Lory Meagher Cup: Monaghan 3-22 Lancashire 3-20
Nickey Rackard Cup: Wicklow 1-20 Donegal 3-12
Christy Ring Cup: Meath 1-23 Derry 1-21
With glorious June bank holiday sunshine on their backs, Monaghan, Wicklow and Meath all travelled home with silverware after a pulsating day of hurling final drama at Croke Park on Saturday.
Monaghan’s maiden Lory Meagher cup was obtained thanks to the sizzling brace from Niall Garland.
The speedy centre forward cut through the Lancashire defence on two occasions in the second half and honed his side in on rare silverware.
Wasteful Lancashire found the net twice in the first half through Robin Spencer and Darragh Carroll but Thomas Hughes’s late goal and Niall Arthur’s accuracy ensured they were ahead at the turn.
Lancashire looked to be making history themselves when Simon Holland scored a goal with his first touch. The replacement batted home the first piece of second-half play but it would not be enough as they succumbed to Garland’s brilliance.
In their first season in the Nickey Rackard Cup, Wicklow swiftly claimed their place in the Christy Ring for next year. The years of higher-level hurling showed for the Leinster men as they ground out the win having only first led the showpiece in the 57th minute.
Donegal were full value for their unlikely lead for the majority. With Ronan McDermott causing the Garden County all sorts of bother, Ryan Hilferty and Liam McKinney profited most.
Andy O’Brien levelled upon the resumption with a gorgeous flick past Tír Chonaill’s top scorer on the day, Luke White. Christy Moorehouse and greater impact off the bench reeled Donegal in as Wicklow rapidly exited the stage.
In the day’s last act, Meath exhaled as Christy Ring champions. Just when it looked like Derry’s momentum was going to be enough, Jack Regan’s brilliance would not be denied.
With huge tallies beside their names, Regan and Cormac O’Doherty duelled all afternoon from placed balls. Derry’s slow start and Nicholas Potterton’s early second-half goal saw the Oak Leaf outfit trail by as much as 13.
As the half wore on, Derry would rue their sluggish start. With the game down to one point, Regan showed steel under the utmost pressure to engineer and finish the job himself for the worthy Royals.