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Magnificent Mackin guides Armagh to League title, Sligo end 20-year wait

Disappointment for Donegal and Waterford at Parnell Park.

Armagh 4-18
Donegal 4-6

Aimee Makin shoots to score Aimee Mackin, who contributed 2-5 from play, scores Armagh's third goal. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

AIMEE MACKIN DELIVERED an attacking masterclass as Armagh steamed past Donegal in this afternoon’s Tesco Ladies National Football League Division 2 final.

Shane O’Neills star Mackin hit 2-5 from play on a day when Armagh leaked four goals but scored four themselves en route to a comfortable 12-point win.

The Orchard County will be playing top-flight football next season after claiming victory in a crucial all-Ulster promotion shootout.

In a repeat of the 2005 Division 2 decider, the outcome was the same as Armagh claimed three first-half goals to turn the screw, before adding another in the second-half to halt the momentum of a Donegal mini-revival.

And the Ulster champions can now plan the defence of their provincial crown with a first piece of League silverware in ten years in the bank.

Armagh were rocked after just 40 seconds when Yvonne McMonagle, who collected a treble, netted for Donegal but the response was impressive from Daly’s charges.

Mackin responded in kind after eight minutes before Fionnuala McKenna, who also raised two green flags, struck in the 17th minute.

Geraldine McLaughlin scored Donegal’s second goal four minutes before half-time but Armagh pounced with a decisive blow with just 17 seconds remaining on the clock, as Mackin showed a blistering turn of pace to evade the Donegal cover before lashing home her second goal.

That well-taken effort handed Armagh a 3-10 to 2-3 half-time lead and the lead increased to eleven points after the break, as Lauren McConville responded to McLaughlin’s point with a brace of scores.

But Donegal had shown enough in that first half to suggest that they could punch holes in an Armagh defence missing centre-back Sinéad McCleary.

Sharon McGroddy had rammed a first-half effort off the crossbar and over before Amber Barrett drew a fine save from Katie Daly, the manager’s daughter.

Barrett also blazed wide with another decent goal chance but McMonagle did haul Donegal back into contention with a 38th-minute goal, and when McLaughlin popped over a free, the deficit was down to six points, with Donegal trailing by 3-6 to 3-12.

Armagh steadied themselves with points from Kelly Mallon and Mackin, before McKenna put the result beyond doubt with her second goal, comfortably put away after Mallon delivered the pass.

McMonagle did pull another goal back for Donegal with eight minutes remaining as the Glenfin full-forward was credited with the final touch to beat Daly.

But it was routine stuff from there until the finish for last year’s beaten All-Ireland semi-finalists Armagh, and they finished with a flourish as Mackin fired over a picture-book score from distance to complete the rout with just seconds remaining.

Armagh celebrate with the trophy The Armagh players celebrate after winning today's Tesco Ladies National Football League Division 2 final. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Scorers for Armagh: A Mackin 2-5, F McKenna 2-2, K Mallon 0-6 (3f), L McConville 0-2, A McCoy, C Malone & C O’Hanlon 0-1 each.

Scorers for Donegal: Y McMonagle 3-0, G McLaughlin 1-2 (0-1f), A McDonnnell, N Hegarty, S McGroddy & A Barrett 0-1 each.

ARMAGH

K Daly

M Tennyson
C Morgan
S Marley

S Reel
N Henderson
N Marley

C Malone
C O’Hanlon

A McCoy
K Mallon
L Kenny

L M McConville
F McKenna
A Mackin.

Subs:

S McCoy for S Marley (44)
M McAlinden for McKenna (50)
M McGuinness for N Marley (50)
T McCoy for McConville (60)
S Grey for McCoy (60)

DONEGAL

L Gallagher

D Foley
E Gallagher
Nicole McLaughlin

A McDonnell
C Hegarty
Niamh McLaughlin

K Herron
R Curran

E Ward
N Hegarty
S McGroddy

A Barrett
Y McMonagle
G McLauglin.

Subs:

R Boyle for Curran (15)
K Keeney for Nicole McLaughlin (HT)
T Doherty for Ward (HT.)
E McCrory for Barrett (41)

Referee: G Carmody (Mayo)

* * *

Sligo 2-12
Waterford 2-8

Stephaine O'Reilly celebrates with the trophy and her teammates Celebration time for captain Stephanie O'Reilly and the victorious Sligo panel. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

PADDY HENRY’S SLIGO claimed a remarkable come-from-behind victory against Waterford in this afternoon’s Tesco Ladies National Football League Division 3 decider at Parnell Park.

The Yeats County girls were eight points down in the first-half but rallied to claim a first League crown since their 1995 Division 3 success.

In the process, Sligo claimed promotion to Division 2 for the 2016 campaign and the manner of victory was all the more startling given that Waterford beat them by 22 points in the group stages of the League campaign.

Sligo, admittedly depleted, suffered a 0-6 to 5-13 whipping early in the season and when Waterford full-forward Sinead Ryan bagged two first-half goals this afternoon, the big fear was that the Déise would run riot again.

But Ryan’s opposite number and player-of-the-match Katie Walsh turned the game on its head to finish with a personal haul of 2-4.

And after Waterford steamed into a 2-3 to 0-1 lead in the first-half, they were outscored by 0-5 to 2-11 for the remainder of the game.

Sligo also registered eight wides in the first half, as Waterford had just the one, but the roles were reversed after half-time as the runners-up finished with six second-half wides.

Pre-match favourites Waterford grabbed the first goal of the game in the tenth minute, when Ryan struck from close range after Michelle Ryan’s attempted point struck the upright.

And when Ryan netted again just two minutes later, after Aileen Wall’s defence-splitting pass opened up the Sligo defence, Waterford were eight points clear.

But Sligo rallied with three successive points before Walsh slotted home a penalty after Emma Murray was sin-binned for a foot-block offence. By half-time, Sligo were back in the hunt, trailing by 1-4 to 2-4, and they took over in the second period.

Walsh’s second goal handed them the lead for the first time and it was one they would not relinquish.

Gráinne Kenneally became the second Waterford player to enter the sin-bin midway through the second half and Sligo had goalkeeper Noelle Gormley to thank for a fine save to deny Shauna Dunphy 12 minutes from time.

Waterford rallied to within two points down the home straight but their day ended in miserable fashion when Murray was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 56th minute.

Scorers for Sligo: K Walsh 2-4 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), S Reynolds & S O’Reilly 0-2 each, B Byrne, E O’Reilly, K Moloney & D McGrath 0-1 each.

Scorers for Waterford: S Ryan 2-3 (0-2f), A Wall 0-2, G Kenneally, M Delahunty (f) & M Ryan 0-1 each.

SLIGO

N Gormley

O McGowan
G O’Loughlin
C Casey

R Goodwin
E Codd
J Mulligan

S McTiernan
B Byrne

E O’Reilly
S O’Reilly
S Reynolds

L.A. Laffey
K Walsh
K Moloney.

Subs:

L Brett for Moloney (22)
D McGrath for Laffey (40)
G Carty for Brett (57)

WATERFORD

K Hannon

L Wall
K McGrath
E Murray

M McGrath
E Power
M Dunford

N Fennell
M Wall

G Kenneally
M Delahunty
A Wall

M Ryan
S Ryan
A Murray

Subs:

C McGrath for Fennell (HT)
S Dunphy for Wall (42)
H Landers for A Murray (53)

Referee: J Murphy (Carlow)

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About the author:

Jackie Cahill

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