Armagh Ladies travelled to Mullingar on Sunday past to take on last year’s All Ireland Intermediate Champions in Round five of the National League. Armagh knew they faced a tough task with Westmeath only beaten once in the league this year against Leitrim. Armagh were aiming for another victory and gain full points but from the offset though Westmeath were a wounded force and wanted to regain their top flight status.
Armagh did open the scoring in the first half with Sarah Marley winning the throw in and laying of to Shauna O Hagan, who found Mags Mc Alinden and finished with a point. This was to be the Armagh girls one and only score for another fifteen minutes. Westmeath dominating the mid area with Maud Ann Foley and Ruth Kearney covering the ground and linking up with Karen Hegarty at full forward who was dictating the play scoring 3 points in the first half with corner forward Laura Walsh scoring a point, Armagh did respond with a point from Caroline O Hanlon after a good link of play from Siobhan Mackle and Sinead Mc Cleary leading from the half back position. Armagh girls who had most of the possession in the first half were doing the simple things wrong and playing in panic mode which was affecting their ability to finish out some great attacking moves further out the field. A very dubious penalty decision in favour of Westmeath was converted after a rebounded save from Catherine Mc Alinden by Laura Brennan, there was now 4 points in the game, with only injury time left Armagh had one more attack with Fionnuala Mc Kenna slotting the ball over bar with a superb long range effort. Half time score Westmeath 1 – 4 Armagh 0 – 3.
The second half opened once again with Armagh on the attack straight away, the move ended with Caroline O Hanlon sending in a looping left footed shot which looked to be going wide but curled into the net, this now left a point in the game though Armagh were never able to gain momentum on this, with Westmeath dominating the second half, ably assisted once again by questionable refereeing decisions with a goal scored from a throw over the line which stood, Armagh did score two more points from Siobhan Mackle and captain Mags Mc Alinden (C) again the game back to three points in the difference, Armagh continuing to play catch up and Westmeath’s Maud Ann Foley and Karen Hegarty tagging on another two points, Armagh really had to up their game, they were still that bit behind even with a sinbin on the Westmeath side with Johanna Maher receiving a yellow card with eight minutes to go meaning the Leinster side had to finish the game one player down. Armagh did muster another point from Ciara Lennon in the dying minutes but it just wasn’t enough to keep Westmeath at bay. Armagh left Cusack Park knowing that they really were not beaten by a better footballing team but by making basic mistakes and not taking their scores when they had possession, with Down game on Wednesday night they need to lift their game to recover an gain more league points to help their promotion ambitions.
Final Score Westmeath 3 – 7 Armagh 1 – 6
Catherine Mc Alinden, Sionnain Mc Conville, Laura Brown, Cailin Duffy, Siobhan Mackle(0-1), Sinead Mc Cleary, Sharon Reel, Sarah Marley, Caitlin Malone, Caroline O Hanlon (1-1), Mags Mc Alinden (0-2), Fionnuala Mc Kenna ( 0-1), Aisling Hughes, Shauna O Hagan, Ciara Lennon(0-1) subs Kelly Mallon, Katie Daly, Amy Mc Allister, Clodagh Mc Cann, Caroline O Hare, Frances Quinn, Louise Casey, Marie Luckie, Niamh Henderson, Sinead Mc Parland, Danielle Morgan and Roisin Murphy. Next game is in Silver bridge, Armagh v Down @ 7.30pm.