TYRONE GAA: Hurlers lose out in Nicky Rackard semi-final

Armagh's Eoin McGuinness in a tumble with Tyrone's Sean Muldoon during the weekend Nicky Rackard Cup semi-final.
Armagh's Eoin McGuinness in a tumble with Tyrone's Sean Muldoon during the weekend Nicky Rackard Cup semi-final.

Nicky Rackard Cup Semi-final

Tyrone 1-14 , Armagh 2-25

Armagh's Odhran Curry takes on Tyrone's Damien Casey in the Nicky Rackard Cup semi-final.

Armagh's Odhran Curry takes on Tyrone's Damien Casey in the Nicky Rackard Cup semi-final.

Tyrone’s hopes of reaching the Nicky Rackard decider at Croke Park ended in disappointment at Carrickmore on Saturday afternoon when they were well beaten in the semi-final by an impressive Armagh outfit.

The visitors went into the game as favourites and they fully justified that tag with a fine display throughout. They went for the jugular straight from the off and after establishing a 1-8 to 0-0 lead with only 14 minutes on the clock, they had already one foot in the final.

That 11-point gap remained at the break and while Tyrone hit back with a well taken goal in the second half, that score was soon cancelled out by an Armagh penalty as the Orchard men eased through to the final where they will face Derry at Headquarters.

There was less than 60 seconds gone when Armagh midfielder Fiachra Bradley opened the scoring with a fine point from 50m out before they grabbed their first goal after only three minutes.

Team captain David Carvill, who was superb throughout, went for a point from distance but his effort dropped short and deceived Tyrone keeper Conor McElhatton, going in over his head to the net.

Dylan McKenna then burst through to point, Carvill added three frees and midfielder Nathan Curry weighed in with a sublime effort from fully 70m out.

It took Tyrone 16 minutes to trouble the umpires with Conor Grogan taking a fine point from out on the left wing. Damian Casey knocked over three frees and Bryan McGurk took a good point from play but the onslaught continued with Connor Corvan, Curry and Danny Magee all registering to leave it 1-13 to 0-5 at the break.

Armagh were well on top and they wasted no time in adding to that advantage with Carvill pointing 18 seconds after the restart.

Casey knocked over a brace of frees either side of a point from play but Armagh kept the scoreboard ticking over with eye catching scores from Curry and Ryan Gaffney.

In the 46th minute Bryan McGurk cut in from the right wing to unleash an unstoppable shot to the roof of the net but Armagh responded with points from Carvill (2) and full forward Gaffney.

McGurk then had another goal chance but this time he fired over the bar and 60 seconds later Armagh had the ball in the net courtesy of a Curry penalty after Carvill had been fouled.

Tyrone kept plugging away with Casey taking his personal haul to 0-10 but Armagh closed the game out with points from Ryan Gaffney, Dean Gaffney and Carvill, the Red Hands finishing with 14-men after Stephen Donnelly collected a second booking.

Tyrone: Conor McElhatton, Padraig McHugh, Aidan Kelly, Sean Muldoon, Lorcan Devlin, Stephen Donnelly, Ruairi Devlin, Dermot Begley, Tiarnan Morgan, Conor Grogan, Sean Og Grogan, Justin Kelly, Peadar Daly, Damian Casey, Bryan McGurk. Subs – Christopher Cross for A Kelly, Ryan McKernan for J Kelly, Pierse O’Kelly for Morgan

Scorers: Damian Casey 0-10, Bryan McGurk 1-2, Conor Grogan 0-1, Ryan McKernan 0-1

Armagh: Simon Doherty, Ciaran Clifford, Artie McGuinness, Odhran Curry, John Corvan, Paul Gaffney, Connor Devlin, Fiachra Bradley, Nathan Curry, Cahal Carvill, David Carvill, Dylan McKenna, Connor Corvan, Ryan Gaffney, Danny Magee. Subs – Eoin McGuinness for Magee, Caily Gorman for Bradley, David Bridges for O Curry, Peter McKearney for McKenna, Dean Gaffney for C Carvill

Scorers: David Carvill 1-11, Nathan Curry 1-4, Connor Corvan 0-3, Ryan Gaffney 0-3, Fiachra Bradley 0-1, Dylan McKenna 0-1, Danny Magee 0-1, Dean Gaffney 0-1

Referee: James Connors (Donegal).