Orchard County reach last four after strong finish puts paid to Ulster champions Donegal
Armagh 2-13 Donegal 2-11
A strong finish from Armagh saw them reach the semi-finals of the TG4 Ladies All-Ireland SFC with victory over Ulster champions Donegal at St Tiernach’s Park in Clones on Saturday.
The Oak Leaf County have improved with each game in their qualifier run, but they trailed by 2-10 to 1-10 when the excellent Yvonne McMonagle scored her second goal for Donegal in the 44th minute.
An immediate response was summoned in the form of a levelling goal from Caroline O’Hanlon after Aoife Lennon and Aoife McCoy combined well. Geraldine McLaughline did point Donegal in front again on 46 but it was to be their final score.
McMonagle had a chance to put Donegal four ahead with what would have been a hat-trick goal only for Katie Daly to save brilliantly. Buoyed by that let-off, Armagh had late points from Fionnuala McKenna, O’Hanlon and Aimee Mackin to repeat their national league Division 2 final win over the same opposition and progress to the last four.
Donegal began very brightly in the first half, and had a 0-5 to 0-2 lead inside the first quarter, with McLaughlin scoring three points. It could have been argued that the should have been further ahead and Armagh found their feet as Kelly Mallon, Aoife Lennon and Cloadagh McCambridge all pointed to bring them level.
After McMonagle and Mackin exchanged points, McMonagle then struck for her first goal, profiting from McLaughlin’s excellent handpass to finish smartly for a 1-6 to 0-6 lead. Aoife McDonnell then put Davy McLaughlin’s side four ahead but O’Hanlon and Lennon ensured that Armagh trailed by just two, 1-7 to 0-8, at half-time.
Donegal again pushed four clear early in the second period, but Lennon netted for an Armagh goal, McCoy and Sarah Marley the architects, on 36. An incredible McMonagle point was Donegal’s response but efforts of an equal quality from Mallon and Lennon tied matters at 1-10 each again. McMonagle’s second goal, from McDonnell’s pass, looked to have swung the momentum Donegal’s way again, but Armagh were not to be denied.
Scorers for Armagh: A Lennon 1-3, K Mallon 0-3 (0-2f), A Mackin 0-4, C O’Hanlon 1-2 (0-2f), C McCambrige, F McKenna 0-1 each.
Scorers for Donegal: Y McMonagle 2-3, G McMcLaughlin 0-4 (0-1f), N McLaughlin, A McDonnell, K Herron, N Hegarty 0-1 each.
ARMAGH: K Daly; M Tennyson, C Morgan, N Marley; S Reel, S McCleary, C McCambridge; C O’Hanlon, F McKenna; A McCoy, K Mallon, L McConville; S Marley, A Lennon, A Mackin.
Subs: M Sheridan for McCambridge (26), C Malone for McConville (41), M McGuinness for Sheridan (46).
DONEGAL: L Gallagher; T Doherty, E Gallagher, N McLaughlin; T McCafferty, K Keeney, C Hegarty; G Houston, K Herron; Y McMonagle, N Hegarty, N McLaughlin; G McLaughlin, A Barrett, A McDonnell.
Subs: R Boyle for McCafferty (28), E McCrory for Barrett (38), R McCafferty for Houston (41), K Guthrie for Boyle (54).
Referee: S Mulvihill (Kerry).