This Division 3 National League fixture was played on a cold and blustery day at St. Mochua’s, Derrynoose. Armagh started well when an excellent long range free from Ciara Donnelly resulted in a free on the 30m mark which Rachel Merry calmly slotted over the bar. Carlow replied with a free on the 7th minute to level the scores.
Ciara Donnelly continued to exert her dominance in the middle of the park, and when she was awarded a free after an excellent run down the right side line, the Armagh forwards exerted great pressure on the Carlow defence to which they had no answer, other than put the ball over the end line for a 45. Donnelly stepped up to put the resultant 45 over the bar on the 10th minute mark to put Armagh ahead. Carlow replied on the 13 minute mark with a point from play and this signalled the beginning of the dominant period of the game for the Carlow girls. Carlow registered a point from play and a further from a 45. The last five minutes of the first half saw the Armagh defence under extreme pressure, and despite some fine defensive play, they were unable to withstand the onslaught and Carlow registered a point in the 28th minute, a goal in the 29th and on the stroke of halftime another point to leave the score Armagh 0.3 Carlow 1.6 at half time. The Armagh management made some changes for the beginning of the second half, bringing Aoibhinn Murphy out to full forward from goals and replacing her in nets with Ciarraí Devlin. This resulted in Colette Mc Sorley moving out to the midfield line.
Armagh started the second half well, but the pressure on the defence continued unabated, with two frees on the 7th and 8th minute resulting in points to leave the score Armagh 0.3 Carlow 1.8.
The Armagh defence then began to exert an influence on the game with Síodhna Woods, Eimear Hayes and Colleen O’Hare making some great clearances. 11 minutes into the second half, a great clearance from Hayes landed on the 20m line and resulted in a free which Leah Mc Goldrick duly converted.
Armagh continued to exert their dominance on the game now, but unfortunately were unable to make the this count on the scoreboard. Mc Goldrick had the final score of the game in the 22nd minute with a converted free and this left the final score Armagh 0.5 Carlow 1.8 Although the Armagh girls didn’t finish on the winning side, there can be plenty of positives to take from their first league outing. This is a relatively new Armagh team given that so many experienced players have left the squad this year. Síodhna Woods and Eimear Hayes were particularly strong at the back, whilst Ciara Donnelly and Rachel Merry caused problems for the Carlow defence every time they got the ball. Next up for Armagh is Dublin at home on Sunday the 8th March.