Armagh girls defy the odds to reach final

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ARMAGH ladies defied all odds to defeat Longford in the All Ireland semi-final last weekend to reach the Intermediate Final against the winners of Waterford or Fermanagh on Sunday, September 30.

A culmination of youth and experience have taken this team to where they want and deserve to be.

Armagh playing against a very strong breeze in the first half built up their lead very early and after 20 minutes it was made clear Armagh had only one thing on their mind.

Armagh, who had to make a late change with keeper Catherine Mc Alinden out, replaced by Katie Daly who took her chance to show why she has a minor All Ireland medal from last year. From the full back line made up of Sarah Marley, Laura Brown and Clodagh McCann, Longford’s big hitters Claire Greene and Annemarie Bratton could see they were going to find it hard to get through this line. Niamh Marley in centre half back controlled the whole defence putting her body on the line on numerous occasions. Clann Eireann’s Niamh Henderson and Killeavy’s Sharon Reel once again showed why they have earned their place in the half back ably assisting Marley and midfielders Caroline O Hanlon and Sinead McCleary.

O’Hanlon and McCleary both covered massive amount of ground with McCleary making at least five decisive blocks to keep the Longford forwards at bay. Captain Mags McAlinden led the charge from centre half forward linking up with her club mate Shauna O’Hagan with both contributing 1-04 between them. Ciara Lennon playing slightly deeper than usual won alot of ball linking up with Marian Mc Guinness in turn using Fionnuala Mc Kenna who scored two lovely long range points. As usual Kelly Mallon constantly a threat in the full forward line clearing up any loose ball around the box area getting herself two fisted goals, she was on form. Armagh were able to call on their strong bench on a couple of occasions with Shauna Grey containing Longford’s Sharon Tracey. Caitlin Malone, Mairead Tennyson, Aisling Hughes and Siobhan Mackle all came on and made a massive difference adding fresh legs to take the Armagh team over the line.

A great team performance led to a double score win, and takes the Armagh girls to Croke Park now at the end of the month.

Final Score Armagh 3-09 Longford 1-06.

Katie Daly, Clodagh Mc Cann, Laura Brown, Sarah Marley, Sharon Reel, Niamh Marley, Niamh Henderson (0-1), Sinead Mc Cleary, Caroline O Hanlon (0-2) Marian McGuinness, Mags McAlinden (c) (0-4), Fionnuala McKenna (0-2) Ciara Lennon, Shauna O’Hagan (1-0) and Kelly Mallon (2-0). Subs used, Shauna Grey, Mairead Tennyson, Caitlin Malone, Aisling Hughes and Siobhan Mackle.

The team and ladies county board encourage all fans to come to Croke and support the ladies in the final. Club representatives will get ticket application forms on Tuesday 4th September. Tickets are priced at the following adults €25, oaps and students €10 and U-14’s €8.