Armagh travelled down to Dublin College University playing fields on Sunday past to take on a strong Dublin side in their first league match of the year. Weather conditions where good with only a slight breeze and the pitch was in fine condition for the contest.
Dublin started off strong getting a free almost immediately within scoring distance and easily put the ball over the bar. Eimear Hayes, Grainne Kelly and Siodhna Woods created a strong half back line and despite Dublin receiving two more frees in a matter of minutes the Armagh defence wouldn’t let them through for the attack. Grainne Kelly broke through midfield a few times driving the ball into the Armagh forwards and out of the danger area.
Armagh got their first score on the board 4 minutes into the game when Ciara Donnelly hit a free into the forward line and Joanne Mallon took control and pointed. The Armagh girls where working well together with Eimear Hayes driving out with the ball time and time again. Bernie Murray was dominating all around the field especially in midfield and Andrea McAlinden was always on the move offering support.
Armagh conceded another free which resulted in Dublin’s second point of the game. Hannah McGeown was making hard work for the Dublin forwards, blocking a strike out to Eimear Hayes who with the help of Bernie Murray got the ball into Collette McSorely, who’s first attempt of a score dropped short. Collette then got her name on the score sheet after steadily taking a free that was awarded to Armagh 15 minutes into the game.
Armagh had to work tirelessly against an extremely strong and physical Dublin team. Niamh Markey was fearless in tackles putting her whole body in front of the ball. The game went back and forth between the two sides over the next few minutes with both teams receiving frees for travelling with the ball. Ciarrai Devlin was as reliable as ever in goals and the first time she was tested she stayed composed and in control striking the ball out of the square. Dublin received another free that dropped short putting serious pressure on Ciarrai and the full back line but Hannah McGeown, Nicole Conway and Clare McKinley built a wall that Dublin where unable to break through.
Dublin were next to score with a point from a 45 and from the next puck out they were on the attack again, they were completely unstoppable firing the ball into the corner of the net. Armagh and Dublin where continuously fighting for the ball and getting into rucks making ground hurling essential to keep the ball moving. Shelly McGuigan, Bernie Murray and Ciara Donnelly were fearless as the ball kept getting stuck between a groups of girls hurls but they were able to get the ball out and up the field.
Armagh finished up the first half behind with a score of 3 points to Dublin’s 1 goal and 3 points.
The second half started and it was evident that Armagh had lifted their intensity. In the first minute Rachael Merry headed for the goals and was tackled by the Dublin defence but she still managed to get the ball over the bar. For the next few minutes there was a lot of play back and forth with both sides conceding frees.
seven minutes into the second half Leah McGoldrick was introduced replacing Niamh Markey. Collette McSorely got her second score after receiving a great ball in from Siodhna Woods in the half back line. Rachael Merry attempted to get another score but got blocked down by a tough opponent. Ciara Hill was next to be introduced into the game replacing Joanne Mallon in corner forward. Ciara received a free just as she gets on the pitch and Ciara Donnelly hits it from the 45 putting it straight between the uprights. Armagh began to take over the game and Leah McGoldrick passed the ball onto Rachael Merry who scores another point.
Bernie Murray made tracks up the field again and beautifully passed it into Rachael Merry who finished expertly, striking the ball into the back of the net. Armagh made another substitute and Sarah Molloy replaced Shelly McGuigan in half forward. Ciara Donnelly got another point on the board for Armagh but Dublin got the ball back down the field to score a point as well. Sarah Molloy got a perfect ball in from Ciara Donnelly a few minutes after she was introduced and got a score. Armagh still on the attack didn’t stop and Rachael Merry got her final score. Dublin got another score from a free but Armagh were straight on the attack again and Ciara Hill scored a point. Nicole Conway blocked the ball down in the backline sent it up the line to Rachael Merry who received a free. Ciara Donnelly took the final free of the match sending it over the bar.
Armagh’s intensity and work rate were second to none in this tough contest and as a result have made a good start to their league campaign. Final score Armagh 1-12 Dublin 1-5.
Scores for Armagh Racheal Merry 1:3, Ciara Donnelly 0:4, Colette Mc Sorley 0:2, Joanne Mallon 0:1, Sarah Molloy 0:1, Ciara Hill 0:1
Team: Ciarri Devlin, Hannah Mc Geown, Nicole Conway, Clare Mc Kinley, Siodhna Woods, Grainne Kelly (captain), Eimear Hayes, Bernie Murray, Andrea Mc Alinden, Michelle Mc Guigan, Niamh Markey, Ciara Donnelly (captain), Joanne Mallon, Colette Mc Sorley, Racheal Merry, Leah Mc Goldrick, Cealla Casey, Sarah Molloy, Colleen O Hare, Sarah Mooney, Ciara Hill, Emma Mone, Aoibhinn Mc Manus, Aoife Kane, Orla Young, Clodagh Farrell, Eimear O Kane
Next game is this coming Saturday 5th March v Cavan. This game is in the Athletic Grounds with a 2:00pm start. All support very welcome!
Report by: Nicola Woods Armagh Camogie PRO
Photos by John Merry