TG4 Ulster Senior Championship
Armagh 8-14 Cavan 2-7
By Kieran Lynch
HOLDERS Armagh booked their place in the TG4 Ulster Senior Championship final in style, as they powered past Cavan 8-14 to 2-7 in front of a huge crowd in St Tiernach’s Park, Clones.
The Orchard girls had tremendous support, as the game served as the opener for the Armagh v Derry Ulster SFC final, and Armagh got their first of eight goals on six minutes, when Niamh Coleman fisted the ball inside for the unstoppable Aimee Mackin, who dummied as though she was going to fist across goal but slotted the ball into the net with her right foot.
Mackin then added a point and literally had a hand in Armagh’s second goal when she palmed a high ball off for Kelly Mallon, scorer of 2-4 on the day, to finish into an empty net.
In-form Mackin, who finished with 3-7, then pointed from a free, before she received possession close to goal from Coleman once more, and five Cavan defenders couldn’t stop her from breaking through and making it 3-2 to 0-0.
Cavan did have a response however, when Sophie Slowey had a shot saved by Anna Carr, and the rebound effort from Aisling Gilsenan hit the post, came off the goalkeeper and went over the line for a goal.
However, three goals in as many minutes for the Orchard County gave Cavan a mountain to climb, with Blaithin Mackin palming a high ball into the net, Coleman blasting home a thunderous shot and Aimee Mackin chipping the goalkeeper after her sister had overturned the kickout, on 20 minutes.
In the dying stages of the half, Armagh added points through braces for Aimee Mackin and Mallon, with Aisling Sheridan driving home a goal for Cavan, before points from Lauren McVeety (two) and Gilsenan for the Breffni ladies.
At half-time, Armagh led by 6-6 to 2-3 and they continued their dominance after the restart, with Catherine Marley pointing, Mallon raising two further white flags from frees, and Aoife McCoy palming into an empty net after an assist from Blaithin Mackin.
Cavan settled into the half with points from Ally Cahill and Gilsenan, but Armagh kept the scoreboard ticking over through Catherine Marley and Aimee Mackin.
McVeety added for Cavan from a free before Armagh notched their eighth goal when Mallon palmed home a cross from Aimee Mackin.
Two Aimee Mackin frees and a Blathnaid Hendron point, with a Cavan response from Gilsenan, closed the scoring.
Armagh will now meet Donegal in the Ulster final for the third year in a row. That fixture will be played in Clones on Sunday May 28.
Armagh: A Mackin 3-7 (3f), K Mallon 2-4 (3f), N Coleman 1-0, B Mackin 1-0, A McCoy 1-0, C Marley 0-2, B Hendron 0-1.
Cavan: A Gilsenan 1-3 (3f), A Sheridan 1-0, L McVeety 0-3 (2f), A Cahill 0-1.
Armagh: A Carr; S Grey, C McCambridge, C Marley; G Ferguson, L McConville, C Towe; N Coleman, E Lavery; B Mackin, A Mackin, E Druse; N Marley, K Mallon (capt.), A McCoy
Subs: N Reel for Coleman (37), C O’Hagan for Lavery (37), A McConville for C Marley (47), L Kenny for Druse (47), B Hendron for Mallon (53)
Cavan: Roisin O’Reilly; G Faulkner, S Lynch, C Charters; Z Fay, N Byrd, Rebecca O’Reilly; C Finnegan, A Denneher; S Slowey, L McVeety, A Gilsensan; A Cahill, A Sheridan, E Halton
Subs: G Sheridan for Halton (44), A Walls for Slowey (44), N Keenaghan for Rebecca O’Reilly (53), M Cusack for McVeetey (53), C Madden for Finnegan (57)
Ref: Siobhan Coyle (Donegal)