Crossmaglen 1-10 Armagh Harps 4-15
Armagh Harps became the first team to enter the Senior Championship semi finals after an excellent second half showing allowed them to overcome home side Crossmaglen. The eventual winners led at the break by two points but four second half goals saw them steal away by 14 at the end of the match.
The Harps had the first few shots early in the game but it was the hosts who opened the scoring through Aveen Donaldson in the 4th minute before the Harps drew level two minutes later. Alex Clarke burst through the Harps defence to blast the ball over the bar while the visitors hit two in a row to lead after nine minutes.
A long range shot from Mairead Watters saw the game tied once again before Watters was fouled leading to a tap over free from Alex Clarke. The Harps eye for goal, which came to life in the second period, wasn’t seen in the first half as Cross keeper Caoimhin O’Neill pulled off a number of saves although Kelly Mallon did find a levelling score for the Harps.
An Alex Clarke free kick fell short in the 25th minute and the ball was fired to the back of the net from Aveen Donaldson to give Cross a three point advantage. With Aoife Lennon and Fionnuala McKenna beginning to hit top form Armagh Harps were soon in front by three while an Orla Donaldson point ended the half with the City side ahead 0-10 to 1-5.
The second half was just five minutes old when Eimear O’Kane got the Harps first goal of the game before Mairead Watters and Megan O’Callaghan brought it back to a three point game. Casey Mullen struck the net once again for the visitors while a tight angled free flew over the bar from the foot of Alex Clarke.
Armagh Harps centre half forward Aoife Lennon continued to add to Crossmaglen misery with her side’s third goal with 10 minutes yet to be played in the game, while their 4th and final goal came seven minutes from time. Although the result was beyond question the Rangers continued to fight until the final whistle
Crossmaglen tagged on a few scores at the end with Aveen Donaldson pointing after a strong run from the middle of the field once she won her sides own kick out. Alex Clarke scored from the dead ball with the final score of the game, the Harps seeing out a 4-15 to 1-10 victory to move into the Senior Championship semi finals.
St Peter’s 5-10 Craobh Ciaran 6-14
Craobh Ciaran came out the right side of a rip-roaring contest on Wednesday evening as they travelled to St Peter’s for their Junior Championship quarter final clash. The end to end game had everything a championship game should have and the teams deserve massive credit for serving up such an entertaining match in testing weather conditions.
The St Peter’s crossbar kept them in the game early on when Nicola Woods skipped passed two players only to see her bullet of a shot crash off the woodwork, with Craobh Ciaran settling for a point when Orlaith Mallon tapped over the rebounded effort. The shock sprung St Peter’s into action and they began to dominate proceedings for the next few minutes.
They weren’t to be denied their goal scoring opportunity and hit two along with a well taken point to see them take commanding control of the contest with Ciara Lennon proving a handful for the visiting defence. Two Michelle Morgan frees kept the away team in touch while Nicola Mallon hit 1-1 to see out the opening period with St Peter’s ahead 2-6 to 1-4.
Craobh Ciaran wouldn’t make the same mistake as the first half as this time they rattled the net just after the restart with Kerrie Maguire bringing her side within two points of the leaders. Craobh Ciaran defence were on top during the first moments of the second period with great saves from Claire Keenan keeping them in touch.
Points from Nicola Woods and Orlaith Mallon were followed with a golden opportunity to go ahead as the Craobh Ciaran side were awarded a penalty kick but the St Peter’s net minder guessed the correct way and denied the away team the chance to go in front. St Peter’s came roaring back into the contest and scored 1-2 in quick succession to secure their lead again.
With ten minutes left on the clock Craobh Ciaran trailed by five points but superb work from their midfielders coupled with the scoring threat of their forward division saw them battle their way back into the contest. Aideen Farrell struck for goal while Orlaith Mallon followed up with a further point to level the game in the dying moments.
With time almost up St Peter’s made it a one point game but Craobh Ciaran still had time to wrestle something from the contest. Some hard running at the Lurgan defence led to Laura McNally being hauled down with Mallon swinging over the resulting free to tie the game 3-9 to 3-9 as the referee blew the whistle and ordered extra time.
The additional time opened similarly to the second half with Craobh Ciaran nailing a goal from the throw in through Nicola Woods before doubling their efforts with Orlaith Mallon who also raised a white flag. However St Peter’s kept up their side of the bargain and once again levelled, netting twice as well as knocking over a point, 5-10 to 5-10.
With exhaustion and fatigue setting in both sides continued to serve up an excellent second half to extra time but it was the Craobh Ciaran side who were able to dig deepest and a goal from Nicola Woods followed by points from Catherine Beagan (2) and Orlaith Mallon (2) saw the visitors march on to the semi final stages with a seven point winning margin.
As well as St Peter’s their Lurgan neighbours St Paul’s also crashed out of the championship at the quarter final stages. Naomh Labhaoise played hosts and two goals early in the second period was enough to see out a 13 point victory with the score line at the full time whistle reading Naomh Labhaoise 4-14 St Paul’s 2-5.