ARMAGH remain on target for a famous double after a magnificent second halfcomeback 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 11th.
It wasn’t looking good for them at Drumlane’sO’Connell Park as Niamh Farrell blasted two goals in the first half and when she pointed in the 41st minute, Roscommonwere five points ahead.
Criticallythough, 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.
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, RachaelFitzmauriceand 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 Armaghwerestill 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)
COPY PROVIDED FREE OF CHARGE ON BEHALF OF THE CAMOGIE ASSOCIATION
Extra time Nolan double sends Carlow on their way
Compiled by Daragh Ó Conchúir
(after extra time)
MICHELLE Nolan proved the poster girl for perseverance, scoring two goals after her reintroduction at the start of extra time, having failed to make an impact in the 50 minutes of action she saw prior to that.
It was an encapsulation of what Carlow were about, having had to play 34 minutes of regulation time at a numerical disadvantage following the sending off of talismanic joint-captain Marion Doyle just before half time.
Doyle’s dismissal came following an off-the-ball incident in the 26th minute, a decision that did not meet with the approval of the Carlow contingent.
They clearly used the sense of grievance as a galvanising force however, producing a magnificent performance in the second half and extra time to see off Westmeath.
That sees them appearing in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Premier Junior Camogie Final, 12 months after annexing the Junior A title.
Dinah Loughlin was prominent for Westmeath and was central to the Lakesiders establishing a 0-6 to 0-4 interval advantage.
At that juncture, Johnny Greville’s team held the whip hand and deserved to be ahead.
Eleanor Tracey kept Carlow in contention and they finished strongly to bring the game into extra time, with the scores standing at 0-9 each.
Mark Brennan and his selectors decided to bring Nolan back on to restore them to the full complement of 15 and it proved an inspired decision.
Nolan’s first goal arrived after good work from Ali Ruschitzko in the 67th minute and she struck for the second occasion directly after half time of extra time, Ruschitzko again playing an important contributory role.
It looked like curtains for Westmeath at that juncture, as they trailed by seven points but they threw everything at their opponents.
Dinah Loughlin had the ball in the Carlow net but referee Julie O’Neill had called play back for a free.
Pamela Greville did find the net soon afterwards though and the gap was down to two with three minutes remaining.
Carlow kept their composure however and saw the game out well to continue their remarkable championship momentum.
SCORERS FOR CARLOW: E Tracey 0-7; M Nolan 2-1; C Mullins, C Quirke 0-1 each
SCORERS FOR WESTMEATH: D Loughlin 0-7; P Greville 1-2; D McGrath, C Corcoran 0-1 each
CARLOW: N Doyle, G Nolan, N Quirke, A Ryan, T Wilson, K Nolan, B Nolan, T Meaney, E Brennan, M Doyle, C Mullins, E Treacy, C Quirke, M Nolan, A Ruschitzko. Subs: R Sawyer for Wilson inj (30), A Murphy for Nolan (50)
WESTMEATH: F Keating, E McCormack, A Higgins, S King, J McCormack, F Leavy, M Scally, C McCrossan, A Doherty, M McCormack, P Greville, D Loughlin, L O’Connor, K Heffernan, D McGrath. Subs: C Corcoran for McCrossan (58), K Egan for Leavy inj (ht)
REFEREE: J O’Neill (Armagh)