Armagh Ladies lay down marker in league opener

Clare 1-8 Armagh 5-8

Aoife McCoy’s 7th minute goal handed Armagh the lead for the first time in the game and they never looked back, coupled with a dominating second half display, the ladies to pulled away to hold a comfortable 12 point advantage by the time the final whistle sounded.

The first half wasn’t all easy going however, as the Orchard County were ahead by just two at the interval. Aoife McCoy got her side off the mark with their first point, splitting two Clare scores, before Armagh’s wing half forward hit the net for the opening goal of the game.

Armagh looked to pull clear moments later when full forward Blaithin Mackin also fired past the Clare keeper to give her side an early five point lead. Clare pulled one back but their score was soon cancelled out by Armagh Captain Kelly Mallon, who struck two points in quick succession.

Once again Clare refused to give in and battled hard to bring them back within touching distance of the Armagh Ladies at the half time break with two scores, Armagh ahead by just two scores, leading 2-3 to 1-4.

Niamh Marley got the second half up and running with a point three minutes in before Mallon, who finished the game with  a personal tally of 1-4 to her name, found the net with Armagh’s third goal, and Armagh finally broke Clare’s resistance and began to pull clear.

Mallon was again on target, this time raising a white flag but Clare finally hit their first score of the second period to bring the margin to six. It was all Armagh at this stage though and their quality in attack really shone through, with more goals on the way.

Blaithin Mackin tagged on another score as corner forward Catherine Marley rattled the Clare net to hand her side a commanding 10 point lead. Armagh Harps duo Kelly Mallon and Fionnuala McKenna added to Clare’s woes, kicking one point each.

Armagh were far from finished however and Blaithin Mackin raised a green flag for the second time in the game to bring the winning margin to 15 points with 10 minutes of normal time still remaining.

Armagh rang the changes and made several substitutions with the game now well and truly over. Clare tagged on three scores at the end of the game to bring them within 12 points but this was as close as they could get as Armagh led 5-8 to 1-8 when the referee called for the ball.

A brilliant start for our Ladies side who will expect a tougher test next weekend when they face Tyrone, although Armagh will enjoy the comforts of home advantage and on this weekend’s showing, our girls will be confident they can continue their winning form.

Armagh: Anna Carr, Sarah Marley, Clodagh McCambridge, Mairead Tennyson, Shauna Grey, Niamh Marley (0-1), Megan Sheridan, Tiarna Grimes, Caroline O’Hanlon, Fionnuala McKenna (0-1), Kelly Mallon (1-4), Aoife McCoy (1-1), Catherine Marley (1-0), Blaithin Mackin (2-1), Corinna Doyle. Subs: Edel Hagney for C. Doyle, Grace Ferguson for C. Marley, Aveen Bellew for T. Grimes, Megan McCann for F. McKenna, Mairead Watters for A. McCoy, Alex Clarke for K. Mallon.