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Armagh see final slip by as Tipp win late thriller

Armagh 4-6 Tipperary 3-10

By Declan Bogue

A late Armagh collapse brought on three Tipperary goals as last year's Intermediate champions produced a late flourish to secure a Division Two league final place.

Armagh had actually got their fourth of the game inside 19 seconds of the restart through Blathin Mackin and were able to bring Caroline O'Hanlon on, fresh from her exploits in Australia with the Northern Ireland netball team and having played a game for Manchester Thunder in midweek.

Armagh were 4-3 to 1-3 in the lead at that point and they appeared to be home and hosed, despite playing into a stiff breeze.

Tipperary countered, but three early wides looked to suck out any momentum before Aisling Moloney's free was followed by an Orla O'Dwyer point.

Moloney added two more, making it 4-3 to 1-7, before the Premier County were back in proceedings on 44 minutes.

A poor kick-out was intercepted and Tipperary attacked. Anna Rose Kennedy and Roisin Howard were involved before Gillian O'Brien received the final pass for the second goal. When Mairead Morrissey converted again, they trailed by just one point.

O'Hanlon's arrival into the fray had an instant impact with two scores pushing the Orchard County a goal ahead again. But Tipperary reacted with seven minutes left as Moloney set up Howard for the equalising goal.

O'Hanlon was denied by the crossbar but Aoife McCoy put Armagh back ahead.

Moloney equalised and the game was destined for extra-time before Davey landed the winner, even though Moloney was sin-binned in injury time for a challenge on O'Hanlon.

It started much different for Tipperary in the first half as Howard picked out Morrissey for a goal on two minutes and O'Dwyer made it 1-1 to 0-0.

Armagh - especially Aimee Mackin - looked threatening and were back to one point by 10 minutes through Mackin and a McCoy brace, and when the latter was rewarded a 12th minute penalty, Mackin hit the net to make it 1-3 to 1-1.

Aimee Mackin got her second Armagh goal and she was involved along with McCoy to allow Lauren McConville get the third major making it 3-3 to 1-3 at half-time.

When Blathin Mackin got the fourth after the restart, Armagh looked set for a final date with Cavan but Tipperary used the elements to get back through O'Brien and Howard's goals before Davey kept their good run intact.

The other semi-final in Division Two featured Cavan and Waterford, and the Breffni girls won out on a 1-8 to 0-8 scoreline and will provide Tipperary with another northern test in the final.

A goal four minutes into the second half was the crucial score for the winners who will now face Tipperary in the final on May 6 at Parnell Park.

Playing with the strong wind it was no great surprise to see Cavan, beaten finalists against Westmeath last year, take the lead, with Aisling Doonan scoring inside the first minute and Sheridan adding a second to double their lead.

Playing some magnificent football through the hands against the wind, they put two between them again when captain Sinead Greene led by example to point.

With 34 minutes gone they got the vital goal when Catherine Dolan burst forward beat several players to be clean through on goal.

It looked like she lost possession at one stage but somehow she managed to regain control of the ball to find the back of the net to make it 1-6 to 0-4.

A killer blow to Waterford and one they never really recovered from, despite their best efforts.

In the Division Three semi-final, Down took another harsh lesson from Meath in Inniskeen, the scoreline of 6-18 to 0-3 showing up some glaring weaknesses in the Mourne women's side.

It was something similar later on in the day at the same venue when Antrim crashed out of the Division Four semi-finals, suffering some serious punishment to Wicklow, with 7-13 to 0-8 the final score in that one.

Belfast Telegraph

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