Lissummon ladies secure top flight football

September 16, 2013

Richard Bullick

Armagh great Caoimhe Morgan is already looking forward to top flight club football after her Lissummon side finally clinched promotion to Division One of the Mackin Feeds Football League at the third attempt.

Defeated in the divisional final in each of the past two seasons under the previous format, this time Lissummon confirmed top place in the table by beating a talented young Shane O’Neill’s side 4-16 to 3-10 last Saturday night.

The title represented only Lissummon’s second ever trophy triumph following the Junior Championship success under Caoimhe’s captaincy in 2006, the memorable year she picked up an All Star and Armagh Player of the Year award.

Now a married mother of one, the eldest of the Marley sisters was leading the way again here with club captain Tracy Gibbs sitting out the final fixture – and the Orchard defender contributed four points to her team’s triumph.

As always, the Marleys made an immense contribution to Lissummon’s success with the quartet of sisters scoring all but four points of their team’s tally, though they were upstaged on the night by young Shane’s sensation, Aimee Mackin.

Scorer of 2-13 in the recent Armagh Junior Championship final victory over Dorsey, Mackin notched all but the last score of Shane’s haul in this match in spite of facing the experience and typically physical challenge of the formidable Marleys.

A huge handful from the outset, the dynamic Mackin briefly looked like she might poop the Lissummon promotion party with three early points, but the home side gained sufficient control to keep her heroics from proving decisive.

Playing out of position at centre half forward, Armagh corner back Sarah Marley topped the scoring charts with 2-3 while fellow Orchard defender Niamh – playing alongside Caoimhe in midfield for her club – embellised a characteristically robust performance with 1-3.

The natural forward in the family, 16-year-old Catherine, contributed 1-2 and although elder stateswoman Caoimhe was the only sibling not to hit the net, her two point bursts at the beginning and end of the second half helped secure Lissummon’s victory.

Bleeding from the mouth before the end, the 29-year-old St Catherine’s College PE teacher refused to leave the field except for a change of jersey as she was determined to see through what has been a work in process for several years.

“After being beaten in the Division Two final in each of the past two years, we were desperate to go one better this time and finish the job by topping the table,” explained a delighted Morgan afterwards.

“Promotion has been a very important target for us this season for we feel ready to be playing against stronger opposition.  We’ve worked very hard over the past three years and needed to take this chance to secure reward for those efforts.”

This is a real family affair with the Lissummon side being managed by Caoimhe’s father and former Armagh stalwart, Noel Marley, who shares his eldest daughter’s confidence that this small country club can hold their own with the big guns next season.

With the three county stars at the heart of the Lissummon side, trying to win two club competitions was a big ask so being beaten by eventual winners Grange in the quarter-final of the Mackin’s Intermediate Championship may have been something of a blessing in disguise in letting them focus energies on the promotion push.

Lissummon’s nearest challengers in the League were Grange, who could have forced a play-off by winning their last two games had the leaders lost their final fixture, and Junior champions Shane O’Neill’s.

“We watched the Junior final and knew Shane’s are a very strong side with an abundance of youth and energy and the talent of the Mackin sisters is obvious to all, but the important thing was to play to our own strengths and thankfully we got over the line,” reflected Caoimhe.