the group’s final fixture, Down received a walkover from Fermanagh.
The remaining teams will now enjoy a three-week break before the All-Ireland leg of the Celtic Challenge.
Read our round-up of all the action below
Derry Show No Weakness In Final Group Game Of BOI Celtic Challenge
Derry 3-22 Antrim 1-6
Derry made it five wins from five in the BOI Celtic Challenge against Antrim in dry but cold conditions in Dean McGlinchey Park.
Early points from Shea Cassidy and Padhriag Nelis had Oakleafers saw them take an early lead before Ciaran McGill got Antrim on the scoreboard just before ten minutes. However, it only spurred Derry on and they scored 1-4 without reply with the goal coming from Cassidy.
Antrim then pulled an extra defender back to tighten up the wide-open spaces and McGill slotted over a free for Antrim from 45 metres. The momentum, however, went back Derry’s way and they hit six points from their leaders Cassidy (4), McGilligan and Nelis before a long-ball found Kosta one on one with the goalkeeper and the green flag was raised.
Antrim grabbed a goal just before half-time when a long-range free from Ciaran McShane found its way to back of the net.
Derry made a few changes for the start of the second half and after a few wayward shots, Antrim capitalised with a great point from play from Oscar Smyth. This was returned in favour with another Cassidy special and a point from replacement Eoghan Quinn. Aidan Scullion was next on the score sheet for Antrim and it was a just reward for the reliable number six.
Kosta and Shea gave an exhibition in movement, touch and finishing, but it was probably Kosta’s second goal which clinched the Best & Fairest award for him. A long ball in was saved by Bailey Graham but it was quickly pounced on by Kosta and sent to the back of the net. Aodhan O’Hagan then put the game out of sight with ten minutes to play.
The Derry lads now enter a three-week break for exam preparation after which they will know their opponent and which division they enter for the All-Ireland Quarter Final on Saturday 15th June.
Report by: Kevin Kelly
Derry: Leo Passmore; Callum O’Kane, Jack Conway, Mark McEldowney; Aodhan O’Hagan (0-1), Niall McGonigle, Jack Cassidy (0-1); Eoin McCallion, Darragh McGilligan (0-3, 0-1F); Michael Murray, Padhriag Nelis (0-3, 0-1F), Dara O’Kane; Kosta Papachristopoulos (2-4), Shea Cassidy (1-8,0-1F), Aidan Cutliffe;
Replacements: Eoghan Quinn (0-1), Oisin Madden (0-1) Ryan McPeake, Ronan McWilliams, Shane Convery, Lorcan McAlinden, Eoghan MacOscar, Adam Rankin, Aaron Campbell, Fearghal McGahon, Keelan O’Kane, Jack McCrory
Antrim: Jimmy Joe Burns; Ben McCauley, Daire Maguire, Antoin McLaughlin; Aaron Carey, Aidan Scullion, James McAlister; Conor Boyle, Conor McNicholl; Luke Mullen, Ciaran Magill, Oscar Smyth; Ciaran McShane, Pearse McKeegan, Finn McIlroy.
Replacements: Bailey Graham, Luke O’Connor, Shane McKenna, Eoin Boylan, Michael Walsh, Owen Kennedy, Patrick Dougan, Daire Mort, Seanie McIntosh, Sean Og Fay, Patrick McAllister, Callum Kilgore, Ruben McClean, Marcas Toner, Andrew McLean.
Late Points Secure Tight Tyrone Win In BOI Celtic Challenge
Tyrone 4-14 Armagh 4-12
Tyrone wrapped up their BOI Celtic Challenge Group H campaign with a thrilling two-point win over Armagh at Garvaghey on Sunday.
Cain Ferguson once again had a hand in the Tyrone victory scoring 2-8, his second goal coming in injury time to edge Tyrone towards the win. They had trailed by nine by the 36thminute, however, they fought back and Ferguson and Fionn Devlin tagged on the match-winning points at the death.
A cracking game of hurling that leaves Tyrone third in the group and now set for a quarter-final spot in the national series set for the end of June.
Armagh raced into an early lead as Ronan Davidson took full advantage of some poor defending and slips to crash home a hat trick of goals, adding a point too in a blistering ten minutes while Ferguson’s 1-3 keeping Tyrone in touch.
The home side had struggled at times to keep Davidson, Lee Murtagh and Oisin O’Hare under control but eventually, Ferguson, Byron O’Neill and Mark McCann landing points to leave three points between the sides. Armagh led by four at the break with O’Hare dropping over a fine long ranger on the whistle.
Armagh got off to a flier after the break, Shea Harvey hit two quick-fire points and Murtagh scored a goal to pull the visitors nine clear. Tyrone’s response was swift and clinical and within ten minutes they were level through a point from McCann and goals from Devlin and Adam Toner.
Cahir Munroe and Murtagh tagged on a point apiece as Tyrone missed a series of chances and Armagh went ahead again through a well-executed Murtagh point as the game headed to additional time. With the game now at a frantic pace, Devlin levelled for Tyrone.
Armagh pressed for the win but some superb defending from Tyrone kept them at bay before Ferguson slammed home his second goal. Aidan Harney pointed a free for Armagh to level things again yet it was Tyrone who edged over the line, Devlin steered the ball over the bar from the right before a late penalty was tapped over by Ferguson on the final whistle.
Ferguson was awarded the Best & Fairest player for Tyrone while Ronan Davidson picked up the award for Armagh.
Report by: Paddy Hunter
Tyrone: Anthony Crossan, Josh Campbell, Fionn Devlin (1-2), Oisin McCallan, Jack Donnelly, Mickey Little, Matthew Duffy, Conor Fitzgerald, Mark McCann (0-2), Jason McAteer, Byron O’Neill (0-1), Tiernan Cox, Conall Molloy, Cain Ferguson (2-8), Adam Toner (1-0).
Replacements: Cathir Munroe (0-1) for Cox, Cathair Conroy for McCallan, Mattie Neill for McCann.
Armagh: Caolan Mc Cann, Oisin Curran, Adam Murtagh, Fiachra Moore, Fionntain Oliver, Caolan McReynolds, Kane Laverty, Shea Harvey (0-2), Aidan Harney (0-1), Conor Rafferty (0-1), Oisin O’Hare (0-1), Cian McCrory, Adam Markey, Lee Murtagh (1-3), Ronan Davidson (3-4).
Replacements: Aaron O’Neill for Curran, Paddy McVerry for Markey, John Hughes for Laverty.