Armagh dominate Down for perfect start

Down 1-2 Armagh 5-9

Mattie Lennon’s Armagh side got their 2021 season up and running in perfect fashion with a handsome with over rivals Down.

Mayobridge played host to the neighbouring clash, but it was Armagh who looked the more comfortable despite being on the road.

Five goals told it’s own tail as the away side were on fire up front while also keeping Down out at the other end of the pitch.

Lennon named a strong starting 15 to take the field, adding to the Junior All-Ireland winning side from 2020.

Photo Credit: John Merry

The star of the show last year was again in fine form in this league opener, Ciara Donnelly showing why she was named Player of the Year last season.

The Armagh captain scored four of her sides five goals to help get them off to a flying start in their national league campaign.

The Eglish sharpshooter rattled the net twice during the opening period as Armagh built up a strong half time lead.

She showed her footballing skills with the first three-pointer, kicking the ball past the net-minder after latching on to a long ball to the square.

Photo Credit: John Merry

Sinead Kiernan added to Armagh’s lead with the first point of the game before Donnelly raised the second green flag.

Rachael Merry pounced on a loose ball in the square and Donnelly was on hand to slide the ball over the goal line.

Down failed to register a score during the first 35 minutes of the match as Armagh carried their seven-point lead into the break, 2-1 to 0-0.

The Orchard County weren’t for letting up and kept the scoreboard ticking over with points through Donnelly (free) and Kiernan.

Photo Credit: John Merry

The Donnelly sisters continued to add to Armagh’s lead with two goals in quick succession, Ciara swinging home her third of the afternoon.

Armagh won the resulting puck out and it was the younger Donnelly, Leanne, who dropped her shot short, but a goalkeeping error saw the ball end up in the net.

Down replied with 1-1 of their own but it wasn’t enough to disturb the flow of the game as Donnelly (free) and Merry split the posts just before the water break.

Eimear Smyth got her name on the scoresheet, as did Orlagh Murray with Donnelly adding two more to her tally.

Photo Credit: John Merry

Donnelly then got the final score of the contest, and her fourth as she powered home a penalty to hand Armagh a huge victory.

It was a fantastic start for the Camogs and their new boss Mattie Lennon, who will be delighted with what he witnessed so early in the season

Armagh Scorers: Ciara Donnelly 4-4, Leanne Donnelly 1-0, Sinead Kiernan 0-2, Rachael Merry 0-1, Eimear Smyth 0-1, Orlagh Murray 0-1