Maher sinks Wicklow hopes
London 4-18 Wicklow 1-17
London returned to Croke Park 12 months after annexing the Nicky Rackard Cup to upset the odds by winning the Christy Ring decider.
In doing so, the Exiles inflicted fresh pain on last year's beaten finalists. They refused to read the script, with corner-forward Jonathan Maher terrorising Wicklow with a brilliant performance that yielded 3-4 from play.
The Kilburn Gaels man had 1-3 on the board in the first half, and, with Martin Finn rifling a 20m free to the net, London led at half-time by six.
Enan Glynn had kept Wicklow in touch with a close-range finish for a goal after Wicklow had fallen nine points behind, while Jonathan O'Neill finished with 11 points, but, hard though they tried, they never got closer than four.
Scorers -- London: J Maher 3-4, M Finn 1-5f, J Egan 0-4, C Quinn 0-2, P Sloane, K Walsh, T Dunne 0-1 each. Wicklow: J O'Neill 0-11 (6f, 1 '45'); E Glynn 1-1; E Kearns, A O'Brien 0-2 each; W O'Gorman, E Dunne 0-1 each
London: T Williams; E Walsh, B Costello, G Fennelly; L Mackey, D Maher, M Walsh; C Quinn, PJ Rowe; P Sloane, J Egan, S Egan; J Maher, M Finn, T Dunne. Subs: B Smyth for S Egan (h-t); K Walsh for Sloane (52); E Cooney for Dunne (63); H Vaughan for Smyth (70+2)
Wicklow: J Murphy; B Cuddihy, G Keogh, J Connors; J Henderson, S Kelly, G Bermingham; E Kearns, R Keddy; T Doyle, W O'Gorman, E Dunne; E Glynn, J O'Neill, A O'Brien. Subs: E O'Neill for Connors (18); C Moorehouse for Doyle (h-t); L Kennedy for Dunne (h-t)
Referee: K Brady (Louth)
It was a stroll at Headquarters for Armagh's hurlers as they consigned Louth to a second consecutive Nicky Rackard Cup final defeat in resounding fashion.
Declan Coulter bagged himself two goals in the opening period, while Conor Corvan also raised a green flag for Michael Johnston's charges, who led by 3-13 to 0-8 at half-time.
David Carvill provided five of the winners' points in that period, while Shane Fennell was Louth's chief source of relief with a similar contribution.
The Wee County outfit provided stouter resistance after the resumption and though Brian Corcoran's goal in the 58th minute was fitting reward for their efforts, they were never likely to reel Armagh in.
Scorers -- Armagh: D Coulter 2-2, D Carvill 0-6 (5f), C Corvan 1-3, R Gaffney, P McCormack (1f) 0-2 each, R McGrattan (f), J King, C Carvill, J Corvan, F Bradley 0-1 each. Louth: S Fennell 0-9 (8f), B Corcoran 1-2, D O'Sullivan, S Callan, D Murphy, A Wallace 0-1 each.
Armagh: S Doherty; P Hughes, C Clifford, C McKee; K McKernan, N Curry, P Gaffney; R McGrattan, J King; D Carvill, C Carvill, R Gaffney; C Corvan, P McCormack, D Coulter. Subs: F Bradley for Coulter (47), J Corvan for D Carvill (54), M Maguire for King (63), A Carville for C Corvan (68).
Louth: J Connolly; D Rafferty, W Morrissey, M Wallace; D O'Sullivan, R Byrne, D Horan; S Callan, D O'Hanrahan; B Corcoran, S Fennell, D Murphy; K McNally, D Dunne, A Wallace. Subs: G Rellis for O'Hanrahan (22), G Smyth for McNally (38), D McArdle for M Wallace (48), S Maguire for Murphy (61).
Referee: H Wallace (Donegal)
Hot favourites Tyrone needed a point right at the end of the second half of extra-time from Conor Grogan to snatch the Lory Meagher Cup from the grasp of heartbroken Fermanagh.
Last year's runners-up conceded three first-half goals to Shea Curran, Declan McGarry and the sensational Seán Corrigan, but some excellent shooting by Justin Kelly, and a goal and three points from Seán Óg Grogan, saw them go in at the break leading by 1-12 to 3-4.
The sides finished at 1-20 to 3-14. Both were then reduced to 13 players in extra-time, but Fermanagh were three points clear with four minutes remaining when a Kelly goal brought Tyrone level before Grogan pounced for the winner.
Scorers -- Tyrone: Justin Kelly 1-8 (0-3f 0-2 '65s'), S Óg Grogan 1-4, D Casey 0-4f, C Grogan 0-3 (1f), A Kelly 0-2, S McKiver, G Gilmore, R O'Neill 0-1 each.
Fermanagh: S Corrigan 1-8, J Duffy 0-7 (4f), S Curran, D McGarry 1-1 each, P McGoldrick 0-2f, R Bogue 0-1
Tyrone: Jason Kelly; M Kelly, D Maguire, R Winters; M O'Gorman, M Grogan, S McCrory; Justin Kelly, C Gallagher; A Kelly, S McKiver, D Casey; G Gilmore, S Óg Grogan. Subs: J Devlin for Jason Kelly (h-t), R O'Neill for Casey (47), SP Begley for O'Gorman (61), S Donnelly for McCrory (65), S Hagan for Casey (68), Casey for McKiver (80), P McHugh for Gallagher (82), P O'Connor for Hagan (87).
Fermanagh: D McPhillips; D Teague, E Morrissey, F Bannon; F McBrien, M Slevin, K Kehoe; J Duffy, R Bogue; JP McGarry, D McGarry, A Breslin; S Corrigan, S Curran, P McGoldrick. Subs: B Smith for McGoldrick (h-t), S Mulholland for McBrien (63), C McGarry for Mulholland (81), McBrien for Kehoe (83); McGoldrick for C McGarry (89)
Referee: M Carroll (Roscommon).
Sunday Indo Sport