O'Hagan goal puts dominant Armagh on path to glory
Armagh 1-12 Waterford 1-5
Armagh emphatically captured their first title at this grade at Croke Park.
Waterford opened the scoring thanks to a point from their captain Michelle McGrath after just 17 seconds, but once Shauna O'Hagan claimed an eighth-minute goal, the Orchard County never trailed.
Granted, Armagh didn't make it easy for themselves -- 13 wides before the break had swelled to a tally of 21 by the full-time whistle.
Indeed, the winners registered five wides inside the opening seven and a half minutes.
A further effort from Caroline O'Hanlon came off the post. However, O'Hagan was on hand to smash the rebound to the back of the Waterford net and give Armagh a 1-0 to 0-1 lead.
Armagh gained in confidence, with quick-fire points from Fionnuala McKenna and Marian McGuinness ensuring a four-point lead in the 10th minute.
Ciara Lennon spurned a chance to put Armagh further in front, and at the opposite end Waterford bounced back, as Hannah Landers left two Armagh defenders in her wake and cut the gap to the minimum in the 12th minute with a fine goal.
But this was as good as it got for Waterford, as despite Armagh's problems finishing off chances, James Daly's charges converted enough to keep them on top.
Kelly Mallon, O'Hagan and Mags McAlinden were on target with points to secure a 1-5 to 1-1 half-time lead.
Waterford claimed the first score of the second half a minute after the restart from Linda Wall, but once again Armagh were hugely dominant.
Lennon, Fionnuala McKenna, Caroline O'Hanlon and McAlinden bagged points to give them a 1-10 to 1-3 advantage with 20 minutes left.
Waterford were handed a late lifeline when Linda Wall was pulled down by Sharon Reel for a 55th-minute penalty, but Catherine McAlinden pulled off a magnificent save to keep out the spot-kick, and Armagh held strong until the finish to ensure their captain Mags McAlinden received the Mary Quinn Cup from LGFA president Pat Quill.
It was the Orchard's day, a second All-Ireland defeat for Waterford in the space of three years.
Armagh are promoted to the senior ranks for 2013, but for five-time All-Ireland senior champions Waterford, the wait to get back to the top flight of women's football will last at least another 12 months.
Scorers -- Armagh: S O'Hagan 1-1, C O'Hanlon 0-3 (3f), F McKenna, M McAlinden (2f) 0-2 each, M McGuinness, K Mallon, C Lennon, N Henderson 0-1 each. Waterford: H Landers 1-0, L Wall, M Ryan (1f) 0-2 each, M McGrath 0-1.
ARMAGH -- C McAlinden; C McCann, L Brown, S Marley; S Reel, N Marley, N Henderson; S McCleary, C O'Hanlon; M McGuinness, M McAlinden, F McKenna; C Lennon, S O'Hagan, K Mallon. Subs: A Hughes for McGuinness (h-t), S Mackle for McKenna (49), M Tennyson for Mallon (53), C Duffy for Henderson (57), C O'Hare for Lennon (57).
WATERFORD -- A Jordan; A Landers, K McGrath, N Dunphy; R Tobin, G Enright, M Wall; M McGrath, E Power; L Wall, M Ryan, T Fitzgerald; A Wall, S Curran, H Landers. Subs: E Fennell for Fitzgerald (24), M Revins for Landers (46), G Kenneally for Fennell (56)
REF -- P Kehoe (Carlow)