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Armagh stage fightback but fail to overhaul impressive Mayo

On target: Eimear Smyth notched up six points for Fermanagh
On target: Eimear Smyth notched up six points for Fermanagh
John Campbell

By John Campbell

It was a case of near yet so far for Armagh when they were shown the exit door by Mayo in this thrilling Lidl Ladies All-Ireland senior football championship quarter-final at Pearse Park, Longford.

Having surrendered the initiative to the westerners in the first half during which they trailed by six points at one stage (1-6 to 0-3), the orchard county staged a courageous fightback that nonetheless still saw them fall short.

A Maria Reilly goal gave Mayo a solid first half foothold but Caroline O'Hanlon kept Armagh in touch with points from frees and play.

And the Ulster side began to look even more confident when Kelly Mallon swept in their only goal minute triggering the hope that her side could push on.

But it was not to be. Mayo sustained their momentum and when the dangerous Sarah Rowe struck for their second goal in the 43rd minute this bolstered her team's resolve.

Armagh strove desperately to edge out their opponents in the closing stages but the Connacht side kept their cool and eased into the semi-finals on a 2-12 to 1-12 score.

Meanwhile, Derry will now join Antrim in the All-Ireland Ladies Football Junior Championship semi-finals following their fine 1-16 to 1-6 victory over Derry at Devenish yesterday.

The Oak Leaf side were very much in touch by half-time when they trailed by 0-8 to 1-4 but Fermanagh stepped up the pressure as the second half progressed.

Eimear Smyth scored a goal to embellish her haul of six points that helped to make her the outstanding player on view.

But Fermanagh showed that they are not totally dependent on her as Joanne Doonan, Blaithin Bogue and Lisa Maguire were also prominent.

Erne county manager Johnny Garrity is now looking forward to the last four meeting with London on Saturday week.

"London are a good side. They beat Carlow at the weekend and look to be serious challengers for the All-Ireland title," said Garrity.

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