Feeney hits 1-9 as Mayo secure Nicky Rackard Cup
Mayo 2-16 Armagh 1-15
Kenny Feeney ruled Croke Park like a giant, hitting a marvellous 1-9 as Mayo lifted the Nicky Rackard Cup for the first time.
Feeney’s 57th minute goal was the defining score which sent the silverware on its journey to the west, breaking Orchard resolve with a lethal finish to the Canal End net.
Mayo struck gold in the third minute when Darren McTigue slotted home a goal, finishing off a well-worked move involving Shane Boland and Sean Regan.
It took Armagh some time to find their feet and recover from that early setback, but they clawed their way back with scores from David Carvill, Ryan Gaffney and skipper Cathal Carvill.
The westerners picked off some eye-catching scores trough Regan and Kenny Feeney, stretching the advantage to four points, before the Orchard men found some fluency and reeled off five points in a row, the best of them from David Carvill.
Donal O’Brien had to pull off a smart save to deny Declan Coulter, with Ryan Gaffney converting the resultant ’65, and Mayo went 15 minutes without a score, before Feeney got them back on track with a free.
They were deadlocked at 0-9 to 1-6 at the break, but Armagh pushed ahead with an Eoin McGuinness goal inside a minute of the restart.
Fergal Boland had just brought the Connacht men level when Feeney fetched high and hit the net 14 minutes from the end.
Gaffney levelled again, but Mayo finished like true champions, hitting spectacular scores through Feeney, Sean Regan and substitute Corey Scahill, while Gerard McManus and Freeman starred in a shut-out at the other end as Armagh went in futile search of a goal.
Mayo scorers: K Feeney 1-9 (0-6f), D McTigue 1-0, S Regan, F Boland 0-2 each, S Boland, J McManus, C Scahill 0-1 each.
Armagh scorers: E McGuinness 1-1, D Coulter 0-5, R Gaffney 0-4 (3f, 1 ’65), D Carvill, C Corvan 0-2 each, C Carvill 0-1.
Mayo: D O’Brien, B Hunt, G McManus, E Collins, C Freeman, K Higgins, A Lyons, D Kenny, C Charlton, J McManus, K Feeeny, S Regan, S Boland, P O’Flynn, D McTigue.
Subs: P Connell for Lyons (h-t), F Boland for McTigue (42), C Scahill for O’Flynn (54), K McDermott for Hunt (61), G Nolan for S Boland (69)
Armagh: S Doherty, C Clifford, A McGuinness, C Devlin, J Corvan, N Curry, C Toner, K McKernan, S Renaghan, R Gaffney, C Carvill, D Carvill, D Coulter, E McGuinness, C Corvan
Subs: J King for Renaghan (54), P McKearney for J Corvan, O Curry for Coulter (66)
Referee: J Murphy (Limerick).