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Armagh advance to quarter-finals against Donegal

● TG4 ladies All-Ireland SFC Cork 1-19 Armagh 1-7

A 12 point defeat at the hands of Cork at Duggan Park in Ballinasloe was suffice for Armagh to claim their place in the TG4 ladies All-Ireland SFC quarter-final where they will face Group 1 winners Donegal. Having drawn with Monaghan in their opening game Armagh knew anything less than a 15 point defeat would see them through to the last 8 on scoring difference and so it came to pass in very wet conditions in Ballinasloe. Cork had scored 7-7 against Monaghan which gave Armagh the scoring cushion going into their match at the Galway venue.

The game, because of the weather conditions, got off to a very scrappy start with the opening score arriving some 11 minutes after throw-in courtesy of Cork’s Orla Finn. Armagh were dealt a 5 minutes when Sharon Reel picked up a yellow card following a high challenge on Doireann O’Sullivan. Cork hit 3 points in as many minutes through Libby Coppinger Aine & Ciara O’Sullivan and Ciara O’Sullivan to lead 4-0 after 15 minutes putting the Orchard girls 15 point defeat cushion in jeopardy.

A terrific catch and turn on the edge of the square by Blaithin Mackin enabled her rifle the ball to the back of the Cork net to get Armagh up and running. Cork responded to the goal in style as they added another 3 unanswered points with the speedy full forward Eimear Scally causing the Armagh defence all sorts of bother including weighing in with the score of the half just before the short whistle.

Credit must go to Armagh who stuck to their task as points from Caroline O’Hanlon and Fionnuala McKenna kept them in touch and were it not for a return of 5 wides could have been closer to the Rebelettes than the 0-10 to 1-3 half-time score.

Scally opened the second half scoring and when Coppinger set her up for a goal 5 minutes later Armagh were under the cosh 1-11 to 1-3 in arrears as Cork shooting was first class recording just a couple of wides in the opening 40 minutes. Armagh brought on Aimee Mackin on 43 minutes to help steady the ship and more importantly try and get a few scores as Cork looked set to increase their lead even further as Armagh struggled to get scores. The Leesiders with 14 minutes left on the clock were 13 points in front as Finn, Scally and substitutes Orla Farmer (2) and Saoirse Noonan added scores to secure their place as Group winners. 

Not for the first time in her Armagh career the unfit to start Aimee came to her teams rescue converting two frees and getting one from play as Armagh claimed their quarter-final berth with a 12 point loss 1-19 to 1-7. Armagh management will be worried about their forward division ahead of the Donegal game as they were guilty of a lot of missed opportunities in the draw with Monaghan and only Blaithin (1-0) & Aimee Mackin (0-3), Fionnuala McKenna (0-2)and Caroline O’Hanlon 0-2 managed to get on the scoresheet against Cork

Armagh, as already mentioned, will face Donegal who beat Kerry 1-13 to 3-6 with their conquerors Cork up against Westmeath. The remaining two quarters-finals are Galway v Mayo and Dublin (Holders) v Kerry

Armagh- C O’Hare, T Grimes, R O’Reilly, S Marley, M Tennyson, M McGuinness; C McCambridge, S Reel, C O’Hanlon (0-2), L McConville, F McKenna (0-2), M Morriarty, B Mackin (1-0), A McCoy, K Mallon.Subs: M Sheridan for O’Reilly (9-16, blood & 38), A Mackin (0-3) for B Mackin (43), N Reel for O’Hanlon 60.

Cork- M O’Brien; E Spillane, R Phelan, M Duggan, M O’Callaghan, S Kelly, A Kelleher; A Hutchings, H Looney, C O’Sullivan (c) (0-3), L Coppinger (0-1), D O’Sullivan (0-1), A O’Sullivan (0-2), E Scally (1-4), O Finn (0-5) Subs: C Collins for Kelleher (h-t), S Noonan (0-1) for A O’Sullivan (38), O Farmer (0-2) for D O’Sullivan (38), A Barrett for Kelly (56).

Referee: Gus Chapman (Sligo).