Hurling League Division 3A: Donegal beat Armagh in decider

Donegal's Gerry Gilmore
Gerry Gilmore put Donegal in charge with an early goal at carrickmore on Sunday

Donegal came out on top in a thrilling Hurling League Division 3A hurling final with a 1-18 to 0-19 win to deny Armagh a promotion spot for 2021.

Gerry Gilmore's early goal was to prove decisive and it helped Donegal to a 1-10 to 0-7 lead at the break.

With the wind at their backs, Armagh fought back with scores from Dean Gaffney, Nathan Curry and Danny Magee.

Gaffney's 10th score made it a one-point game but Donegal sealed the deal with a Sam Doherty point.

The two Ulster sides laid on a fantastic game at Pairc Colmcille in Carrickmore on a perfect surface, and it was in doubt right to the end.

Gilmore found the net inside the opening two minutes from Bernard Lafferty's assist, and Donegal went five clear with the wind advantage as Gilmore and Joe Boyle fired over points.

The Orchard men responded with scores from Gaffney and Curry, but by the end of the opening quarter, Tri Chonaill led 1-4 to 0-3, with Declan Coulter striking accurately from frees and play.

Gaffney kept Armagh on the tails of their opponents with his expert dead-ball technique, but at the break it was Donegal who led by six points.

It was all change in the second half and by the end of the third quarter Armagh they were just one adrift.

Danny Cullen and Coulter put some daylight in it again but Gaffney's brought it back to a single point in stoppage time before Doherty sealed Donegal's victory.

Donegal scorers: Gerard Gilmore 1-3, Declan Coulter 0-10 (7 frees), Lee Henderson, Danny Cullen, Joe Boyle, Jack O'Loughlin, Sam Doherty 0-1 each.

Armagh scorers: Dean Gaffney 0-10 (7 frees, 1 '65), Nathan Curry 0-6 (1 free, 1 '65), Danny Magee, Aaron Fox, Oisin Keenan 0-1 each.

Donegal: Luke White; Christopher McDermott; Stephen Gillespie, Padraig Doherty; Joe Boyle, Sean McVeigh, Jack O'Loughlin; Danny Cullen, Ciaran Finn; Bernard Lafferty, Lee Henderson, Michael Donoghue; Gerry Gilmore, Declan Coulter, PJ McCarron.

Subs: Niall Cleary for McCarron (h-t), Sam Doherty for Donoghue (52), Colm Flood for Henderson (56)

Armagh: Fintan Woods; Conor Devlin, Ciaran Clifford, Odhran Curry; Oisin Keenan, Artie McGuinness, Tiarnan Nevin; Aaron Fox, Paddy McBride; Eoin McGuinness, Nathan Curry, Dean Gaffney; Danny Magee, Ryan Gaffney, Kieran McKernan.

Subs: Simon Doherty for Woods (h-t), Shaun Toal for Devlin (h-t), Mark McClatchey for E McGuinness (71)

Referee: Aiden Ferguson (Fermanagh)

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