Tuesday 30 May 2017

Mallon's strike is key as Armagh join Monaghan in quarter-finals

Kelly Mallon’s goal midway through the second half was key in helping Armagh to advance past gallant Meath in Saturday’s qualifier at Breffni Park
Kelly Mallon’s goal midway through the second half was key in helping Armagh to advance past gallant Meath in Saturday’s qualifier at Breffni Park

Jackie Cahill

The quarter-final line-up for the TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football championship is now complete after Armagh and Monaghan booked their places in the last eight over the weekend.

Champions Cork will tackle Galway next Saturday at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick, with Kerry up against Mayo in a mouthwatering double-header.

A week later, Monaghan will take on Dublin in a clash that pits current Farney boss, Peter Clarke, against his former charges, with Donegal and Armagh to meet again in a repeat of their Ulster semi-final. Kelly Mallon's goal midway through the second half was key in helping Armagh to advance past gallant Meath in Saturday's qualifier at Breffni Park.

Revenge

The Orchard County, beaten All-Ireland semi-finalists last year, scored a 1-12 to 0-9 victory over the Leinster runners-up to set up a potential revenge mission against Ulster winners, Donegal.

The sides had been evenly matched for three-quarters of the encounter and were tied at 0-7 each when Aimee Mackin pointed to put Armagh back in front.

Moments later, centre-forward Mallon charged through the middle and sent a crashing shot to the Westmeath net, with a point from the same player shortly after leaving five between the teams.

Westmeath did battle hard to get back into the game, but while they did reduce the lead, a goal remained elusive and Armagh closed the game out.

Early on, points from Mallon and Mackin suggested that Armagh would easily live up to their favourites' billing, but the sin-binning of Caitlin Malone disrupted their rhythm and Westmeath got going with scores from Maud-Annie Foley and Johanna Maher.

Two points from Mackin sandwiched a free by player-of-the-game Caroline O'Hanlon just as Armagh sought to reassert themselves. Yet, by half-time Westmeath were level, with Fiona Leavy, Foley (free) and Karen McDermott all on target. Karen Hegarty put Westmeath ahead for the first time in the second half's nascent stages and then Leavy extended that advantage, but it was as good as it got for them.

Fionnuala McKenna and Aoife McCoy tied matters once more before Armagh surged ahead, with Mallon's goal critical. Chloe Kelly and Maher did have further Westmeath points, but Armagh defended well.

Aoife Lennon, McKenna and Mackin were all on target as they pulled away in the closing stages.

Monaghan, meanwhile, scored a comfortable 4-13 to 1-4 victory over hosts Cavan. Cathriona McConnell scored 3-6 for Monaghan as Cavan struggled to trouble the scoreboard operator.

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