Ladies suffer first league loss

Armagh 1-12 Tyrone 1-14

Tyrone left Silverbridge on Sunday having defeated Armagh in the league for the first time in 24 years and they were fully deserving of their victory. The Red Hands were ahead for most of the contest, with Armagh tying the game only once, five minutes into the second period.

Tyrone played with a strong wind advantage in the first have and made it count, rattling off three points in a row before Armagh got off the mark with Caitlin Kelly, Niamh Hughes and Emma Brennan all raised white flags for Tyrone.

Aoife McCoy provided Armagh’s response in the 15th minute, finishing off a Caroline O’Hanlon inspired move as their leading midfielder was involved in the play four times before providing the final pass to assist McCoy’s score.

The hard working Niamh Hughes caused the home side serious headaches and points from Hughes, Kelly, Niamh O’Neill and Emma Brennan sent Tyrone further ahead, with the score now 0-6 to 0-1 after 25 minutes.

Blaithin Mackin drove the ball over the black spot to keep Armagh in contention before Niamh Hughes again hit the target for Tyrone two minutes later and restored her sides five point advantage.

Armagh burst into life just before the half time break when a brilliant free-flowing move saw the ball worked to Corinna Doyle and the young Granemore star made no mistake in slotting the ball into the net.

Tyrone had the final saw of the half with their corner forward Caitlin Kelly swinging over her third point of the opening 30 minutes of action with the visiting side four points up at the break, leading 0-9 to 1-2.

Taking advantage of the strong breeze in the second half, Armagh roared back into the contest and clawed back the four point deficit within six minutes of the restart to level the game.

Two super points from Armagh number 14 Blaithin Mackin, who flourished in her half forward role in the second period, were matched by Kelly Mallon, the Captain knocking over two free kicks to tie the contest.

Tyrone refused to relent and points from wing half back Slaine McCarroll and Niamh O’Neill handed their side the ascendancy once again before Tyrone drove further ahead with a superb 43rd minute goal widened the gap to five points.

Kelly Mallon slotted over her third pointed of the game while Blaithin Mackin’s inspirational drive through the Tyrone defence yielded her 4th point as well as offering some home for the home side heading into the final 10 minutes.

Emma Brennan calmed Tyrone with a point but Armagh continued to push hard to get something out of the contest, scoring four of the final five points, with substitute Niamh Reel becoming Armagh’s 5th scorer.

Kelly Mallon traded scores with Niamh O’Neill while Caroline O’Hanlon and Mallon both tagged on points before the final whistle but it wasn’t enough to salvage something from the game, losing out 1-14 to 1-12.

The ladies face a difficult journey away to Kerry next Sunday and will look to bounce back with a victory to get their season back on track.

Armagh Scorers: Kelly Mallon (0-5), Blaithin Mackin (0-4), Corinna Doyle (1-0), Aoife McCoy (0-1), Niamh Reel (0-1), Caroline O’Hanlon (0-1).

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