Armagh 2-17 St. Barnabas 0-6
The Armagh team that manager Derek McKenna has assembled is setting the bar at a high level in the intermediate ranks, and already looks odds on to return to the senior ranks quickly.
They never trailed against St Barnabas in the league final this week with the forward line in tremendous form. The triple threat of James Moynagh, Richie Morgan and Peter Hatzer up front was unstoppable, with all three excelling over the hour. They combined for 1-12 to lead the Orchard County to the easy win.
Hatzer and Shane Hogan had offsetting points to open the game, Armagh with the first as they never trailed in the hour. Moynagh then showed his undoubted talent with a brace, the first after a brilliant cross field pass from Morgan, the second a towering long range effort.
It was a sign of things to come. The winners had six of the next seven scores, all points, with Hatzer, two, Morgan, two, Moynagh, and Stephen Malone smothering a point from Dion Narney.
Narney’s was a gem from the Carlos Stand wing, but it was a lone high point on the Saints’ board. The defense was battling with Tom McGovern, excelling but the waves were coming furiously against them.
The center back for Armagh, Michael Hallissey, was terrific, setting up opportunities continually with his intelligent outlet passes. He was also a rock in the way of any Barnabas attempts at offense.
After Dan Moynihan and Liam Deane swapped scores Armagh had their first goal. Hallissey found Moynagh with an outlet pass, and he quickly moved the ball on to Hatzer. The dual player (also an Ulster hurler) after a cute sidestep found the net.
Both sides had points to close the half but Armagh was now sitting comfortably on a 1-11 to 0-4 lead.
Armagh again opened the half with the first score, a Moynagh long-range effort. Deane had his second of the game in reply from a free when Michael Travors was fouled, but the next five scores were all for the winners.
The spree started with a tap-in goal from center forward Moynihan, then points from Moynagh (two) and sub Johnny McGeeney with two. McGeeney had arrived off the bench and shows the amount of talent that is available to McKenna. They also forced sub keeper Kevin McArdle into a very good save when Moynihan bore down on goal with 15 minutes left.
McGeeney again and Hogan swapped scores as the time came to an end, but the Armagh bench was emptied at this point with the side in cruise control.
A lot of weapons to talk about from Armagh’s standpoint. Patsy Martin, Darren McDermott, Aiden Morton and the terrific Hallissey were dominant at the back. Hallissey may have found his new home after a period in the middle of the park. He reads the game well and is a very good fielder and distributer.
Kevin McGeeney and Stephen Malone both had strong passages as link men and won the middle confidently. The forward line was clinical. All six had moments when they did something positive. The shear ability of Moynagh, Morgan, McGeeney and Hatzer may be too much for any team to contend with this year.
St. Barnabas never shirked from the tremendous task. James Mullin and Tom McGovern battled throughout. Liam Deane and Brian Dennehy were the most prominent up front, with Dion Narney also trying hard.
Armagh: 1 Donal Hearty, 2 Stuart Stokes, 3 Patsy Martin, 4 Darren McDermott, 5 Aiden Morton, 6 Michael Hallissey, 7 Sean Liddy, 8 Kevin McGeeney, 9 Stephen Malone (0-1), 10 James Moynagh (0-6), 11 Daniel Moynihan (1-1), 12 Gerry Hamill, 13 Richie Morgan (0-2), 14 Kenny Cox, 15 Peter Hatzer (1-4). Sub: Johnny McGeeney (0-3), Alan Hearty.
St. Barnabas: 1 Matt Schumacher, 2 Del Ferrarea, 3 James Mullin, 4 Micheal McBrien, 5 Steve Gomez, 6 Conor Hogan, 7 Tom McGovern, 8 Niall Croke, 9 Shane Hogan (0-2), 10 Eddie Hogan, 11 Brian Dennehy (0-1), 12 Liam Deane (0-2), 13 Dion Narney (0-1), 14 Michael Travors, 15 Shane Flanagan.
Man of the match: Peter Hatzer (Armagh).
Referee: Martin O’Connor.