ARMAGH Ladies are through to the Ulster Intermediate final.
“Goals win games” a quote which is used on a regular basis in gaelic games definitely counted today for Armagh ladies when they took on Fermanagh in the Ulster semi-final in Clones.
Armagh got of to a great start from the throw in and half forward Siobhan Mackle opened the scoring with Armagh’s first point, she was not to stop at this and after some great play from Fionnuala McKenna and Aisling Hughes the ball again ended up with Siobhan Mackle who put the ball to the net, leaving Armagh 1-1 up to no score from Fermanagh.
Armagh were solid through defence keeping the Fermanagh forwards at bay with Laura Brown commanding full back well supported by Sarah Marley and Clodagh McCann in each corner,
Niamh Marley who had the centre half back position took some hard hits in the first 15 minutes also played well as she was being sucked into the Fermanagh midfield area by her opponent Noelle Connolly, Fermanagh eventually replied to Armagh’s goal with a point scored. Ciara Lennon scored a point with a great run and captain Mags McAlinden converted a free when midfielder Sinead McCleary was pulled down while making a strong run heading goalbound.
A great passage of play then led the quick ball through to full forward Shauna O’Hagan who made no mistake in front of goal and this left seven points in the first half with eighteen minutes to go. Armagh then took their foot of the pedal with Fermanagh scoring two points from play. It took hard work from Catherine McAlinden in nets who pulled off some magnificient saves until Caroline O’Hanlon and Mags McAlinden finished out the half scoring a point each. Half time score was Armagh 2-5 to Fermanagh 0-4.
Armagh had to play hard and keep possession if they wanted to close this game out. Although Fermanagh did out score Armagh in the second half they had done enough work to kick their way into an Ulster final.
The work rate and runs from Niamh Henderson from half back who constantly supported her half forward line was well rewarded with points again coming Ciara Lennon(2), Fionnuala Mc Kenna, Caroline O’Hanlon and Mags McAlinden. Caitlin Malone again played a hard game winning alot of break ball around the forward line which led to a lot of great play from the Armagh girls. Although Fermanagh did score a goal from Sharon Little they just could not seem to get past the Armagh defence in the dying minutes of the game.
Substitutes Marian McGuinness and Sharon Reel added great experience and strength with Reel unlucky not to score a goal which should have resulted in a penalty and Caroline O’Hare’s introduction also added another dimension to the Armagh forward line.
Final score: Armagh 2-10 Fermanagh 1-11.
Armagh now take on Cavan in the Ulster final with some very positive play and attitude from the Armagh girls. Winning this final would be a great boost to Armagh football in general and with competition tight for places every girl has a lot to fight for which can only benefit Armagh.
This final is in the Athletic Grounds on Saturday, June 23.
Armagh : Catherine McAlinden, Clodagh McCann, Laura Brown, Sarah Marley, Fionnuala McKenna(0-1), Niamh Marley, Niamh Henderson, Caroline O’Hanlon(0-2), Sinead McCleary, Siobhan Mackle (1-1) Mags McAlinden(C) (0-3) Aisling Hughes, Ciara Lennon (0-3), Shauna O’Hagan (1-0), Caitlin Malone. Subs used: Marian McGuinness, Sharon Reel and Caroline O’Hare.