Armagh 3-8 Dublin 3-13
The Armagh ladies were knocked out of the All-Ireland race by four in-a-row chasers Dublin on Saturday afternoon.
The Orchard women did their county proud by putting in a brave and battling performance, but it just wasn’t enough on the night.
Dublin showed all their class and composure to control the second period and eventually hold on to their five-point winning margin.
They certainly didn’t have it all their own way and Armagh made sure that Dublin earned their way to the 2020 decider.
Two early goals set Mick Bohan’s team up well for victory, but Armagh fought back to get on level terms by the time the short whistle sounded.
Aimee Mackin carried the fight all evening long for Ronan Murphy’s side and finished top scorer once again.
Her first point got Armagh off the mark on the eighth minute, while Dublin had already bagged 1-1 by that stage.
Carla Rowe doubled up on Dublin’s tally with a quickfire 1-1 of her own before Kelly Mallon slotted over a free after Catherine Marley have been fouled.
Mackin grabbed Armagh’s third point following a great one-two passage with Aoife McCoy to cut the deficit to five.
Armagh’s star-player was key to her side getting closer once again, when she latched up Kelly Mallon’s 45 that dropped short.
The Shane O’Neill’s sharpshooter was upended but bounced back to her feet to place the ball into the net with a beautifully struck penalty.
Dublin replied emphatically with three points on the trot, Noelle Healy (two) and Sarah McCaffrey both raising green flags.
Catherine Marley got her name on the scoresheet following a powerful run as Armagh continued to edge closer to the leaders.
Aoife McCoy struck a superb goal with the next attack after a quick one-two with Caroline O’Hanlon played the Dromintee lady in on goal.
McCoy gave the Dublin netminder no chance as she hit a rocket into the bottom of the goal and closed the gap to one.
Marley and Mallon fired over further scores to give Armagh the lead for the first time, but Dublin levelled just before the break, leaving the half time score 2-6 apiece.
The sides still couldn’t be separated during the opening exchanges of the second period, with Mackin (free) matching Lyndsey Davey’s point.
Disaster struck for the underdogs when Dublin earned the second penalty of the day and Clodagh McCambridge was sent to the sin bin for a yellow card offence.
Carla Rowe buried from the spot and added a pointed free while Davey also kept the scoreboard ticking over with Dubs lead stretching to five.
A superb Aimee Mackin point was cancelled out by Siobhan Killeen and another Carla Rowe score to keep Dublin on top.
Armagh were handed a lifeline when Mackin once again had the umpire reaching for the green flag with the score of the day.
The fleet-footed corner forward floored a Dublin defender with a magnificent dummy before smashing the ball to the roof of the net and getting Armagh back to within three.
Dublin saw out the reminder of the contest with the final couple of points to book their place in the showpiece.
Armagh deserve massive credit for their display and will no doubt build on this fantastic season in the years to come.
Armagh: Anna Carr, Sarah Marley, Clodagh McCambridge, Shauna Grey, Tiarnan Grimes, Blaithin Mackin (0-1), Grace Ferguson, Niamh Coleman, Aveen Donaldson, Catherine Marley (0-1), Aoife McCoy (1-0), Aimee Mackin (2-4 1pen, 2f), Caroline O’Hanlon, Kelly Mallon (0-2 2f), Eve Lavery. Subs: Tiarna McVeigh for Grace Ferguson, Niamh Reel for Eve Lavery