Nicky Rackard Cup Champions SLIGO


Sligo 2-14 v Armagh 2-13


Sligo hurlers came to Croke Park for the second time in 12 months when participating in the Nicky Rackard Cup Final on Saturday taking on last years finalist Armagh. 

In almost ideal conditions with a slight breeze going into the Davin end the game was delayed due to Leitrim winning the Lory Meagher after extra time by 30 minutes. 

We got off to a great start with a low drive into the Hill 16 goal by Gerard O'Kelly Lynch. Armagh worked their way back into the half with a number of frees. It was evident that Armagh were physically like Warwickshire a big strong team but Sligo when they used the space had plenty of speed to go by. Both Kevin Gilmartin and Tony O'Kelly Lynch were unlucky with goal attempts but Armagh got the goal when a long hit free fell short it was untidy and despite 2 blocks a cross the goal pass on the 13m line was doubled on towards the Sligo net where keeper Mark Burke appeared to lose it in the sunlight. At halftime we were 2 down 1-8 v 1-10 with the slight breeze towards Davin end to look forward to. Keith Raymond had 6 points in the half.

The second half saw a better quality of hurling with loads of twists and turns. Sligo had equalised within 5 minutes of the restart with two frees from Raymond. Shane Crowley had come on for Tony O'Kelly Lynch at the break scoring a point after a Joe Starr effort as the lead changed back and forth. Mikey Gordon came on for Kevin O'Kennedy. An Armagh red card saw them amazingly go up the field and score a goal from Danny Magee in the 25th minute followed by a free to go 4 up. Going into the final minute of normal time Connor Griffin scored a point and with 5 minutes of injury to play a goal separated the sides and 2 minutes into it Gerard O somehow found enough room to get a swing of the hurl to finish into the bottom corner after a Kevin Gilmartin effort ricocheted across the penalty spot. Extra time beckoned but sub Kieran Prior pointed from play and the final few minutes saw last gasp saves, missed chances and everyone from Sligo begged the ref to blow it up which he finally did to a loud cheer and a mad rush of the subs and management onto the field. 

James Weir took to the steps to collect the Nicky Rackard cup on behalf of his team mates, management and county. 

What a day !

Team:Mark Burke, James Weir, Niall Feehily,Kevin O'Kennedy, Kevin Banks, Liam Reidy , Rory McHugh, Ronan Cox(0-1)Joe Starr(0-1), Gerard O'Kelly Lynch(2-1), Conor Griffin(0-1),  Tony O'Kelly Lynch  Kevin Gilmartin Keith Raymond(0-8, 0-8f) Gary Cadden(0-1) . Subs used: Mikey Gordon, , Kieran Prior(0-1), Shane Crowley(0-1)


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