ARMAGH Ladies continued their winning ways by beating table toppers Leitrim on Sunday at the Morgan Athletic Grounds.
Missing Caroline O’Hanlon and Clodagh McCann of the starting line up from the previous week Armagh got off to a shaky enough start, though Caoimhe Morgan shackled Leitrim’s Aine Tighe keeping her mainly scoreless only being able to score from frees.
Caitlin Malone who started in midfield also did trojan work alongside Sarah Marley. Sinead McCleary led from the back again with her attacking runs hard to stop with great support from Siobhan Mackle and Sionnain McConville.
Danielle Morgan who lined out at half forward though deployed as a sweeper in defence also played a great supporting role to link up with Mags McAlinden and Fionnuala McKenna.
Armagh had great possession and should have converted more scores in the first half, hitting 10 wides in the first half with Leitrim only hitting four wides.
It took captain Mags McAlinden to steady the ship, hitting 0-3 from frees and successfully converted a penalty after she was herself pulled down in the box.
Shauna O’Hagan and Aisling Hughes were making constant runs at the Leitrim defence which paid off with points coming from Ciara Lennon and McAlinden converting another score before half-time.
Although Leitrim had hit a goal early on and only for the woodwork and good goalkeeping from Catherine McAlinden they could have went in with more scores. They did manage to get two scores from frees just before the half-time whistle.
After a stern team talk at the interval from the management team of James Daly, Aidan Lennon and Leo Duffy, Armagh went out revitalised and hoped to make more of the ball they had.
Again great work from midfield led to an opening point from Sarah Marley and followed up with a great point from Sinead McCleary.
A goal from Leitrim left on two points between the sides.
Again Mags McAlinden converted another free from far out on the wing which kept Armagh just slightly ahead, a wonderful run by Aisling Hughes up the far side of pitch with a hopeful shot at posts rebounded of the crossbar with Shauna O’Hagan waiting to score.
Armagh should have then pushed ahead but unfortunately took a back seat and got a red card with Laura Brown being sent to the line.
This left Armagh under severe pressure though the defence fought hard with Cailin Duffy and Caoimhe Morgan again stepping up a gear to keep the Leitrim girls out.
Leitrim did hit hard and only for the rub of the green for Armagh they could have found themselves in a different position at the end of the game
Leitrim scored four unanswered points and it was to be another ten minutes before Armagh added to the O’Hagan goal. Once again experienced players Mags McAlinden and Sinead McCleary stepped up and scored two points.
Leitrim were still not done and added two more points. Armagh did have more chances in the last ten minutes but with one player down it was all about possession and fortunately for them they kept the Leitrim girls at bay and sealed victory on a score line of Armagh 2-10 to Leitrim 2-8.
Armagh now take on Wexford in two weeks time which should also help them sort out a few niggly injuries going on in the camp.
Team: Catherine McAlinden, Caoimhe Morgan, Laura Brown, Cailin Duffy, Siobhan Mackle, Sinead McCleary (0-2), Sionnain Mc Conville, Sarah Marley (0-1), Caitlin Malone, Danielle Morgan, Mags McAlinden (c) (1-6), Fionnuala McKenna, Aisling Hughes, Shauna O’Hagan (1-0), Ciara Lennon (0-1).
Subs used: Aveen Donaldson and Amy McAllister. Subs: Maire Luckie, Frances Quinn, Sinead McParland.