Armagh 0-11 Down 0-7
Armagh made amends for losing to the Mourne County in last years Ulster final by coming through this tight affair with just one point to spare.
It was nip and tuck all the way through, with Down’s second half goal offering a huge challenge for Mattie Lennon’s team, but they were able to prove their worth.
It was a much different Down side than the one that crumbled against Armagh in the opening round of the national league six weeks ago.
Last year’s Junior All-Ireland champions ran out easy winners that day in Mayobridge, 5-9 to 1-1, but as expected it was a much closer affair this time around.
The hosts held a slim two-point advantage at the half time break and came through an intense second half to book their place in the Ulster Intermediate semi-final.
The Orchard County were dominant in the opening quarter, but Down rallied after the water break to close the gap to two by the short whistle.
Rachael Merry and Ciara Donnelly slotted over two important scores to hand Armagh a 0-5 to 0-3 advantage at the interval.
The visitors burst ahead early in the second period with a quickfire 1-1 seeing them shoot two points in front.
The introduction of Orlagh Murray to the forward line made a telling difference after the turnaround and the Keady woman rattled over a long-range point.
Armagh got their noses ahead by the water break and responded well to Down’s three-pointer to lead 0-10 to 1-5.
The home crowd had the returning Bernie Murray to thank for the win as the Cullyhanna lady knocked over the final point that ensured victory.
Leanne Donnelly also chipped in with a score but was so impressive out the field with her work rate and will to win helping her stand out.
Michelle McArdle and Ciara Hill done well around the middle of the field and helped give Armagh a foothold around the centre.
Ciara Donnelly was her accurate self from the dead ball and raised three white flags throughout the game.
Rachael Merry likewise claimed three points on the day, while Ciara Hill also got in on the scoring act with a point.
Mattie Lennon’s side will now take on Cavan this weekend in the Ulster Intermediate semi-final and will once again enjoy home advantage.
Armagh Scorers: Rachael Merry 0-3, Ciara Donnelly 0-3, Bernie Murray 0-2, Leanne Donnelly 0-1, Ciara Hill 0-1, Orlagh Murray 0-1.