Armagh keep Westmeath at bay in tense battle

Tanya McCoy and Aimee Mackin

Armagh 3-16 Westmeath 4-11

Armagh will face Munster champions Kerry in the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies SFC quarter-finals – after surviving a massive scare from Leinster runners-up Westmeath today, writes Jackie Cahill.

Armagh held on for a two-point victory in a tense and high-scoring encounter at home of the Lannleire club in Louth.

The Orchard County got off to a cracking start when Caroline O’Hanlon netted a penalty, before the brilliant Aimee Mackin raised a green flag to open up a 2-3 to 0-3 lead.

Westmeath captain Laura Lee Walsh responded with a goal for the Lake County and when Ciara Blundell scored their second, it was very much game on.

At half-time, Armagh led by 2-9 to 2-7 and there was more drama to come in the second period.

O’Hanlon scored a quite stunning goal to hand Armagh an early boost, fielding on the 45-yard line before launching the ball into the net from distance.

But Westmeath wouldn’t lie down and they hit back with a goal of their own – Kelly Boyce Jordan on target.

Midway through the second half, Armagh led by 3-12 to 3-8 and they suffered a real blow when Marian McGuinness was sin-binned, while Aine Mackin had a goal ruled out.

A superb Aimee Mackin score did steady Armagh, and had them 3-15 to 3-9 in front, but Westmeath were back in it when Leona Archibold netted a penalty.

In stoppage time, Armagh were just two points clear, and playing with 14, but star forward Mackin moved the winners into a three-point advantage.

There was still time for Maud Annie Foley to bring Westmeath to within two points – but Armagh held out for a spot in the last eight of the championship.

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