Armagh Minor Camogs through to All Ireland Final.
Armagh took on Kerry in their All Ireland semi-final in Clane GAA, Kildare on Saturday 16 April at 3:30pm. The game was hard fought throughout and the score line in no way reflected the game and the Kerry girl’s high standard of play.
The sun was shining as the teams took to the field, Armagh kitted out it their Mone Fuels jerseys. Ciara Hill won possession from the referees throw in, striking the first ball of the day towards Leanne Donnelly in corner forward. Armagh were on the attack from the outset and it was evident that Kerry were going to have a tough time keeping up with this strong Armagh side.
Catherine Began was in fine form and the first ball sent into the Kerry half forwards, Beagan put the hand up and made an excellent catch, then after taking her four steps she looked up and drilled the ball into the full forward line.
Caella Casey held her centre half back position and was able to make clearance after clearance with ease. Centre half forward Jordan Carr was able to win possession around the midfield area and began driving forward. Aimee Brennan then managed to get the first score on the board, striking a point for the Orchard girls.
Kerry countered the Armagh attack quickly and after being awarded a free 28 yards from the goals Aoife O’Connor pointed. Armagh were straight back on the attack and Ciara Hill managed an excellent catch in the midfield area and made a run up the field at lightning pace. Hill passed the ball on into the forward line but it fell out of the Armagh possession. Hill adamant for another score on the board fought hard to win back possession and successfully pointed, putting the Armagh girls ahead once again.
Hannah Hughes had an excellent game, making continuous runs to make herself free and be a viable option for a pass. Hughes placed a ball perfectly into the forward line and Leanne Donnelly saw a score opportunity. After battling hard Orla Young secured the falling ball but it unfortunately drifted wide.
As Kerry tried to get the ball back down the field Hannah Hughes made a super block and was able to keep the ball on Armagh’s scoring half. Armagh had various scoring opportunities and they were unfortunate a number of times by not securing the score.
Number 3 Tierna Maguire controlled the first ball played into the Kerry full forward and made an excellent clearance up the line. Armagh were unlucky again with a goal opportunity not being successful.
Armagh didn’t stop, even when they were ahead, and this was a testament to their success, especially when Eimear Smyth was able to get the hook in and dispossess her Kerry marker. After winning possession Smyth passed the ball onto Hannah Hughes who made an excellent catch.
Leanne Donnelly took a shot but the ball deflected of a Kerry stick. Jordan Carr won possession and blasted the ball into the corner of the nets.
Ciara Hill was next to get a score for the Armagh side pointed after a hand pass received by Orla Young. Ballymacnabs Eimear Smyth was next to make an excellent clearance from the half backline. All of the backs made extremely hard work for the Kerry forwards including Emma Mone and Eimear McCarthy on the corners. Kerry had to fight their way through for scores and this strong defence ensured Kerry did not score anything from play.
Armagh were unlucky with a couple of wide’s in a matter of minutes but after a lot of hassling Hannah Hughes emerged with ball in hand, passing it on to Leanne Donnelly who effortlessly ran around her played and hit the ball between the uprights.
Dina Heavin was next to get her name on the score sheet hitting the sliotar high and over the bar. Armagh without a doubt had the majority of the possession throughout the first half but were unlucky with a lot of score chances.
Armagh were working extremely well together offering each other support all over the pitch. Aimee Brennan placed a ball into the forward line that Orla Young hand passed to Leanne Donnelly who got the final point fbefore the end of the half. Leaving the half time score Armagh 1-6, Kerry 0-1.
As the teams emerged for the second half, the heavens opened and tougher conditions ensued. The change in weather wasn’t off putting to the Armagh girls who were straight on the attack again. Aimee Brennan got the second half scores of to a start with a point closely followed by a point from Dina Heavin. Heavins point came after a lot of battling in the forward line were Kerry were on top of Armagh not giving them an inch.
Eimear Smyth was continually emerging with the ball from the half back line. Aimee Brennan was awarded a free that was taken by Ciara Hill. Hill sent the ball up the wing to Leanne Donnelly who pointed.
Leanne Donnelly quickly managed another score on the board after receiving a pass from Orla Young. Kerry were yet to score in this half and with only one point in the first half, Armagh were edging further and further ahead making a comeback for the Kerry girls harder and harder to accomplish.
Armagh introduced Sarah Lennon and Meabh McAleavey into the game replacing Eimear McCarthy and Dina Heavin. Leanne Donnelly pointed once again from a tough angle. Leanne Donnelly took a scoring opportunity and when I dropped short Orla Young was waiting on the edge of the square and pulled it into the back of the net.
Aimee Brennan took a very skilful side line 45 yards out, Hannah Hughes won possession and pointed with ease. Laura O’Neill was then introduced for Emma Mone. Catherine Beagan then made a speedy run up the field and placed a ball perfectly into full forward, Meabh McAleavey made a perfect catch but was unfortunately blocked down by the Kerry defence.
Hannah Hughes got the last score of the half leaving the final score Armagh 1-14 Kerry 0-1. Kerry were tough opponents despite the score line reflecting otherwise. The substantial win by the Armagh girls shows the ability and skill within the playing team and the whole panel. This game will stand to them in the All Ireland final next Saturday when they take on Westmeath.
Details on time and venue for the westmeath match on Saturday 23rd April will be announced shortly.
Credit: Nicola Woods – Armagh Camogie PRO
Photos by John Merry