Mackin’s shine in Shane’s success as Cross snatch Intermediate draw

August 26, 2013

• Armagh Ladies Championship

Cross Captain Salvages Dramatic Draw


Richard Bullick at the Athletic Grounds

A last-gasp goal by inspirational skipper Maria O’Donnell snatched Crossmaglen Rangers a dramatic draw in a fluctuating Mackin’s Intermediate Championship final in the Athletic Grounds.

Cross looked dead and buried when six points down entering injury-time but last year’s beaten finalists netted twice and even had a chance to steal victory with the last kick but O’Donnell’s free was plucked out of the sky by Grange six-footer Aideen Toal.

A replay was the least Toal’s sister Dervla Mallon deserved for her inspired display which seemed set to take Grange to a famous victory.

Cross captain O’Donnell opened the scoring in the first minute with a free after one of many speedy bursts by Armagh Under 21 forward Lauren McConville, who looks likely to wear the orange jersey at senior level in the near future.

There were two early wides from Grange legend Dervla Mallon, an All-Star nominee back in 2008 and although now retired from county football, still a dominant presence in the middle of the field.

Maria O’Donnell drove a goal attempt past the far post before the electric Siobhan Mackle brought the crowd to life with her first magical play of the afternoon, stepping inside and outside her marker down the line.

Nothing came of it however and Cross doubled their lead with a point from corner forward Mairead Watters in the seventh minute before another breathtaking run by Siobhan Mackle ended with her being treated for injury.

Her marker Marie Luckie was also being attended to further down the field during the same stoppage and their niggly tussle was one of the few captivating aspects of a disappointing first half.

Mallon got Grange on the scoreboard in the 11th minute and added a second point off the outside of her boot to sandwich a Cross score from Tina Moley.

Lauren McConville kicked a point to make it a double scores game in the 16th minute and a Cross shot hit the post, though they were exceptionally lucky not to lose Kerri O’Callaghan to the sinbin for a bad foul on Mackle.

Former Armagh stars O’Donnell and Mallon exchanged points for their respective sides before Cross brought on Aoife McMahon for Helen McNamee and last season’s beaten finalists continued to press.

O’Donnell hit an awful wide from a straightforward free, Moley had a shot blocked and Natasha Hughes also drew a blank before the half finally sparked into life in nearly five minutes of injury-time.

Leanne Mackle and Ciara Rafferty pointed for Grange to level the scores but Cross responded superbly with a point from McConville set up by O’Donnell and another two from Tina Moley, though the second might have been a goal if the captain had been given a better pass.  As it was, she was lucky not to be blown up for sliding in on the keeper.

Cross captain O’Donnell again got a point in the opening minute of the second half but fellow veteran Mallon quickly closed the deficit to a goal.  Moley and Siobhan Mackle then exchanged points to maintain the status quo.

Moley was wide for Cross and Rafferty for Grange but the game took a significant turn in the 45th minute when Siobhan Mackle confidently hit the net to bring Grange level.

Her aunt, Dervla Mallon, nudged them in front with another point and Mackle then hit the post and although Crossmaglen skipper O’Donnell equalised, the team in white had their tails up in a big way now.

The inspirational Mallon pointed after a powerful driving run and although Aveen Donaldson did strike the post at the other end, Grange’s giant full-forward Aideen Toal kicked two points to put them a goal clear.

O’Callaghan should have walked for another crude challenge but Grange looked like they had put the result beyond doubt with a Louise Mackle goal in the 59th minute only for Lauren McConville to hit the net with a quick free for Cross in injury-time.

That set up the perfect finish and Cross captain O’Donnell even had a chance to complete a sensational comeback but the free from the left, at the edge of her range, didn’t quite have the legs to go over.

CROSSMAGLEN RANGERS: N O’Callaghan; O Murtagh, S Cairns, H McNamee; M Cannon, J Carberry, M Luckie; O Donaldson, A Donaldson; T Moley, L McConville, N Hughes; K O’Callaghan, M O’Donnell, M Watters.  Subs: C Kirk, N Hamill, A McMahon, S Watters, A McConville, MF McNamee, S Jennings, L Morris, D O’Callaghan, A Brady.

