Hurling Round-up: Derry side bag place in decider
Derry booked their place in the Division 3A final of the Allianz Hurling League when they just pipped a rugged London side by 1-14 to 1-13 at Banagher yesterday.
Stripped of the services of Paddy McCloskey and Conor Quinn, Derry — who have thrived under new manager Ger Rogan — were forced to re-shuffle their defence with the versatile Mark Craig going to full-back.
But the team as a whole, with the emerging Lee Hawkins superb at corner back, showed considerable resolve against a London outfit that battled grimly until the end.
Even though they had Cormac McKenna and Ruairi Convery dismissed, Derry managed to retain their shape.
Kevin Hinphey’s goal proved crucial while Convery’s three points before his red card and a superb contribution of five points from midfield ace Oisin McCloskey were central to the Oak Leaf side’s victory which will see them go into a promotion showdown with Wicklow on Sunday, April 17.
Wicklow surprisingly fell to a resurgent Armagh at the Athletic Grounds yesterday.
Armagh are already relegated to Division 3B but they showed new-found spirit and marked cohesion in overcoming their previously unbeaten visitors by 5-11 to 2-14.
Declan Coulter set the tone for Armagh’s victory by grabbing 2-6 while Conor Corvan scored 2-2 with the team’s other goal coming from Kieran McKernan.
Jonathan O’Neill top-scored for Wicklow with 1-8 but his team failed to capitalise on Andy O’Brien’s seventh minute goal. Nonetheless they were still only a point in arrears with 10 minutes to go.
However Coulter and Corvan each scored a second goal in the closing phase to take Armagh to their first victory.
Armagh’s failure to make home advantage count in earlier games against London and Kildare ultimately contributed to their demotion.
In Division 3B there were defeats for Monaghan and Donegal against Roscommon and Mayo respectively. But Ulster sides fared well in Division Four with wins for South Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone.