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Allianz HL D3: Armagh the early pacesetters
ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE RESULTS
Armagh 3-18 Louth 1-16
Mayo 0-17 Roscommon 0-17
Monaghan 2-13 Fermanagh 1-14
It was clashes between neighbouring counties across the board in Division 3A of the Allianz Hurling League this afternoon, but three very different outcomes, as Monaghan edged out Fermanagh, Armagh put Louth to the sword, and the all-Connacht clash at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park ended level between two sides that were a long way short of full strength.
The wind was a huge factor in the game at Darver, where Eoin McGuinness and Seaghan Conneely traded early goals but Armagh kicked on from there to rack up a commanding 3-15 to 0-4 interval lead.
Danny Magee struck the other two goals of the game in the first half while Fionntn Donnelly, McGuinness and Toms Galvin all found the target freely for the Orchard men, and while Mark Gahan had a superb second half for Louth, shooting five points from play and three frees, they never really put Armagh under any serious pressure.
Mayo, operating without their Tooreen contingent, took on a Roscommon side that went into battle without key players such as Peter Kelleghan, Padrig Kelly, and their three top-scoring players -Ben McGahon, Cathal Dolan and Daniel Glynn.
Despite this, the Rossies looked to be on course for the win midway through the second half, where they had turned a tense, 0-7 each first half into a commanding 0-15 to 0-9 lead, with Mickey Joe Egan, Eoin Fitzgerald and Conor Mulry all prominent.
They didnt quite do enough however as a late run of frees from Cormac Phillips and a last minute equaliser from Michael Farrell tied things up.
Finally in the Division, Hugh Byrne was the unlikely match-winner for Monaghan, as the goalkeepers last-ditch, long-range free gave them a narrow win over Fermanagh at Clones.
A goal from Thomas Hughes was the dream start for Monaghan, and they had a range of players on the scoresheet early, before Danann McKeogh goaled to bring Fermanagh right back into it. Three Fergal Rafter points edged Monaghan 1-10 to 1-7 up at half-time but Fermanagh were the better side in the second half, with Daniel Teague, Caoln Duffy and Luke McCusker leading their attack. It looked like Teague had won it too, before Byrnes late strike flipped the script.
Cavan 1-13 Longford 0-14
Leitrim 1-21 Warwickshire 3-6
Perhaps the biggest story of the afternoon at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park was the man in the middle, as Matthew Farrell of Oran Hurling Club in Roscommon took charge of his first intercounty fixture since becoming the youngest person ever to be selected on the National Hurling Referee Panel.
On the pitch, it was Canice Maher, the former Kilkenny minor hurler, who was the star man for Cavan, scoring a total of 1-8. Maher planted a free to the Longford net after 44 minutes to edge Cavan in front, but scores from Cathal Mullane and Reuben Murray edged the home team back in front, before the last four points of the contest three from Maher and one from Jack Barry gave Cavan the win.
Finally, Leitrim needed Brendan Delaneys first half goal to stay ahead of a competitive Warwickshire side at Pirc na hireann at the break, but the Shannonsiders moved through the gears in the second half to prevail by nine points.
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