Armagh through to All-Ireland semi-final

ARMAGH Ladies are through to the All-Ireland semi-final.

They had a crushing 4-14 to 2-12 win over Waterford last week in Crumlin to earn a place in the September 1 semi.

Armagh started the stronger with points coming Ciara Lennon and Caroline O’Hanlon (2). Once again the lethal full forward line of Armagh were hard to contain with Shauna O’Hagan ably assisted by Kelly Mallon and Ciara Lennon. Midfielders Sinead McCleary and Caroline O’Hanlon were unstoppable at midfield, hoovering up the scraps from Waterford’s play and setting up attacks with powerful runs up the middle. The Orchard girls did take their foot of the pedal and let Waterford creep in for a slack goal which let them go one up with 15 minutes to go in the first half.

Armagh then settled with Niamh Marley anchoring the defence at centre half back. Niamh Henderson and Sharon Reel both played superb games in their link play helping out both midfield and their full back line. Laura Brown was in fine form marking the dangerous Shona Curran.

Sarah Marley on the left wing again was just getting in where she needed to be and winning ball thought to be impossible. In the other corner Clodagh McCann played her role well. Keeper Catherine McAlinden once again did well in nets.

Up front the forward line were on fire again. Fionnuala McKenna, from the minor All-Ireland team of 2011, once more gave the defence a torrid time.

Experienced captain Mags McAlinden again had the task of facing Grainne Kennelly and to be fair got the better of her on occasions with Marian McGuinness there to support and set up from the half forward line.

Armagh never looked like losing this game though in the first 15 minutes of the second half they did let up and gave away scoring chances through poor tackling, which led to Waterford’s Michelle Ryan hitting 1-9 (1-2 from play) in the second half alone.

Armagh were able to call on a strong bench and use subs Caitlin Malone, Mairead Tennyson, Aisling Hughes and Siobhan Mackle who all contributed to some great play in the last ten minutes when Armagh needed to focus and steady the ship. Armagh now play on September 1 in the semi final and their opponents will not be known until other group stages are wrapped up.

Armagh: Catherine McAlinden, Clodagh McCann, Laura Brown, Sarah Marley, Sharon Reel, Niamh Marley, Niamh Henderson, Sinead McCleary, Caroline O’Hanlon(0-03), Marian McGuinness, Mags McAlinden (C)(2-01), Fionnuala McKenna(0-02), Ciara Lennon(1-02), Shauna O’Hagan(0-05), Kelly Mallon(1-0). Subs used: Caitlin Malone, Aisling Hughes, Siobhan Mackle and Mairead Tennyson (0-01)