Armagh pick up provincial title

Armagh 0-17 Donegal 1-13

Armagh have been crowned Ulster champions for the fourth time in five years with a victory over Donegal. It needed extra time, but super sub Niamh Reel landed the final score to win the game for Armagh.

Following their first ever Division One National League title, Armagh wanted to carry that momentum into the championship. And after losing last year’s decider to Donegal, getting this one back was important.

Susanne White and Aimee Mackin slotted over two apiece (one each from frees) at the start of the game. A third from Mackin, her second free, nudged Armagh ahead before Caroline O’Hanlon sent them two ahead.

Niamh McLaughlin and Kelly Mallon swapped scores before Donegal levelled things up through Amy Boyle Carr and White. Sarah Quigley knocked over the final score of the first period to leave Armagh ahead 0-6 to 0-5.

Donegal could have gone ahead at the start of the second period, but Cait Towe made a brilliant goal line save from Caoimhe Keon’s effort. Instead, it was Armagh who opened the scoring through Niamh Coleman.

Aoife McCoy and Mackin added further scores before Donegal hit their first of the second half, after 16 minutes, through Eva Gallagher. Armagh were dealt a huge blow moments later when Mackin left the play through injury.

Two more scores from White narrowed the gap to one but a super score from Mallon restored Armagh’s two-point advantage. Gregory McGonigle’s ladies hit the next two points, through Niamh Henderson and Mallon.

Photo Credit: Brendan Monaghan

But there was one last twist in the tale as Kathy Heron rattled the net with two minutes left on the clock. White fired over an equalising score and with no time left for a winner, extra time was required.

Henderson and White both hit 0-2 apiece in extra time as the sides were tied 0-14 to 1-11 at half time. Carr and Grace Ferguson exchanged efforts before Gallagher edged Donegal one-point ahead.

Lauren McConville levelled matters before Niamh Reel, with her first touch of the game, popped over a free to snatch the winning score.

Armagh: Anna Carr, Grace Ferguson 0-1, Clodagh McCambridge, Roisin Mulligan, Cait Towe, Lauren McConville 0-1, Dearbhla Coleman 0-1, Niamh Coleman 0-1, Caroline O’Hanlon 0-1, Emily Druse, Aoife McCoy 0-1, Louise Kenny, Aimee Mackin 0-4 (2f), Niamh Henderson 0-3, Kelly Mallon 0-2 (1f). Subs: Sarah Quigley 0-1 for L. Kenny, Maeve McCambridge for A Mackin, Corinna Doyle for E. Druse, Shauna Gray for K. Mallon, Eve Lavery for S. Quigley, Niamh Reel 0-1 (1f) for C. Towe, Kelly Mallon for D. Coleman.

Donegal: Claire Friel, Shannon, McLaughlin, Abigail Temple Asoko, Evelyn McGinley, Katie Dowds, Niamh Boyle, Tara Hegarty, Roisin Rogers, Niamh Carr, Caoimhe Keon, Niamh McLaughlin 0-1, Amy Boyle Carr 0-2, Susanne White 0-8 (5f), Kathy Herron 1-0, Katie Long. Subs: Eva Gallagher 0-2 for K. Long, Lezza Cunningham for N. Carr, Jodie McFadden for C. Keon, Katie O’Donnell for R. Rogers, Niamh Carr for K. O’Donnell, Roisin Rogers for K. Heron.