The first games of 2017 have been played as the Dr McKenna Cup sprung into action. In typical January fashion there was shock results, plenty of scores and even more substitutions! But in not so typical fashion there was a few ‘marks’.
Derry 3-10 Armagh 2-12
The home side did not register their first score until the 20th minute of the game after the Orchard County had 1-1 on the board with the goal coming from Anthony Duffy in the 7th minute cancelled out be Aidan McLaughlin’s 34th minute strike. In truth the lead should have been more as the visitors led by two at the break. The second half was when the game came to life with McKeever and Loughlin trading scores before a Derry penalty was dispatched by McGuckin another Derry goal was to follow minutes later as sub Enda Lynn found the net. Armagh would lead a spirited fightback a Ciaran McKeever goal in the dying seconds was to be in vein as the Oak Leaf men claimed the points.
Cavan 1-13 Tyrone 0-12 New Cavan boss Mattie McGleenan claimed a four point victory over his native Tyrone. Cavan forward Gerard Smith’s early goal gave Cavan a lead they never lost as Tyrone were made to rue their poor finishing. The game saw Tyrone lose three players to injury with Rory Brennan leaving the action with a shoulder injury, Ronan O’Neill with his ankle while star forward Conor McAliskey will miss the entirety of the 2017 season with a Cruciate Ligament injury. Tyrone Mattie Donnelly and Cavan’s Niall McDermott saw red as Seanie Johnson had to leave the fray early with a black card as the Breffni Blues took the spoils.
Donegal 4-13 UUJ 2-20 Ryan McHugh’s late fisted goal gave the students a one point win over a Donegal under 21 side in an entertaining spectacle. The Donegal side scored two goals in each half through Eoghan Ban Gallagher, Micheal Carroll, Brandon McCole and Ethan O’Donnell. But scores from Patrick McBrearty and Frank Burns ensured the Belfast men had took the points.
Antrim 3-12 St.Mary’s 2-16 The Ranch grabbed the win by the narrowest of margins with a last gasp free from Oisin O’Neill. O’Neill put on a man of the match performance hitting a major on route to a personal tally of 1-6, with Tyrone’s Conor Meyler kicking the other St.Mary’s goal. Antrim trailed the game for the most part with Murray, McCann and sub Tomas McCann’s goals keeping the Saffron’s in touch.
Monaghan 1-13 Fermanagh 0-15
Former minor star David McAllister’s goal in the first minute of the game gave the home side a one point win over Fermanagh in Clones. Fermanagh led for large parts in the second half as forward Tomas Corrigan landed nine pointed frees in a man of the match performance but he was to be on the losing side as the early goal was all that split the sides.
Down 1-11 QUB 1-8 Down aimed to begin the year with a win to erase a torrid 2016 and break the losing streak they got what they wished for with a three point win over the Belfast Students. The Down goal coming from a penalty taken by Alan Davidson. The Queens panel included the Mourne County men with Marty Clarke on the score sheet against his native charges.