By Jackie Cahill, Clane GAA grounds
Waterford 4-13 Armagh 2-13
Aileen Wall scored 2-4 from play as Waterford knocked Armagh out of the TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football championship on Saturday.
Waterford, intermediate champions last year, claimed a notable scalp as they claimed a six-point victory in Clane.
Armagh were shocked by Monaghan in the Ulster semi-final and their season is over in July as Waterford march on to another clash with Kerry, who they’ve met already in the Munster championship.
It’s a big setback for Armagh, who contested All-Ireland semi-finals in 2014 and again last year but Waterford were full value for the win.
Waterford led by 3-5 to 0-7 at half-time and they could have been further ahead as the Déise threatened goals whenever they ran at a porous Armagh defence.
Michelle Ryan got the ball rolling within a minute when she palmed home Maria Delahunty’s free that dropped short and Waterford were 1-2 to 0-0 clear before Aimee Mackin landed Armagh’s first point.
Mackin would finish the first half with three points, including two frees, but she also registered four of Armagh’s nine first half wides, with Kelly Mallon kicking three.
Waterford’s second goal arrived in the tenth minute as pressure on the Armagh kick-out led to Caoimhe McGrath’s excellent finish low into the bottom corner.
That goal handed Waterford an eight-point lead – 2-3 to 0-1 – and they were almost in for a third goal a minute later as Lauren McGregor saw her shot well saved by Anna Carr.
A run of three unanswered points brought Armagh back into contention but they were rocked by the concession of a third goal in the 22nd minute, as McGregor and Wall played a brilliant one-two before Wall finished superbly.
Waterford were eight points clear again – 3-3 to 0-4 – but they were hit with a blow when midfielder Karen McGrath was sin-binned with six minutes of the opening half remaining.
Approaching half-time, Waterford managed to limit the damage down as they operated with 14 players but they had a let-off on the stroke of half-time when Mallon smacked a shot off the crossbar.
Waterford, now playing with the breeze, opened the second half in blistering fashion with four unanswered points but after Delahunty crashed a shot off the bar, Armagh hit 1-4 without reply to revive their challenge.
Mackin scored the goal in the 46th minute but Waterford weathered the storm and kept the scoreboard ticking over down the home straight.
Wall bagged her second goal in stoppage time before Caroline O’Hanlon netted a consolation goal for Armagh.
When the dust settled, Armagh had racked up a colossal tally of 16 wides and while Mackin top-scored with 1-6 for the Orchard County, she also collected eight costly wides.
Scorers for Waterford: A Wall 2-4, M Delahunty 0-6 (4f), M Ryan 1-2, C McGrath 1-0, S Ryan 0-1.
Scorers for Armagh: A Mackin 1-6 (0-2f), C O’Hanlon 1-2, S Reel, B Mackin, K Mallon (f), A Henderson & C Marley 0-1 each.
WATERFORD: K Hannon; M Wall, M McGrath, L Wall; L Ryan, M Dunford, H Power, K McGrath, E Murray; G Kenneally, M Delahunty, C McGrath; A Wall, M Ryan, L McGregor.
Subs: K Murray for C McGrath (44), S Ryan for McGregor (48), A Mullaney for L Ryan (49), N Fennell for Kenneally (56), R Tobin for M Ryan (60).
ARMAGH: A Carr; C Morgan, C McCambridge, M Tennyson; S Reel, F McKenna, M Sheridan; N Marley, C O’Hanlon; B Mackin, K Mallon, N Coleman; C Marley, S Finnegan, A Mackin.
Subs: S Marley for Morgan (36), A Henderson for B Mackin (39).
Referee: N McCormack (Laois)