Armoy keep survival hopes alive

Johnny McErlain who scored 1-2 in Armoy’s crucial win over Sarsfields.

O’Neill’s All County Hurling League Division 2

Glen Rovers Armoy 3-11 Pádraig Sairséil 0-17

Glen Rovers Armoy took a step towards avoiding relegation to Division 3 when they saw off the challenge of visitors Sarsfields in Wednesday evening’s Division 2 league game in Armoy.

Back at the scene of their Intermediate Championship success last October, Sarsfields opened with a great long range point by Kevin McKernan before Ciaran McErlain replied with one for the home side. This set a trend for top class scores during the game and Sars corner back Jack Daniels chipped in with an even better effort as he broke from defence to send the ball between the Armoy posts from distance

McKernan’s accuracy from frees saw Sarsfields open up an early lead but a goal directly from a 20m free by Johnny McErlain gave the home side the boost they needed and when a somewhat fortunate PJ McBride goal was followed by an Owen Kinney point Armoy were suddenly four clear.

Midfielders Kevin McKernan and Ciaran McErlain then swapped scores before the home side raised the second green flag of the evening, a speculative PJ McBride effort deceiving David Ward in the Sarsfields goal and dropping into the net before Owen Kinney added a point to give the hosts a sudden four-point lead.

The tempo of the game really picked up at this stage and there were top class scores from both teams as Kevin McKeran and Ryan O’Neill closed the gap to two before Armoy’s John Dillon stretched it back to three soon afterwards. McKernan and Armoy’s Martin McErlain exchanged scores to keep the gap at three and after Niall McKenna cut it back to two for the Belfast men. In a frantic finish to the half  Ciaran McErlain, Tommy Burns, Trevor Linton and Johnny McErlain fired over for Armoy while Daniel McKernan and Niall McKenna responded for the Paddies to leave just three between the sides at the short whistle.

After such a frantic first half the second period started in strangely laid-back fashion and it was eight minutes before Niall McKenna troubled the scoreboard operator as he cut the gap back to just two. Armoy hit back with a Joe McBride goal, which was quickly followed by a Johnny McErlain point and suddenly they were five clear.

The visitors needed a lift and Kevin McKernan provided it with a great solo score and when he added a point from a free they were back within one score. Johnny McErlain and McKernan traded points from placed balls to keep the gap at three but with time ticking away McErlain stretched the Armoy lead to four with a point from a free.

Things got a little heated as tensions rose in the final minutes but after a disjointed ending Armoy held on to take the points and keep their chances of survival alive.

Armoy: Timmy Burns, Shane Devlin, Charlie McCormick, Emmet O’Hara, Liam Dillon, John Dillon (0-01), Martin McErlain (0-01), Ciaran McErlain (0-02f, 0-01), PJ McBride (1-00), Trevor Linton (0-01f), Owen Kinney (0-01), Thomas Burns (c) (0-01), Joe McBride (1-00), Johnny McErlain (1-02f, 0-01), Conor Christie.

Pádraig Sairséil: David Ward, Peter Corr, James Cunningham, Jack Daniels (0-01), Niall McAlea, Eoghan Rodgers (c), Caillin Caldwell, Kevin McKernan (0-07f, 0-03), Gary Lennon, Ryan Carson, Niall McKenna (0-03), Daniel McKernan (0-01f, 0-01), James McKernan, Ryan O’Neill (0-01), Tomás Doherty.

Referee: Darren Mullan

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Pics by Frank McCaughan

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