NHL Division 3A Round-Up
By Cian Dalton
The Division 3A table is shaping up exactly how we expect it to look at the business end of the league. Sligo and Armagh both recorded wins this week, putting themselves in the top positions. The next round of the league will be in two weeks time, giving each team time to think about their performances so far. Tyrone will need to beat Sligo and Armagh in their final two games in two weeks time if they want to be in the playoffs. With everything to lose, it will be an interesting end to this division.
Monaghan and Longford have not been bad so far, they have just come up against stronger opposition. Longford showed they can slug it out with Tyrone in their entertaining draw last week but that wasn’t to be the case this week. Monaghan are propping up the table and must start preparing for their final game and possible relegation.
Sligo 5-23 – 2-19 Longford, Markievicz Park, Sat. 29th May, 3.00 pm.
There were goals galore in Sligo over the weekend with the green flag being raised seven times. Gerard O’Kelly Lynch had another significant contribution for the hosts, scoring a massive 3-9, many from placed balls. It was a tight enough affair until Sligo started to pull away after 20 minutes. They hit 1-4 on the bounce, O’Kelly Lynch getting his first of three goals.
Longford started the second half in the best way possible with a goal from midfielder Martin Coyle. Sligo pushed back straight away with their own point and a second goal from the penalty spot, put away by O’Kelly Lynch.
Joe O’Brien did most of the heavy lifting for the visitors, scoring 11 points and keeping them withing touching distance of the league leaders. The scoreboard doesn’t make for great reading for any Longford fans but they plugged away all game and never gave up. This hasn’t been their year so far but they came up against the probable league winners and can’t fault themselves too much.
Monaghan 2-15 – 1-27 Armagh, Grattan Park, Sun 30th May, 2.00 pm.
Fionntain Donnelly hit double figures for the third week in a row in an impressive win over Monaghan. He was immaculate from the placed ball with only one point from play, but his importance to the team is evident for all to see.
The Orchard County were in control of this game from the first whistle, racing into a 1-9 to 3 points lead after 22 minutes. Monaghan fought back through a brilliant individual display from Fergal Rafter to be within four scores of the eventual winners, but the restart must have recharged Armagh as they came out scoring at will in the second half.
A Mark Treanor goal brought them back to withing six points but from then on it was all Armagh, the forward line sharing the points between them.
I’m looking forward to seeing Tyrone take on Sligo in a few weeks time but I’m equally interested in the Ulster derby between Armagh and Tyrone the week after. 3A is proving to be an exciting division to follow!