After a two-week break, the penultimate round of Group H of the Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge took place with wins for Derry, Down and Antrim.
The final round of games will take place next Sunday after which the teams will take a break for the exam period before returning to action for the graded quarter-final stages.
Read a round-up of the latest games below.
Derry Maintain Dominance In BOI Celtic Challenge With Win Over Armagh
Derry 1-14 Armagh 2-4
After the two-week Easter break, Derry returned to action with a victory over Armagh in the Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge in MUSA Cookstown.
Derry began the game brightly as Darragh McGilligan had Derry two up after four minutes and this was quickly followed by a point from Shea Cassidy.
Lee Colville scored a brilliant individual effort after flicking the sliotar over two opponents’ heads and striking the ball over the bar from 45 yards before Padraig Nelis chased down a short puck out from the Armagh goalkeeper Caolán McCann and blocked down the Armagh defender sending the ball between the upright.
Armagh then grabbed their first score of the game after some excellent work from full forward Lee Murtagh who scored in the 23rd minute.
They had their tremendous keeper to thank late in the half after he made a number of saves from Jack Cassidy to keep the umpire from raising the green flag.
Derry started the second half where they left off, with Jack Conway scoring from 60 yards. This was followed up with 65 from McGilligan. Armagh weren’t going away though and hit two excellent points from play
Derry kept the scoreboard ticking before Armagh’s Oisin O’Hare scored a great point from deep.
A bizarre mix up of communication from the resulting puckout was quickly pounced on by Armagh as they dispatched the ball into the bottom corner of the Derry net and raised the first green flag of the afternoon.
Derry responded quickly after Oisin Madden latched onto a breaking ball in the Armagh square and pulled the ball to the net.
A moment of magic from Darragh McGilligan who caught a long clearance from Karl McGilligan, turned his marker at midfield, beat four defenders and sent the ball toward the top corner from 20 metres, only to be denied by a man of the match save from the in-form McCann.
The final act of the game was a consolation bonus point goal by Armagh.
Full-back Aodhan O’Hagan was awarded the Best & Fairest accolade for Derry while Armagh’s net minder Caolan McCann won the award for his side.
Report by: Kevin Kelly
Derry: Leo Passmore; Karl McGilligan, Aodhan O’Hagan, Mark McEldowney; Callum O’Kane, Niall McGonigle, Jack Cassidy; Eóin McCallion, Darragh McGilligan Jack Conway , Pádhriag Nelis, Aidan Cutliffe; Kosta Papachristopoulos, Lee Colville, Shéa Cassidy
Replacements: Aaron Campbell, Michael Murray, Eoghan Quinn, Thomas McKeagney, Oisin Madden (1-0), Keelan O’Kane, Fearghal McGahon.
Armagh: Caolan McCann, Oisin Curran, Adam Murtagh, Fiachra Moore, Fionntan Oliver, Caolan McReynolds, Kane Laverty, Adam O’Neill, Aidan Harney, Conor Rafferty, Oisin O’Hare, Adam Markey, Shea Harvey, Lee Murtagh, Cian McCrory
Replacements: Ronan Davidson, Aaron O’Neill, Dathi McCloy, Niall Elshaw, Dara Cunningham, Paddy McVerny, Shane Began, John Donnelly, John Hughes, Ryan McCaughey, Conor Reavy.
Down Return To Winning Ways Against Tyrone In BOI Celtic Challenge
Down 5-16 Tyrone 0-13
Two goals midway through the first half from Tom McGrattan and Francis Caldwell helped Down return to winning ways in the Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge with a strong victory over Tyrone.
Tom McGrattan opened the scoring for Down with a score reminiscent of his father, Down All-Star Gerard, before Ferguson landed a long-range sideline to level the game. McGrattan found the net after 18 minutes.
Caldwell smashed the sliotar to the net minutes later, taking advantage of the rebound when the ball hit the crossbar, and Down found themselves six points up ten minutes before the break.
The Eoghan Ruadh foursome of Ferguson, Fionn Devlin, Mark McCann and Mickey Little starred for Tyrone and Little scored their first point from open play on 31 minutes. Seconds later Tyrone were very unlucky to have a Jason McAteer goal ruled out after he had fouled the ball whilst in possession after Cahal Lavery had miraculously saved from point-blank range. Finn Collins then grabbed his side’s third goal of the half to give them a healthy lead at half time.
Tyrone started the second half strongly with two points from Fionn Devlin but they were quickly cancelled out with two Ryan O’Neill points for Down. Three pointed frees from Ferguson over the next ten minutes kept the Tyrone scoreboard ticking over, but when Caldwell scored two quick Down goals within a minute at the midpoint of the half, the game was gone from Tyrone’s grasp.
