Donegal 1-22 Armagh 2-14
Donegal are level on four points out of four with Roscommon and Tyrone in the Nickey Rackard Cup with each of Armagh, Fermanagh and Warwickshire on zero. Donegal’s two games, however, were hard won victories that went down to the wire in both cases and they sit third on points difference.
The game against Armagh this afternoon was particularly tight, a humdinger until deep in added time when Donegal twice cleared their lines from Armagh goal attempts and each time broke up-field to add crucial points. The first half was tit-for-tat from almost start until finish and it was not until the thirtieth minute that the gap between them exceeded a point when Armagh led 0-9 to 0-7 but a strong finish to the half seen Donegal lead 0-10 to 0-9 at the break.
Things began to click for Donegal in the second period, helped by an early goal as a long Ronan McDermott strike from near the side line was touched to the net from close range by Richie Ryan. Five points from Davin Flynn and one from Jack O’Loughlin versus two early scores from Armagh seen Donegal open a 1-16 to 0-11 eight point gap. The umpire signalled another Flynn point to make it 1-17 but the ref ruled it out. It proved a turning point – Armagh got their first score in over 15 minutes from the puck-out followed up with a goal soon after from Lorcan Oliver and when a second was scored by Danny Magee, the scores were level 2-14 to 1-17. In the five minutes left to play, plus three added, the home side hit five points on the bounce while repelling a valiant Armagh’s efforts to get the goal they needed to get them back in the game.
Next up for Donegal is a crucial home game against league leaders Roscommon, who have already big wins against Armagh and Warwickshire, next Saturday in O’Donnell Park. Their final two matches are both away – to Warwickshire on May 7 and Tyrone on May 14th.
Thanks to Geraldine Diver for the images.