Senior hurlers miss out of on Christy Ring Cup place as Meath prevail

Back 30/05/2023 @ 02:22 | hurlingnews | Senior hurlers miss out of on Christy Ring Cup place as Meath prevail

Sligo's senior hurlers missed out on a spot in the Christy Ring final after a six point defeat to Meath at Markievicz Park on Saturday afternoon. 

Although the scoreline flattered the visitors somewhat after they hit a number of late scores, Sligo were always chasing the game and although Padraig Mannion's side did bring it back to a one point game through the excellent Andy Kilcullen on 60 minutes, Meath pushed on to see the game out. 

Freetaker Kilcullen hit 14 of Sligo's eighteen scores, while freetaker Jack Regan was superb for Meath hitting some sensational scores, finishing with a ten point tally.

Four points separated the sides at the interval, Meath in front, however Sligo reduced the deficit with the Hannify brothers Conor and Diarmuid influential as were Andy and Niall Kilcullen.

Sligo were missing key players, the injured Eddie O'Donoghue and Joe McHugh who received a red card against Mayo the previous week. Kilcullen through a free put the hosts in front, Regan responding down the other end with Fionn Moylan then sending over a huge score for Sligo on 6 minutes. 

Points from Nicholas Potterton and Éamon Ó'Donnchadha put the visitors in front, a lead they never relinquished as there was barely a breeze in Markievicz Park.

The home side were being cheered on loudly by young supporters out in force from St Molaise Gaels as both sides were evenly matched. Kevin O'Kennedy was impressive in defence for Sligo throughout.

Meath extended their lead with a huge point from distance from Ó'Donnchadha and then Regan to put them three in front on 14 minutes, Sligo's Diarmuid Hannify showing composure to run up the field and point on 15 minutes. Kilcullen then won possession and pointed, before Regan hit three frees on the bounce as Meath again extended their lead to three points. 

Meath were pulling away slightly as half-time approached, Potterton adding another from play. Kilcullen had a sideline free which skimmed across the face of the Meath goal with a possible goal chance on.

Ó'Donnchadha and Diarmuid Hannify traded scores, Kilcullen then pointing a free on Thomas Cawley, Meath keeper seeing his long-range shot going narrowly wide.

Meath's Simoon Ennis linked up with Ó'Donnchadha who was threatening on goal, Rory McHugh doing extremely well.

Diarmuid Hannify and Niall Kilcullen were advancing with Hannify fouled as Andy Kilcullen pointed the resultant free as it was back to a two point game however Meath hit two late points both from midfielder Pa Ryan just before the interval, Meath in front by 0-14 to 0-10. 

Regan sent over a huge point from distance following the resumption with Sligo seeing a goal chance involving Conor Hannify and Conor Griffin deflected and out for a '65 which Kilcullen duly slotted over. 

Kilcullen hit all three of Sligo's next scores from frees as three points separated the sides on 45 minutes, Thomas Cawley brought it back to a two point game on 53 minutes but Meath's Regan was always quick to respond. 

Another free converted by Kilcullen on a Griffin foul saw two between them on 57 minutes as another goal chance for the hosts saw Griffin with the shot blocked with Niall Kilcullen also involved in the scramble, Sligo awarded a free in with Kilcullen bringing it back to a one point game, the home support in full voice. 

Meath substitute Adam Gannon, only on the field moments, sent over a point from play on 61 minutes and Meath didn't take the foot off the pedal, a huge score from Niall McLarnon followed by a Regan free and McLarnon added his second on 65 minutes as five separated them. 

There were shouts for a Sligo penalty after Griffin was brought down as Kilcullen reduced the gap to four, Griffin again unlucky to see his shot on goal hit the side netting on 69 minutes. Martin Healy and James Kelly wrapped up the scoring for the visitors, who play Derry in the final.

SLIGO; Declan Reidy, Fionn Connolly, Niall Feehily, Kevin O'Kennedy, Gavin Connolly, Rory Mchugh, Eoin Comerford, Niall Kilcullen, Ronan Molloy, Conor Hannify, Andy Kilcullen (0-14 13f), Diarmuid Hannify (0-2), Fionn Moylan (0-1), Conor Griffin, Thomas Cawley (0-1). 

Substitutes used; Ronan Cox for Comerford (69), Liam O'Kelly-Lynch for Moylan (71).

MEATH; Charlie Ennis, Michael Burke, Shane Brennan, Brendan McKeon, Niall McLarnon (0-2), Sean Geraghty, Simon Ennis, Pa Ryan (0-2), Martin Healy (0-2), Padraig O'Hanrahan, Jack Regan (0-10 9f), James Kelly (0-1), James Toher, Éamon Ó'Donnchadha (0-5), Nicholas Potterton (0-2). 

Substitutes used; Mark O'Sullivan for Ryan (46), Adam Gannon (0-1) for O'Hanrahan (60), James Murray for Potterton (61).

REFEREE: James Clarke.