Armagh’s last home National League fixture was played under lights in Clann Eireann on Wednesday night past against near neighbours Down. Down had played Sligo the previous weekend and won convincingly whereas Armagh had a tougher challenge in the form of Westmeath and were defeated, so Armagh needed a good win under their belts to secure a semi final spot.
Armagh playing downhill and with the wind opened the scoring with a point from Shauna O Hagan, Down followed up in quick return with a point from ever reliable Aileen Pyers. That was to be Down’s last point for the next ten minutes with Armagh dominating the play, doing the simple things right and playing the quick ball from defence out, with Clodagh Mc Cann playing as sweeper and her experience shone through. This good run of play produced a string of scores from Armagh with points from Ciara Lennon, Kelly Mallon, Mags Mc Alinden (C) (0-2)and Caroline O Hanlon. Down had no answer to the constant attacks that the Armagh girls were throwing at them, Down’s Eliza Downey was doing her best at the back to to control the situation but experience told its tale with Armagh’s Ciara Lennon finding the net after a well timed run up the outside flank, this left eight points in the game with only ten minutes gone in the first half. Armagh did take their foot of the pedal and let Down back in with Aileen Pyers and Kyla Trainor combining to score a goal and a point. The game slowed down with fewer scores coming from both sides, Armagh did have the majority of possession but unable to convert. Armagh went in at half time six points up with Shauna O Hagan tagging on 2 more points before the end of half time. Half time score Armagh 1 – 08 Down 1 – 02
Armagh came out in the second half and from the off set showed they meant business, points from Ciara Lennon and Caroline O Hanlon coming in the opening minutes and the goals soon followed up again from Lennon, O Hanlon(2-0) and Kelly Mallon. Down were now on the receiving end of an Armagh team who had found their form. Leading from the back Sinead Mc Cleary again setting up a lot of good play and captain Mags Mc Alinden covering every blade of grass in her home Lurgan field. Armagh introduced plenty of players into the action with the new national league rule enabling teams to play unlimited subs. The Down girls were trying their best to break through the Armagh defence but with keeper Catherine Mc Alinden in fine form and her defence playing well, Laura Brown in full back ably assisted by Aveen Donaldson and Sarah Marley they were finding it hard to break Armagh down. Up front Armagh continued to rack the scores up with points coming from Mags Mc Alinden (0-2) midfielder Catilin Malone (0-1) and substitute Niamh Henderson (0-1). Down could only pull back a couple of last minute points from corner forward Chara Laverty, Aileen Pyers and Natasha Ferris. Armagh now well in front with two minutes to go went for the jugular and hit the net again with Caroline O Hanlon making a strong run up the middle and hitting the net. Final Score Armagh 5 -16 Down 1- 8
Team Catherine Mc Alinden, Danielle Morgan, Laura Brown, Aveen Donaldson, Sionnain Mc Conville, Sinead Mc Cleary, Sarah Marley, Caroline O Hanlon (2-2) Caitlin Malone(0-1), Clodagh Mc Cann, Mags Mc Alinden (c) (0-5) Shauna O Hagan (0-4), Aisling Hughes, Kelly Mallon (1-1) and Ciara Lennon (2-2) subs Katie Daly, Amy Mc Allister, Roisin Murphy, Cailin Duffy, Caroline O Hare, Frances Quinn, Marie Lucky, Fionnuala Mc Kenna, Niamh Henderson (0-1), Sinead Mc Parland, Caoimhe Morgan, Sinead Mc Coy and Sharon Reel.
Armagh now play Wicklow in their last league game next weekend. This game is to be played in Wicklow venue TBC.