McLaughlins' goal rush fires Donegal to victory
Donegal 5-12 Armagh 1-9
Donegal manager Maxi Curran had reason to be delighted with his side's display after they tore Armagh asunder to claim a third straight TG4 Ulster Ladies senior title in Clones.
Goals from Amy Boyle Carr and Niamh McLaughlin inside the first three minutes rocked Armagh, and with Geraldine McLaughlin claiming two goals of her own Donegal sailed to victory.
"It is rare you get so many players performing across the board but we got that today," said Curran. "Only six of the girls there today started last year's final and that speaks volumes for the new girls. It makes this even extra special and more sweeter."
For the second successive year Armagh suffered a heavy defeat to Donegal in the provincial final and, according to their joint manager, Lorraine McCaffrey, there was no recovering from that horrific start.
"A very difficult beginning and we never recovered and it cost us the match and everybody was just shell-shocked from it despite still been so much time to get back into it," said McCaffrey. "All credit to Donegal but we are very frustrated and disappointed because we didn't give a good account of ourselves. We have to dust ourselves down and move on and we will be ready for the Cavan match in our first group game."
After that dream start, Caroline O'Hanlon halted the Donegal charge with a point, but further scores from Karen Guthrie and Boyle Carr put Donegal nine clear by the end of the opening quarter. A sublime pass from Geraldine McLaughlin set up Niamh McLaughlin for their third goal on 16 minutes as they led by 3-5 to 0-4 at the break.
While Armagh missed chances, at the other end Donegal were taking theirs and they hit 1-3 in a two-minute second-half spell to end any hopes Armagh may have had. The goal was a piece of magic from Geraldine McLaughlin after she intercepted a kick-out. Caroline O'Hanlon found the net for Armagh before Geraldine McLaughlin got Donegal's fifth goal.
Scorers - Donegal: G McLaughlin 2-4 (1f); Niamh McLaughlin 2-2; A Boyle Carr 1-2, K Guthrie 0-4 (3f). Armagh: C O'Hanlon 1-3 (2f); A Mackin 0-4; K Mallon (f), B Mackin 0-1 each.
Donegal - A McColgan; T Doherty, E Gallagher, Nicole McLaughlin; N Carr, N Boyle, M Ryan; K Herron, E McGinley; K Guthrie, K Keeney, A Boyle Carr; Niamh McLaughlin, G McLaughlin, S McGroddy. Subs: AM McGlynn for McGroddy (49), S McLaughlin for Ryan (55), S McGinty for Boyle Carr (58), K McKinney for Boyle (58), A Flanagan for Carr (59).
Armagh - C O'Hare; S Marley, C Morgan, R O'Reilly; C McKenna, C McCambridge, T Grimes; N Coleman, C O'Hanlon; M Moriarty, A McCoy, K Mallon; A Donaldson, B Mackin, A Mackin. Subs: M Sheridan for O'Reilly (24), N Marley for McKenna (36), N Reel for McCoy (49).
Ref - Y Duffy (Cavan)