Armagh 4-17 Monaghan 1-12
Three goals in three minutes turned this game on its head. Just as Monaghan had gained some momentum, Armagh went on a scoring spree to put some daylight between the sides.
When Ellen McCarron split the posts eight minutes into the second half the side were level. Incredibly, the margin 11 just seven minutes later.
It was all about Armagh’s attacking play. Movement, pace, fast hands. Monaghan had no answer when Armagh found their groove.
The home side certainly didn’t have it all their own way, as the scoreline might suggest. The sides played out a hugely entertaining first half.
The Orchard County did have the edge at the break, with Caroline O’Hanlon striking the game’s first goal.
It all came from the sublime Aimee Mackin. The Shane O’Neill’s sharpshooter started at full forward but came out the field to get on a short free kick from O’Hanlon.
The Carrickcruppen maestro drifted into the edge of the square and an inch perfect outside-of-the-boot pass from Mackin, cut out the retreating defender.
O’Hanlon still had the task of beating the keeper, which she did with aplomb. That saw Armagh ahead 1-9 to 0-7 at the break.
Early scores from Ellen McCarron and Cora Courtney got Monaghan right back in the game before they raised their only green flag.
Substitute Lauren Jones played through Laura McEnaney. The Monaghan wing half forward saw her low effort trickle into the back of the net.
Armagh responded with points from Mackin and super-sub-Kelly Mallon before they blitzed the Monaghan defence.
Mallon, who was introduced midway through the first half, was first. She got on the end of an Aoife McCoy pass to palm home an easy goal, Mallon’s second involvement in the move.
Next came Eve Lavery, who had an exceptional game. Her clubmate Grace Ferguson made a terrific turnover at midfield that began another Armagh attack.
Alex Clarke powered past the Monaghan defence and shipped the ball to the waiting Lavery. The wing half back fired to the net and brought her personal tally to 1-3.
Once again, the Farney full-back line was exposed, and Armagh made hay. Catherine Marley and McCoy both had chances to burry it, but they saw through Clarke who didn’t need a second chance.
Game over. There was no way back for Monaghan despite all their good work to get back on level terms.
Armagh tagged on several more scores during their dominant second half. They now face the challenge of Mayo next weekend.
No doubt Ronan Murphy’s side will head into that one full of confidence. They find themselves top of group one and they will be intent on staying there!
Armagh Team: Anna Carr, Sarah Marley, Clodagh McCambridge, Grace Ferguson, Eve Lavery (1-3), Lauren McConville, Tiarna Grimes, Niamh Marley, Niamh Coleman (0-1), Blaithin Mackin, Caroline O’Hanlon (1-0), Fionnuala McKenna (0-1), Aimee Mackin (0-5), Aoife McCoy, Alex Clarke (1-2). Subs: Kelly Mallon (1-5) for N. Marley, Catherine Marley for F. McKenna, Aoibheann Henderson for E. Lavery, Niamh Reel for A. Mackin, Megan Sheridan for C. O’Hanlon.