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Simplyfruit Armagh League Commences – Dream debut for Forkhill

April 13, 2015

The 2015 Simplyfruit Armagh leagues began on Sunday with action in the Senior, Intermediate, Junior A and Junior B leagues. The opening day of any league season is important and special to many clubs for varying reasons but pride of place for this season must go to Forkhill who were making their Senior debut.

Seniors

A few years ago Forkhill Peadar O’Doirnin were operating out of Division 4 but began their 2015 campaign with a home fixture against Sarsfields Derrytrasna. It was a dream debut for the small south Armagh side as they marked their Senior bow with a 1-10 to 1-9 victory. It may have been a minute margin of victory in the end but the hosts bossed the game from the outset, leading 1-8 to 0-5 at the short whistle and 1-10 to 0-6 inside the last 10 minutes. The loss of a couple of defenders to injury disrupted the home play with the visitors getting the upper hand but the goal they needed never arrived until injury time and was too late to spoil the party that had looked on from a long way out.

Defending league champions Crossmaglen Rangers faced a tricky opener taking on a Carrickcruppen side being tutored by former Down greats Daniel Hughes and Benny Coulter. But as the duo knew from past experiences, goals win games and in this case two in the opening half from Martin Aherne and Paudie Stuttard gave the defending champions a 2-5 to 0-4 interval lead. St Pat’s came out tops in a 7 goal thriller at Cullyhanna where they beat visitors Tir na nÓg 4-10 to 3-5. Goals from Kieran Hoey and Gareth Mackin gave the hosts early control but a tale of penalities one converted by the visitors and one missed by the home side saw them go in at the break 2-3 to 1-4 ahead. The Portadown side took a second half lead with their second goal but it was the inspirational Tony Donnelly who top scored with 1-6, produced their third green flag which enabled them regain control. The visitors struck for a third goal which was immediately cancelled by a Gary McCooey goal.

Killeavy St Moninna’s made the long journey to Maghery and came back empty handed after a good performance that saw them fall short 0-14 to 0-11. Depleted Armagh Harps began with a 1-8 to 1-4 win over Wolfe Tones, Derrymacash. Neighbours Pearse Og and Ballymacnab Round Towers will have to share the bragging rights just as they did the points in a 0-12 to 1-9 draw at Pearse Og with Rory Grugan proving his prowess from the penalty spot for the ‘Nab with Michael Began pulling the strings for the visitors, as usual. There was another draw in Lurgan where St Paul’s were held by visitors Annaghmore Pearses in a low scoring encounter with the visitors’ goal crucial in the 1-4 to 0-7 stalemate. Dromintee St Patrick’s will be delighted with their opening 1-16 to 1-12 win away to Granemore, St Mary’s never an easy place to pick up points.

Intermediate League

The south Armagh local derby saw Mullaghbawn Cúchulainns win at Silverbridge Harps with a blistering second half performance to turn an interval deficit of 6-3 into a 0-9 to 0-7 win. Holding the Bridge to one second half point should mean the defence earn all the plaudits but the man of the moment was Eddie English who bagged 6 points.

Shane O’Neill’s made the journey to Lurgan a winning one defeating Clan Na Gael 0-11 to1-6. In a game of fluctuating fortunes with the lead changing hands a few times in the second half but it was the accurate boot of Paul O’Rourke with two late points, to take his tally to 6, which saw the visitors home happy. Whitecross St Killian’s began their campaign with all the intentions of a short stay in this division as they romped to 3-11 to 0-4 win against Keady Michael Dwyers. A Darren Shields penalty and a second three pointer from Colm O’Hanlon had the wind assisted visitors well in control at the break 2-8 to 0-2. O’Hanlon bagged his second goal to end up with a personal 2-3 but the winners will know that there are much stiffer tests ahead. Talking about stiffer tests Dorsey Emmet’s on their opening display away to St Peter’s, Lurgan will need to show great improvement if they are to avoid a long arduous fight against relegation as they lost 3-16 to 0-6. A last minute goal deprives Culloville Blues of a winning start at home to Eire Óg who held a 1-7 to 1-5 interval lead. Niall Rowland who scored the home goal led the second half charge as they outscored their opponents 0-7 to 0-3 but then fell foul to the sucker winning goal. Clann Eireann made it a winning start at Collegeland O’Rahilly’s 0-12 to 1-4 with An Port Mór 1-12 edging out hosts Middletown Owen Roes 2-6 in an entertaining encounter. Madden Raparees 1-12 will be delighted to have accounted for visitors Grange St Colmcille’s 2-6 to get their campaign off to a winning start.

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