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Aimee Mackin leads the way with 2-7 to send Armagh past Mayo and into All-Ireland semi-final

The prize for the Orchard county after their five-point win is a last-four date with champions Dublin.

Star of the show: Aimee Mackin.
Star of the show: Aimee Mackin.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Updated Nov 14th 2020, 5:37 PM

Armagh 4-12

Mayo 1-16

STAR FORWARD AIMEE Mackin kicked an outstanding 2-7 to send Armagh past Mayo and into the All-Ireland ladies football senior semi-final, where they’ll face four-in-a-row chasing Dublin.

Having just recently returned from a cruciate ligament knee injury, Mackin was in scintillating form at Parnell Park this evening as the Orchard county reached the last four for the first time since 2015 (with Dublin their opponents on that occasion too).

For Mayo, it’s the end of the road in 2020 after this winner-takes-all Group 4 straight shootout, both sides having previously dispatched of Tyrone.

First-half goals from player-of-the-match Mackin and captain Kelly Mallon had Rónán Murphy’s side in good stead at the break, after the management team stressed a strong opening 15 minutes in the warmup. They duly obliged, with Catherine Marley putting the final nail in Mayo’s coffin at the death in what may be seen as an upset.

While Grace Kelly and Deirdre Doherty’s scoring exploits, and Mary McHale and Fiona Doherty’s second-half impact off the bench were highlights for Peter Leahy’s side, the Westerners fell short once again.

Dual star Dayna Finn was another to impress as she marshalled 2014 Footballer of the Year Caroline O’Hanlon, but Armagh’s excellent team effort — led by Mackin, with plenty of input from her younger sister, Blaithin — saw them over the line in a repeat of last year’s quarter-final which Mayo won by three. 

It was Mayo who struck first through Kelly, who’s not long back from a knee injury herself, in the third minute; the Moy Davitts star forward landing 0-4 from play in the first half in the absence of her sister Niamh.

armagh-v-mayo-tg4-all-ireland-senior-ladies-football-championship-round-3 Balithin Mackin facing Mayo. Source: Sam Barnes/SPORTSFILE

Mackin opened her first-half exhibition on a high at the other end, reeling off three stunning points from play within three minutes. Aussie Rules star Aileen Gilroy pointed one in between, before Sarah Rowe — scorer of 2-9 last time out — got in on the act to level matters.

In the 12th minute, Armagh rattled the net for the first time through captain Kelly Mallon after good work from Blaithin Mackin in the build-up. Mayo responded well through two quick-fire Sinéad Cafferky efforts before the water break, making it 1-3 to 0-5.

Having set up defensively, the Green and Red were left to rue missed chances, spurning 10 in an entertaining first half between wides and dropped balls, though the wind did swirl around Parnell Park on a crisp evening.

After the first recess, they upped the ante with Deirdre Doherty — sending three points over, two of those frees, one a super score from a tight angle on the left — and Kelly powering them into a 0-10 to 1-3 lead.

But the Orchard county finished the half strong, ending a 14-minute scoreless period in style through an outrageous outside-of-the-left effort from Mackin, just after a Mallon free. 

One minute later, the Shane O’Neill’s ace levelled matters with her first goal. Mackin, also a talented soccer player, pulled the trigger with the ball on the ground after linking up with Blaithin. 

And the pair tagged on two more to make it 2-7 to 0-11 at half time.

The second half was equally as thrilling, with hard hits going in left, right and centre, though it was one littered with mistakes and wides. While Mayo introduced fresh legs, they came out all guns blazing — but Armagh goalkeeper Anna Carr pulled off an outstanding save to deny Ella Brennan of a dream restart.

Super sub McHale announced her arrival with two well-taken scores, a Mackin effort sandwiched in between, before another replacement in Fiona Doherty had the ball in the back of the net in the 42nd minute to make it 1-13 to 3-8.

Points at either end from Mackin and Mallon, and Rowe — who had a much quieter outing after last week — left just two in it at the second water break.

peter-leahy-hugs-sarah-rowe-as-she-comes-off-the-pitch Peter Leahy and Sarah Rowe (file pic). Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Aoife McCoy, Armagh’s hat-trick hero against Tyrone, Mallon and Mackin continued the Armagh scoring charge, while Doherty and her namesake substitute, Fiona, kept Mayo in touch at the other end. But it looked like it would be Armagh’s day as the clock ran down.

Two points up and two minutes left, McCoy had the perfect opportunity to put the game to bed, but Laura Brennan stepped up with a fantastic save.

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60 seconds or so later, with the last attack of the game, Catherine Marley made no mistake, after being expertly played in by Mackin to send Armagh marching on.

Scorers for Armagh: Aimee Mackin (2-7, 2f), Kelly Mallon (1-3, 2f), Blaithin Mackin (0-1), Aoife McCoy (o-1), Catherine Marley (1-0)

Scorers for Mayo: Grace Kelly (0-4), Aileen Gilroy (0-1), Sarah Rowe (0-2), Sinead Cafferky (0-2), Deirdre Doherty (0-4, 2f), Mary McHale (0-2), Fiona Doherty (1-1)

Armagh

1. Anna Carr (Carrickcruppen)

2. Sarah Marley (Lissummon)
3. Clodagh McCambridge (Grance)
26. Shauna Grey (Dromintee)

5. Tiarna Grimes (Clann Eireann)
6. Blaithin Mackin (Shane O’Neills)
7. Grace Ferguson (Ballyhegan Davitts)

8. Niamh Coleman (Clann Eireann)
9. Aveen Bellew (Crossmaglen Rangers)

10. Catherine Marley (Lissummon)
11. Aoife McCoy (Dromintee)
12. Aimee Mackin (Shane O’Neills)

13. Caroline O’Hanlon (Carrickcruppen)
14. Kelly Mallon (Armagh Harps — captain)
15. Eve Lavery (Ballyhegan Davitts)

Subs 

18. Tiarna McVeigh for Shauna Grey (56)

Mayo

1. Laura Brennan (Hollymount)

2. Danielle Caldwell (Castlebar Mitchels)
3. Roisín Durkin (Swinford)
4. Ciara McManamon (Burrishoole)

5. Éilis Ronayne (Davitts)
6. Dayna Finn (Kiltimagh)
7. Ella Brennan (Charlestown)

8. Aileen Gilroy (Adamstown)
9. Clodagh McManamon (Burrishoole)

10. Grace Kelly (Moy Davitts)
11. Sinéad Cafferky (Kilmovee Shamrocks — captain)
12. Sarah Rowe (Kilmoremoy)

13. Maria Reilly (Kiltane)
14. Rachel Kearns (McHale Rovers)
15. Deirdre Doherty (Charlestown)

Subs

26. Mary McHale for Clodagh McManamon (HT)
23. Fiona Doherty for Maria Reilly (HT)
24. for Ciara McManamon (39)
19. Ciara Whyte for Grace Kelly (45)

Referee: Jonathan Murphy (Carlow).

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About the author:

Emma Duffy  / Reports from Parnell Park

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