GRANGE: J McElmeel; A Toal, O Keegan, C Mackle; C McKenna, C Jordan, A Mackle; L Mackle, D Mallon; G Scully (capt), C Rafferty, L Mackle; M McCusker, A Toal, S Mackle.  Subs: M McGeary, H Murphy, N McElmeel, M Mone, P Hughes, S Rafferty, J Gribben, O McElmeel, A Nesbitt, C Cranney.

Magic Mackin sisters steal show


Richard Bullick at the Athletic Grounds

A youthful Shane O’Neill’s side not only won the Mackin’s Junior Championship final yesterday but laid down a marker for future years with an impressive rout of Dorsey Emmet’s.

The multi-talented Mackin sisters ran riot for the Camlough club, who were 14 points up at the interval and never looked like losing to last season’s beaten finalists, though Dorsey have the Division Three title as consolation.

The Emmet’s actually took an early lead with a point from Maria Murphy, a player who caught the eye throughout for her team though the opposition’s Aimee Mackin and her younger sister Blaithin were undoubtedly the stars of the show.

The two Northern Ireland underage international soccer stars produced dazzling displays for their team and rattled up an astonishing tally of 3-19 between them while Aoibheann Jones scored two of Shane’s five goals.

From Aimee Mackin’s equalising point in the second minute, the favourites were on the front foot and although her second shot was turned behind for a 45, another budding soccer star Moya Feehan soon nudged the Division Two team ahead.

Aimee Mackin pointed again and although Niamh Cunningham and Maria Murphy quickly drew Dorsey level, it was Blaithin Mackin’s turn now to get in on the act with a goal and two points.

Captain Louise Kenny, who made her Armagh senior debut against Cork earlier this month, got her only point of the afternoon and the unstoppable Aimee Mackin kicked a hat-trick of scores in the space of 90 seconds before Blaithin put Shane’s 10 clear by the quarter-hour mark.

Maria Murphy lifted Dorsey spirits with a good run culminating in a point and although Aimee Mackin scored again, her point was cancelled out by one from Emmets’ full-forward Aoibheann Moley.

Aimee Mackin and Maria Murphy exchanged frees as Dorsey hung in there but Jessica Watters got on the board for Shane’s and Jones hit the back of the net with Blaithin Mackin raising the white flag again for good measure.

A big breakout by Maria Murphy resulted in a goal for Lauren Murphy but Dorsey’s joy was shortlived as Aimee Mackin finished to the net after a long run of her own, within a minute just before the half-time whistle went.

It all looked ominous for Dorsey though they were reprieved at the start of the second half by both Mackin sisters getting greedy and shooting straight at the keeper after threatening runs and Blaithin also stabbed a banana kick past the far post.

However, Aimee Mackin chipped over with her left foot in the 36th minute after a lovely run to open her team’s second half account, Watters got her second point and the Mackins kicked the next five between them in the middle of the half.

Maria Murphy hammered home Dorsey’s second goal after the keeper parried the initial shot but, as in the first half, Shane’s replied in kind with Jones netting her second.

Aimee Mackin scored her second goal and the sisters finished with another point apiece to end with tallies of 2-13 and 1-6 respectively as the referee mercifully brought the match to a close without adding any injury-time.

The Player of the Match award unsurprisingly went to Armagh Under 16 captain Aimee Mackin, who seems set to break into the senior county set-up in the coming seasons as well as spearheading her club’s impressive progress.

DORSEY EMMET’S: T Kelly; M Boyle, S McGee, C Mackin; L Quinn, S McQuillan, K Reel; M O’Callaghan, F Kennon; N Cunningham, L Murphy, M Murphy; C-A Murphy, A Moley, A Davidson.  Subs: O Gibney, K Quinn, C Cunningham, K Davidson, M Campbell, E Kennon, C Gibney, B Donnelly, N Reichenburg, A McGeown.

SHANE O’NEILL’S: A Tavey; C Sloan, M Marron, Y Mackin; E Kenny, L Kenny, E Rafferty;T Byrne, M McGuire; B Mackin, M Feehan, J Watters; A Jones, A Mackin, S Doyle.  Subs: E Hannaway, C Jones, C McCrave, C Garvey, N McFadden.

Referee: Barney Henry (Eire Og).