Third Time Unlucky

June 12, 2017

Nicky Rackard Cup Final Derry 3-23 Armagh 2-15

At Croke Park on Saturday afternoon favourites Derry made it third time unlucky for Armagh as they beat them 3-23 to 2-15 in the final of the Nicky Rackard Cup. Appearing in their third Rackard final on the bounce Armagh were well in the contest at the half-time with the game’s opening score, a goal from their top scorer Alan Grant helping Derry to a 1-9 to 0-6 interval lead.

Credit to underdogs Armagh who replied in style to the game’s opening score with points from Nathan Curry, Eoin McGuinness and David Carvill (2) to take the lead but Grant who helped himself to 1-4 in the opening half and points from Gerald Bradley (2) and Brian Cassidy (2) and Chrissy McKaigue to give a lead by six at the short whistle.

Sylvester McConnell’s underdogs need a fast start to the second half but it was his opposite number Collie McGurk that saw his charges push on to land the Nicky Rackard Cup for the first time since 2006. Gerald Bradley fired to the top corner of the net straight from the throw-in and Grant’s free made it 2-11 to 0-6 as points from Brian Cassidy, Chrissy McKaigue and veteran sub Ruairi Convery extended the winners’ advantage to an unassailable 14 points. Ryan Gaffney replied with an Armagh goal which was cancelled out by a like score from Cassidy as Derry secured a return to the Christy Ring Cup after a one-year lapse. Armagh kept plugging away and were rewarded with a second Gaffney goal only for Cassidy to complete the scoring which saw Derry crowned champions with 11 points to spare. A third defeat on the trot for Armagh is a bitter pill for the Orchard to swallow but they can gain some solace in that they produced the competitions top scorer in David Carvill (2-41) and have plenty to work with and re-group for next year to try and end their heartbreaking run of final defeats.

Armagh – S Doherty, C Clifford, A McGuinness, T Nevin; J Corvan, N Curry (0-1), C Devlin; P Gaffney, O Curry; D Carvill (0-7, 6f), E McGuinness (0-2), C Corvan (0-1); D McKenna, R Gaffney (2-0), C Carvill (0-3). Subs:F Bradley for D McKenna, D Magee for A Guinness, D Gaffney (0-1) for E McGuinness, D Bridges for C Devlin, C Gorman for C Corvan.

Derry – D McDermott; P Turner, S Cassidy, D McCloskey; P Cleary, O McCloskey, L Og Hinphey; C McAllister, C McKaigue (0-3); G Bradley (1-3), M McGrath, A Grant (1-5, 0-4f); B Rogers (0-3), B Cassidy (1-4), C Waldron. Subs:K Hinphey for C McAllister, N Waldron for P Turner, S McCullagh for P Cleary, C O’Doherty (0-1) for C Waldron, R Convery (0-4, 2f, 1’65) for A Grant, B Og McGilligan for P Cleary.