Winning start for Armagh

Lidl NFL Division 1

Armagh 2-8 Waterford 2-3

By Shaun Casey

ARMAGH opened their Lidl NFL Division 1 campaign with a victory over Waterford at a wet and windy Crossmaglen.

A strong first half performance was the difference for the Orchard County, as both teams only scored twice after the turnaround.

Both sides rattled the net in the first half, but it was the white flags raised by Greg McGonigle’s side, back up in the top tier for the first time since 2016, that really told the tale in the end.

Armagh, playing with a strong breeze at their backs, made the brighter start with sharpshooters Kelly Mallon and Aimee Mackin slotting over scores inside the opening five minutes.

Waterford grabbed the lead briefly however when Lauren McGregor hit the net following a shot that dropped short from Aine O’Neill. Armagh took control from there and a Mackin free put the sides back on level terms.

Some neat handpassing and sharp movement up front saw Armagh midfielder Niamh Coleman through on goal, but her effort was bravely saved by Waterford netminder Evelyn O’Brien.

The Orchard County didn’t have to wait too long to raise a green flag and two goals came inside sixty seconds. Louise Kenny set up her clubmate Mackin for the first while Kelly Mallon played through Aoife McCoy for a second moments later.

Lauren McConville, playing on her home patch, kicked a point before Mallon and Kenny split the posts to put nine between the teams. Waterford had the final say of the first period, with McGregor grabbing a second goal to leave six the difference at the break, 2-6 to 2-0.

McGregor opened the scoring for the second half although both teams struggled to really find their feet after the turnaround due to the testing conditions.

Mallon tapped over her third of the afternoon to restore Armagh’s six-point advantage, 17 minutes into the second half.

McCoy added to her earlier goal with a point, splitting two converted frees from Waterford captain Kellyann Hogan, but it did little to impact the result as the Orchard County looked assured of their victory right throughout the second half.

Scorers –

Armagh: A Mackin 1-2, A McCoy 1-1, K Mallon 0-3 (2f), L McConville 0-1, L Kenny 0-1.

Waterford: L McGregor 2-1, K Hogan 0-2 (2f).

Armagh: A Carr; G Ferguson, C McCambridge, R Mulligan; C Towe, L McConville, D Coleman; N Coleman, C O’Hanlon; E Druse, A McCoy, S Quigley; A Mackin, L Kenny, K Mallon. Subs: M O’Callaghan for S Quigley, E Lavery for D Coleman.

Waterford: E O’Brien; A McNulty, E Power, T Behan; A Murray, M O’Brien, N Power; E Murray, K Hogan; K McGrath, A O’Neill, C Carroll; C McCarthy, K Murray, L McGregor. Subs: B McMaugh for T Behan, L O’Shea for C McCarthy.

Referee: Angela Gallagher

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