Armagh’s double dream lives on

Armagh 2-13 Roscommon 2-9

Armagh remain on target for a famous double after a magnificent second half comeback earned the Division 3 National League champions a coveted place in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Premier Junior Camogie Final at Croke Park on September 11, writes Daragh Ó Conchúir.

It wasn’t looking good for them at Drumlane’s O’Connell Park as Niamh Farrell blasted two goals in the first half and when she pointed in the 41st minute, Roscommon were five points ahead.

Critically though, they failed to score again. In fact that Farrell point was their only score of the second half as the Armagh rearguard completely nullified the threat that had looked like producing scores on every offensive thrust in the opening half.

Armagh celebrate at the final whistle. Pic: INPHO/Tom Beary
Armagh celebrate at the final whistle. Pic: INPHO/Tom Beary

With their backs against the wall, Armagh tightened up considerably and scored the last goal and six points to claim the honours.

The game got off to a thunderous start and there was barely time to draw breath as both attacking units capitalised on the opportunities created.

A pair of Ciara Donnelly frees gave Armagh a nice start but Roscommon settled into proceedings fairly quickly themselves and points from Niamh Watson, Rachael Fitzmaurice and Kelly Hopkins edged them in front.

They were boosted further with a goal by Niamh Farrell but back came Armagh, Colette McSorley billowing the net at the other end.

With less than 10 minutes elapsed the encounter had already produced nine scores, Roscommon leading by 1-4 to 1-3.

That scoring rate was never going to be maintained but it didn’t drop all that much in that first period, although Roscommon began to tighten up defensively.

Notably, Farrell remained particularly threatening and the Athleague attacker slotted a point before pouncing for her second goal eight minutes before the change of ends.

Shelly McArdle and Donnelly did reply with points however and Armagh were still in touch at half time, albeit trailing by 2-8 to 1-6.

The Armagh management made a few switches for the second half however and managed to curb the potency of the Roscommon offence, and in particular, Farrell.

Colette McSorley reduced the margin with a pointed free and after Farrell’s second-half point, Donnelly registered Armagh’s second goal right on the three-quarter mark to leave just two points between the sides.

It was all Armagh now though and three Rachael Merry points got their noses in front. Donnelly added a brace from play before another free enabled Merry to slot the insurance and have the Orchard County dreaming of a trip to Croke Park.

SCORERS FOR ARMAGH: C Donnelly 1-5 (0-3fs), R Merry 0-5(4fs); C McSorley 1-2(0-1f); S McArdle 0-1

SCORERS FOR ROSCOMMON: N Farrell 2-2; K Hopkins 0-4 (1f, 2 45s); S Fallon, R Fitzmaurice, N Watson 0-1 each

ARMAGH: B Mone, H McGeown, N Conway, C McKinley, N Markey, G Kelly, E Hayes, B Murray, L McGoldrick, S McArdle, C Donnelly, R Merry, C McSorley, A McAlinden, L Donnelly. C Hill for McAlinden (ht), C Casey for Conway (44)

ROSCOMMON: C Connaughton, A Fallon, P Lennon, A Byrne, S Spillane, E Daly, J Beattie, K Hopkins, R Fitzmaurice, S Fallon, D Regan, N Watson, A McGeeney, N Farrell, S O’Brien

REFEREE: A Doheny (Laois)

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