Allianz NHL Division 3A Round-up
By Cian Dalton
Image via Longford Leader
Thank God I’m not a betting man because my predictions were well off. Damian Casey was on form and C.J. McGourtyran riot at centre forward but Longford matched Tyrone point for point in Pearse Park. Sligo didn’t show any sign of rustiness as they burst out of the blocks with a fine win over Armagh in a round of games that were full of goals.
Longford 2-22 – 2-22 Tyrone, Pearse Park, 2pm.
This was as tight a game as you’ll see all weekend. The green flag was raised four times over the course of the game, Cathal Mullane (Longford) and C.J. McGourty (Tyrone) terrorising the opposition defences. Cathal Mullane’s goal four minutes from time looked like it might have sealed the game for the hosts but two frees for captain Casey and a point from Lorcan Devlin levelled the tie.
Tyrone went in at half time a point up thanks to McGourty’s two goals, but Longford came storming out of the gates for the second half with three points on the bounce. It looked like it was going to be Longford’s game as they were hoping to bounce back from an opening day defeat. Mullane and Joe O’Brien had massive games but they may feel it is a point lost after the goal.
Tyrone will be thankful for former Antrim dual-star McGourty and hoping to claim all the points in their next game in three weeks time.
Sligo 2-24 – 1-18, Markievicz Park, 2pm.
Sligo and Armagh traded goals in a tight first half before the hosts pulled away in the second. Joe McHugh scored a goal after 22 minutes, putting Sligo four ahead. Mark McClatchey fired straight back for Armagh. Sligo were only two ahead at half time and the second half started off similar to the first. Both sides swapped scores, Fionntain Donnelly reliable from frees as usual. Gerard O’Kelly Lynch scored Sligo’s second goal from the penalty spot and the full forward was also a sure bet from a placed ball.
In the end, Sligo cemented their place as one of the favourites in this division. They scored the last six scores of the game to win by nine points. Rory McHugh scored a monster score from the halfway line in the pick of the bunch. Armagh will look to bounce back next week against Monaghan. Fionntain Donnelly is the key to their scoring while Sligo will head home very happy with their opening win.