What a wonderful day of hurling in Croke Park where Leitrim, Down and Sligo were all crowned respective All-Ireland champions after hard-fought victories at HQ.
The day started with an absolute cracker between Leitrim and Lancashire that saw the O’Rourke County come out on top after extra-time. It was then Meath’s turn to climb the steps of the Hogan Stand after a strong second half showing against Down.
The day ended with drama as Sligo snatch victory late for the second-year running to be crowned Nicky Rackard champions just one year after collecting the Lory Meagher title.
Here is a round-up of all today’s hurling action.
Lory Meagher Cup final
Leitrim 2-23 Lancashire 2-22
Finals day in Croke Park got off to a flyer as Leitrim and Lancashire played out an epic battle that had to be settled in extra-time.
In the end, it was Leitrim who prevailed to collect a first-ever Lory Meagher Cup after tasting defeat in the final two years ago. Unfortunately for Lancashire, it marks the second year in a row that they’ve fallen at the final hurdle.
It could have ended so differently though had James Glancy not fired to the net deep into time added on. Lancashire led by 1-19 to 1-16 and English looked to be heading for a first title until Glancy’s goal forced an additional 20 minutes.
— The GAA (@officialgaa) June 22, 2019
Earlier, it was Colm Moreton who netted for Leitrim in the opening half before Ronan Crowley responded with a Lancashire goal. Leitrim would lead by three at the break but Lancashire seemed to up it a gear in the second half and looked to be en route to victory until Glancy’s late goal.
Leitrim were able to push on in extra-time and despite a Patrick Duggan goal towards the end, they held on to be crowned the 2019 Lory Meagher champions.
Christy Ring Cup final
Meath 4-19 Down 2-15
In what is a big weekend in both codes for the Royal County, the hurlers kept up their end of the bargain defeating Down by 10 points in the Christy Ring Cup final.
The win marks Meath’s second success in the four year’s at this level and they have been rewarded with a place in the Joe McDonagh Cup in 2020.
Meath started the final strongly with Adam Gannon’s 13th-minute goal capping off a strong opening quarter. Down struggled in the early stages and at one point trailed by 10-points, however, they rallied before half-time with five unanswered points followed by two goals from Paul Sheehan and Daithi Sands to leave them just one behind at the break.
The Mournemen couldn’t push on in the second-half as Meath turned the screw early with a goal through substitute, Nicholas Potterton. Gannon soon netted his second goal of the game on 45 minutes to firmly stamp Meath’s authority on the contest before Callum O’Sullivan netted late on to confirm Meath’s win.
Nicky Rackard Cup final
Armagh 2-13 Sligo 2-14
Finals day at Croke Park ended with a thoroughly entertaining contest between Armagh, who were competing in a record seventh Nicky Rackard final, and Sligo, who were in their first-ever after winning last year’s Lory Meagher Cup.
Sligo started very brightly scoring a goal through Gerard O’Kelly Lynch after just two minutes. Points from Eoin McGuinness, Dean Gaffney and Dyland McKenna got Armagh back on level terms by the 15th minute before McGuinness nudged Armagh in front. The two traded scores before Armagh finished to the net following a dropped short free that created goalmouth scramble. The Orchard County took a slender two-point lead (1-8 to 1-10) in at the break.
Both sides struggled for scores in the second half and were deadlocked at 1-12 apiece heading into the final ten minutes before late drama ensued.
First, it was Danny Magee who netted for Armagh followed by a Simon Doherty point to edge Armagh four in front, however, Sligo came roaring back with O’Kelly Lynch grabbing a second goal before Kieran Prior hit an injury-time winner to give Sligo a one-point win (2-14 to 2-13) meaning they are the 2019 Nicky Rackard champions.