Indisciplined Clann Eireann lose County title

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CARRICKCRUPPEN 2-11 CLANN EIREANN 1-8

Clann Eireann relinquished their county title on Sunday night with what was a largely underwhelming and disappointingly indisciplined performance against Carrickcruppen in the Athletic Grounds.

The Lurgan club has dominated the Orchard county club scene for most of the past decade, winning the Senior Championship in five of the past six seasons, but they would have gained few fresh admirers here with this ineffective, cynical display.

A forgettable evening ended in ignominy with the sending off of former Armagh full back Laura Brown whose dramatic meltdown deserved the straight red card received from the referee and may yet attract a ban for what was disgraceful conduct from an experienced player.

The hungrier, more disciplined Carrickcruppen, superbly led as ever by iconic captain Caroline O’Hanlon, were worthy winners on an evening when their county stars eclipsed Clann Eireann’s big guns and the lesser lights also stood up to be counted.

Although any club team would miss Shauna O’Hagan and Meabh Moriarty, Clann Eireann still had an experienced core to call upon but lacked conviction and only led for four minutes of the match.

County captain Mags McAlinden put them in front inside 60 seconds but that was as good as it got with Cruppen coming back to lead by four at half-time in spite of having Amy Hughes sinbinned.

The young Henderson sisters, Aiobheann and Niamh, showed up more experienced colleagues and kept their team afloat though two yellow cards in the second half hardly enhanced hopes of a successful comeback.

A strangely subdued Sinead McCleary converted a late penalty to give some hope but Carrickcruppen responded with a goal and a point to cement their deserved victory and leave the vanquished with plenty to ponder.

Clann Eireann will be back but Carrickcruppen, the only team to break their run of success in recent years with a surprise victory in 2010, are now serious rivals.

Carrickcruppen: N Lennon 1-3, C O’Hanlon 0-3, C Murray 1-0, M Cinnamond 0-2, R O’Reilly 0-1, A McCullough 0-1, C Malone 0-1.

Clann Eireann: A Henderson 0-3, S McCleary 1-0, M McAlinden 0-2, N McDaid 0-1, N Henderson 0-1, J Henderson 0-1).