ACHL Division 3
Glen Rovers 2-18 Cuchulainn Armagh 0-18
A win in Armoy on Sunday would probably have secured the division 3 league title for Armagh club, Cuchulainn. They went into this game against second placed Glen Rovers with a four point lead over the North Antrim club and a win would have put them six clear with just three games to play.
Things didn’t quite go to plan for the visitors however and at a wet and windy Armoy they came up against a Glen Rovers side who have shown a lot of improvement in recent weeks and who clearly haven’t given up the chase for the title themselves.
Cuchulainn’s chose to play with the wind in the opening half but in an error ridden opening period both sides were guilty of missed chances before Joe Burke pointed the visitors ahead from an 8th minute free.
Owen Kinney levelled from a 40 meter free into the wind and the big number 11 would play a major part in his side’s eventual success.
David Ryan eased the Armagh side back in front but Emmet O’Hara levelled matters for the second time in the 13th minute and edged them ahead for the first time, a minute later and when Kinney drove another long range free between the posts, the momentum was with the men from the glen.
Cuchulainn’s responded and their keeper, Paddy Heaney drove a free from over 80 meters over Conor Devlin’s bar and Lee Murtagh brought the sides level with a point from play in the 21st minute but Ciaran Coyles replied immediately to restore the home sides lead.
Given the strength of the wind, the Armagh side needed scores going into the final stages of the half and they finished with a flurry as Rhys Stevens, Connor Devlin, and the excellent Jordan Murtagh 0-2 edged them four in front as Fergus ‘Skinner’ McAlister sounded the half time whistle.
Given the severity of the elements the question was, ‘would four points be enough?’ as Armoy turned with the proverbial wind in their sails and Emmet O’Hara landed a massive point in the opening minute.
A minute later Owen Kinney got on the end of a tantalising delivery before turning and firing to the Cuchulainn net and the sides were level and the league leaders looked in trouble.
They responded however as their talisman, Jordan Murtagh fired over a couple of good points at the other end to move them two in front once more but Glen Rovers now had the bit firmly between their teeth.
Owen Kinney replied with a point at the other end and another Emmet O’Hara long range special had the side’s level once more with 11 minutes of the new half gone.
Caolan Rice briefly restored the visitors lead with a point at the end of the third quarter but the momentum was very much with the home side as Owen Kinney equalised once more from a ‘65’ and Emmet O’Hara 0-2 and PJ McBride moved them three in front.
The league leaders have been excellent this year and they showed just why they are top of the division as they responded with points from Lee and Jordan Murtagh to leave just one in it again and when Jordan Murtagh fired over the equaliser with 8 minutes remaining the fat was very much back in the fire.
Armoy quite simply refused to concede however as the excellent Kinney fired another ‘65’ between the uprights and added another from play with Murtagh again replying with a point for the visitors.
The ‘Hoops’ struck a telling blow however as Trevor Linton fired home from close range in the 29th minute and although Jordan Murtagh closed the gap to three as the game entered time added on it would be as close as the visitors got.
Trevor Linton, Owen Kinney with his third ‘65’ of the evening and Emmet O’Hara ensured that there would be no way back for the league leader with three unanswered points to move the Glen Rovers to within two points of the league leaders and keep their own ambitions very much alive.
Armoy: 1 Conor Devlin: 2 Calum Coyles, 3 John Dillon, 4 Liam Dillon, 5 Tarlach McBride, 6 Emmet O’Hara, 7 Ciaran McKenna, 8 PJ McBride, 9 Joseph McFetridge, 10 Eoin O’Boyle, 11 Owen Kinney, 12 Ciaran Coyles, 13 Trevor Linton, 14 Cormac Doherty, 15 Daniel Connolly. Subs: Timmy Burns, Conor Waterswon
Cuchuliann Armagh: 1 Paddy Heaney, 2 Rona n O’Hagan, 3 Oisin Richards, 4 Jack Scallon, 5 Stephan McParland, 6 Brian Bell, 7 David Ryan, 8 Gerald Barton, 9 Tom Marley, 10 Rhys Stevens, 11 Caolan Rice, 12 Connor Devlin, 13 Joe Burke, 14 Jordan Murtagh, 15 Lee Murtagh Subs: Dermot Hicks, William Wong
Referee: Fergus McAlister (Cushendall)