Down closed out the game with Owen McDermott capping off a fine display with two long distance scores. To their credit, Tyrone never gave up and Mark McCann finished off a strong team point.
After the game had ended referee Mairtín McGann presented the Best and Fairest award winners to Down’s Jon Fisher and Tyrone’s Mark McCann for their tenacity and commitment over the hour.
Down will now face Fermanagh in their last group game of the Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge on Sunday in Warrenpoint GAC at 12pm.
Report by: Diarmuid Ó Donnghaile
Down: Cahal Lavery, Eoin Pucci, Darragh Kelly, Ethan Bell, Imran Hussain, James Duggan, Lukas Boyd (Capt.), Eamon Blaney, Finn Collins,Ryan O’Neill, Owen McDermott, Tom McGrattan, Jon Fisher, Francis Caldwell, Eoin Magee,
Replacements: Coran Trainor, Ciaran Savage, Nathan Kelly, Enda Gargin, Oisín Coulter, Rossa McGrath, Jack Lee, Liam Gordon
Tyrone: Conrad McKeown, Cahir Conroy, Conall Molloy, Oisín McCallan, Jack Donnelly, Mickey Little, Matthew Duffy, Cain Ferguson, Conor Fitzgerald, Jason McAteer, Mark McCann, Cahir Munroe, Adam Toner, Fionn Devlin, Byron O’Neill
Replacements: Jude Kane, Eoghan Orr, Tiernan Cox, Josh Campbell
Powerful Antrim Overcome Fermanagh In BOI Celtic Challenge
Antrim 11-17 Fermanagh 0-5
Antrim and Fermanagh both travelled to the Mid Ulster Sports Arena just outside out Cookstown, to face each other in the fourth game of Group H in the Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge tournament.
In cold but dry conditions’, it was the Saffron County who got off to a flying start scoring a goal in the opening minute through Luke Mullen. Three further goals came from Antrim via Ciaran McShane, Oscar Smyth and another by Luke Mullen the Dunloy man.
Antrim lead 4-0 to 0-0 with six minutes gone on the clock. Fermanagh responded with their first score of the game through Ryan Gilleece to get themselves off the mark.
Best and fairest players
— Antrim GAA (@AontroimGAA) April 28, 2019
However, a tenacious Antrim team slotted over their first point thanks to captain, Shane McKenna, who was playing midfield on the day. Aidan Scullion anchored the defence well and set up a continuous amount of attacks for the Saffrons, while Fermanagh’s Ethan McPhillips was excellent at centre-half back.
Antrim continued their attacking force through Michael Walsh, Ciaran Magill and Daire Maguire. Fermanagh’s Ruari Moore and Mark Johnston battled hard despite the favourable score line showing in the first half.
Antrim lead at half-time but Fermanagh came out of the blocks firing in the second half and got their third point of the game through corner forward number Darragh Gormley.
However, the Antrim men got two further goals through Finn McIlroy and Ruben McLean. The Erne County hit back with two more points thanks to Ethan McPhillips and Cahir McManus.
In the end, Antrim won the contest 11-17 to 0-5. Fermanagh battled hard all day in Cookstown, while the Saffrons regained some confidence after a difficult start to their Celtic Challenge campaign.
Well done to Antrim’s Ciaran Magill and Fermanagh’s Ethan McPhillips who received the best and fairest awards. Up next Sunday is the final game of the Ulster group stages.
Report by: Dan McConnell
Antrim: Bailey Graham, Shane McKenna, Daire Maguire, Ben McCauley, Aaron Carey, Aidan Scullion, James McAllister, Conor Boyle, Eoin Boylan, Luke Mullen, Marcus Toner, Callum Kilgore, Andrew McLean, Conor McNicholl, Ciaran McShane.
Fermanagh: Mark Johnston, Liam Moore, Ultan O’Reilly, Odhran Johnston, Ethan McPhilips, Ruari Moore, Michael Flanagan, Mark Hughes, Donn Corrigan, Darragh McPhilips, Cormac Daly, Ryan Gilleece, Oisin McPhilips, Darragh Gormley.
Replacements: Oran McMenamin, Thomas Burns, Connal Maguire, Dara Stewart, Sean Boylan, Danny McCann, Cahir McManus, Joe O’Connor, Eamon Lynam, Matthew McCusker, Ryan McLoughlin, Alex Holden, Lorcan McCaughey, Ryan McKeever, Caleb Barron, Matthew Britton, Chris Bryans, Conor Wright, Kyle Doogan.