EFFICIENT ARMAGH ensured that Ardal McDermott and the Donegal hurlers are searching for their first win of the NHL Division 2B campaign.
Donegal 1-08 Armagh 2-14
Goals in either half by Conor Corvan and Dillon McKenna handed Sylvester McConnell’s team the win against a Donegal side that showed plenty of battling qualities again only to come up just short.
With several big guns out injured, Donegal were always up against it, but Paddy Hannigan’s 11th minute goal had given the hope only for Corvan to cancel it out with a goal inside sixty seconds.
Donegal goalscorer Hannigan and Armagh’s Adam Toal were each given straight red cards for their parts in an off-the-ball altercation in the 43rd minute, at a time when Armagh led by a point.
A second Armagh goal, when substitute McKenna tapped home after Cahal Carvill’s piercing run created an opening. Corvan had his shot blocked, but the rebound was steered to the net by the alert McKenna.
Donegal finished with 13 men after Joe Boyle was shown a second yellow card in the 65th minute.
By then, the outcome was inevitable as Ryan Gaffney’s points had steered Armagh to the win.
Donegal were denied a goal in the sixth minute when a scramble on the edge of the square resulted in Hannigan getting a shot away, but Simon Doherty, the Armagh goalkeeper, was equal to his effort.
Hannigan came into the starting line-up in one of two changes to the side from that which lost to Mayo last weekend in Castlebar. Injury prevented Kevin Campbell from taking his place, while Bernard Lafferty took the place of Dara Grant.
Hannigan would not be thwarted again, though, and the Sean MacCumhaills attacker put Donegal ahead with the game’s opening goal on 11 minutes.
From Ronan McDermott’s long ballin found Hannigan and his low shot beat Doherty.
It was a lead that was very short lived, however. Armagh were ahead again within a minute as Corvan smashed powerfully past Paul Burns from a tight position on the left-hand side.
Gaffney and Henderson exchanged frees while a wonderful Sean McVeigh point tied things up for a third time in the 23rd minute.
Patient build-up from Ciaran Matthewson and Ronan McDermott set up Boyle, for a point that lifted the home crowd.
The opening period see-sawed with the teams level four times, yet it was Armagh who held sway, but only just, as they parted for the refreshments the Orchard ahead 1-7 to 1-6.
Donegal have Campbell, Enda McDermott and Danny Cullen to return to the fold, but they were rocked with the dismissal of Hannigan when he clashed with Toal during a fraught opening to the second half.
It wasn’t until the 11th minute of the new half that a score arrived as wing-back James King strode up to clip over and when Gaffney put three between them the task was appearing like a tall one for the hosts.
McKenna’s goal confirmed the inevitable while Donegal will look to welcome those experienced players back ahead of their run-in.
Donegal: Paul Burns; Martin McGrath, Christopher McDermott, Pauric Doherty; Jack O’Loughlin, Joe Boyle (0-1), Niall Cleary; Ciaran Matthewson, Paul Sheridan; Bernard Lafferty, Paul Nelson, Sean McVeigh (0-1); Lee Henderson (0-6, 6f), Paddy Hannigan (1-0), Ronan McDermott. Subs: Gavin Browne for O’Loughlin (20), Shane Gallen for McGrath (32), Sam Doherty for Nelson (58), Stephen Gillespie for R.McDermott (59).
Armagh: Simon Doherty; Ciaran Clifford, Adam Toal, Stephen Keenan (0-1); James King (0-1), Nathan Curry, Cormac Toner; Kieran McKernan, Eoin McGuinness; Declan Coulter (0-1), David Carvill, Ryan Gaffney (0-8, 6f); Conor Corvan (1-2), John Corvan (0-1), Cahal Carvill. Subs: Dillon McKenna (1-0) for Keenan (half-time), Tiarnan Nevin for Toal (62), Odhrán Curry for C.Corvan (68), Paddy McBrien for King (70), Liam Woods for McGuinness (70).
Referee: Colum Cunning (Antrim).Tags: