Armagh 1-16 Cavan 1-12
Armagh needed extra time to see off Cavan in Sunday’s semi-final clash and are now preparing for an Ulster final.
It was all one-way traffic in the opening period, but the Orchard County responded heroically to drag the game to extra time.
They were the better side after the restart. Rachael Merry finished with a personal tally of 0-7 while the reliable Ciara Donnelly grabbed the all-important goal.
Armagh struggled to contain the attacking forages of the Keenaghan sisters Niamh and Clodagh early on. The pair claimed the majority of Cavan’s scores.
Clodagh Keenaghan hit her side’s first five scores, while Ciara Donnelly responded with two pointed frees for Armagh.
Ciara Finnegan slotted over two in a row before Bernie Murray claimed the final score of the half. Armagh trailing 0-7 to 0-3 at the break.
It was an improved side that took the field for the second half and Armagh immediately closed the gap.
Merry and Donnelly (2) narrowed the deficit to the minimum three minutes after the restart.
Cavan did pull further ahead with Clodagh Keenaghan and Sinead McKenna points opening up a three-point lead.
Merry was on song and popped over three from the dead ball. Cavan responding through Niamh Keenaghan to leave one the margin.
With time almost up, the ball made it’s way to Bernie Murray. The Cullyhanna woman made no mistake in front of the posts and her second of the game signalled extra time.
Granemore’s Merry enjoyed the comforts of playing on her home patch and made the familiarity count in the extra time.
The corner forward rattled over three points and a Murray score shot Armagh four ahead by half time, but the game was far from over.
Niamh Keenaghan offered a lifeline by rattling the net and suddenly the teams were tied once again.
Eimear Smyth knocked over her first before Mattie Lennon’s side finally found some breathing space.
A brilliant Ciara Donnelly catch allowed her to steal behind her marker and drive the ball to the back of the net.
Shanise Fitzsimons and Eimear Smyth traded scores in the end as Armagh ran our four-point winners and march on to the decider.
They will now take on Antrim next weekend and there’s no doubt that Armagh’s recent form will fill them full of confidence heading into the showpiece.
Armagh Scorers: Rachael Merry 0-7, Ciara Donnelly 1-4, Bernie Murray 0-3, Eimear Smyth 0-2.