Derry power to Nicky Rackard Cup final win at Croke Park
Derry 3-23 Armagh 2-15
Derry inflicted a third successive Croke Park final defeat on Ulster rivals Armagh with a resounding victory as they won the Nicky Rackard Cup for a second time.
Second half goals from Gerald Bradley and Brian Cassidy did the trick for the Oak Leafers as they ended the season on a high.
Alan Grant fired in a seventh minute goal to get the Oak Leafers off to a positive start, but they were pegged back by a determined Orchard side that hit four on the spin to go in front.
Eoin McGuinness contributed a couple of stylish points, with centre back Nathan Curry also pushing forward to hit the target.
But the Derry defence, with Sean Cassidy, Darragh McCloskey and Liam Og Hinphey in defiant form, closed out their opponents for the remainder of the half.
Grant added three points to his tally, and Gerald Bradley added two gems as Collie McGurk’s side regained the lead and seized control.
Armagh full back Artie McGuinness got in some vital interventions to prevent further damage, but their attack was struggling for space, and went 15 minutes without a score, until David Carvill converted a free.
However, they were soon on the back foot again, and two Brian Cassidy points sent Derry in with a 1-9 to 0-6 interval lead.
Bradley smashed home a second Derry goal less than two minutes after the restart, and the Oaks were well on their way.
They were able to bring in experience, with Ruairi Convery coming off the bench to steer over a handful of scores, and they were 11 points clear by the time Ryan Gaffney booted home an Armagh goal on 55 minutes.
Four minutes later, Cassidy picked his spot for Derry’s third goal, and Gaffney’s late strike was no more than a consolation.
Scorers - Derry: A Grant 1-5 (0-4f), B Cassidy 1-4, G Bradley 1-3, C McKaigue, B Rogers, R Convery (1f, 1 ’65) 0-3 each, C Doherty, K Hinphey 0-1; Armagh: R Gaffney 2-0, D Carvill 0-7 (6f), C Carvill 0-3, E McGuinness 0-2, C Corvan, D Gaffney, N Curry 0-1 each.
Derry: D McDermott; P Turner, S Cassidy, D McCloskey; P Cleary, O McCloskey, L Og Himphey; C McAllister, C McKaigue; G Bradley, M McGrath, A Grant; B Rogers, B Cassidy, C Waldron.Subs: K Hinphey for McAllister (22), N Waldron for Turner (h-t), C Doherty for C Waldron (45), R Convery for Grant (45), B Og McGilligan for Cleary (58)
Armagh: S Doherty; C Clifford, A McGuiness, T Nevin; J Corvan, N Curry, C Devlin; P Gaffney, O Curry; D Carvill, E McGuinness, C Corvan; D McKenna, R Gaffney, C Carvill. Subs: F Bradley for McKenna (30), D Magee for A McGuinness (h-t), D Gaffney for E McGuinness (60) D Bridges for Devlin (62), C Gorman for C Corvan (70)
Referee: S Hynes (Galway)