Kingdom kill off spirited Armagh come back

Kerry 2-12 Armagh 2-10

Kerry led this game from start to finish but two goals just before the final whistle meant the hosts suffered a nervy last few minutes, when Armagh could have stole something from the contest, but it would have been a real smash and grab win.

Armagh played with an unforgiving wind whistling in their faces for the first half while Kerry made full advantage of the weather conditions, opening up a seven point half time lead.

The game was just four minutes old when Kerry opened the scoring, Louise Ni Mhuireachtaigh slotting home to the net from close range to hand Kerry the led that they would maintain for the next hour.

They added four points to their growing tally with Hannah O’Donoghue (2), Emma Dineen, and Louise Ni Mhuireachtaigh all finding the target, with The Kingdom ahead by seven points after 10 minutes of action.

Armagh would have to wait to the 12th minute to get off the mark with Caroline O’Hanlon splitting the posts from a free kick before Kelly Mallon kicked her opening score to reduce the deficit to five.

Kerry’s momentum couldn’t be halted however and further scores from Fiadhna Tagney, Niamh Ni Chonchuir, Lorraine Scanlon and Emma Dineen drove them into a commanding nine point lead with the break 10 minutes away.

Two points from Caroline O’Hanlon (1 free) followed by a Kelly Mallon effort suggested Armagh were still in with a chance but a final score of the half from Aishling O’Connell saw the home side head into the break with a 1-9 to 0-5 lead.

With the wind to their backs, Armagh would now attempt to get back into contention but their revival was quashed seconds after the break, with Kerry once again rattling the net, this time through Niamh Ni Chonchuir.

Caroline O’Hanlon traded scores with Louise Ni Mhuireachtaigh, while Blaithin Mackin did likewise with Eilish O’Leary to see the margin sit at nine points with 10 minutes remaining on the clock.

O’Hanlon once again exchanged points with Andrea Murphy retaining Kerry’s nine point advantage before O’Hanlon cut the margin to eight with another point from the dead ball to bring her personal tally to 0-7.

Armagh were handed a huge lifeline when Blaithin Mackin shot past the Kerry ‘keeper to get their first goal before Armagh captured possession from the resulting kick out and Aoife McCoy found herself one on one with the goalkeeper and hit the net to cut Kerry’s lead to just two.

With two minutes of normal time remaining Kerry missed two chances to extend their lead, hitting a wide and dropping a shot short and similarly Armagh couldn’t find the score that would get them something from the game.

Centre half back Niamh Marley was sin binned on the 29th minute, reducing her sides chance to grab a match winning score and although Armagh failed to pick up any points, the way they finished the game will leave the camp in a positive mood.

Faced with a hugely difficult task of travelling south, and of course the disadvantage of Kerry having the wind for the opening 35 minutes, Armagh can be proud of their performance and they now head into a weekend off before facing Wexford in two weeks time.

Armagh Scorers: Caroline O’Hanlon (0-7), Blaithin Mackin (1-1), Aoife McCoy (1-0) Kelly Mallon (0-2).