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We knew we had a huge performance in us, insists Morgan

 

Joy day: Caoimhe Morgan was overwhelmed with Armagh’s stunning All-Ireland Championship victory over Cork
Joy day: Caoimhe Morgan was overwhelmed with Armagh’s stunning All-Ireland Championship victory over Cork
Lorraine McCaffrey
John Campbell

By John Campbell

Agony has suddenly been translated into ecstasy for Armagh now that they have defied the odds to book their place in the Lidl All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship quarter-finals in which they will meet Mayo.

When a heavy drubbing from Donegal in the Ulster final was followed by a chastening experience against Cavan, Armagh's prospects of reaching the last eight looked to have disintegrated.

But a surprise one-point win over Cork at the weekend (4-9 to 3-11) has projected the Orchard County back into the title frame again much to the relief of joint managers Lorraine McCaffrey and Fionnuala McAtamney and inspirational skipper Caoimhe Morgan.

Along with her three sisters Sarah, Niamh and Catherine, Morgan helped to provide the momentum and intensity that rocketed their team back into the national spotlight.

"We knew we had a big performance in us but to be honest we had become frustrated lately," revealed the Orchard County skipper.

"I told the girls at training on Thursday night that each and every one of us needed to play the game of our lives if we were to win. We have a reputation for causing Cork problems without being able to beat them.

"This win has been a long time in coming and we experienced a real roller-coaster of emotions when the final whistle sounded."

Goals from Caroline O'Hanlon, Blaithin Mackin, Kelly Mallon and Mairead Watters propelled Armagh into a handsome lead before Cork landed 2-2 without response.

Rhona Ni Bhuachalla, Maire O'Callaghan and Libby Copponger grabbed goals for Cork that served to heap pressure on Armagh but Morgan's superb leadership and her team's refusal to wilt proved crucial in taking them over the line.

Cork are still in the frame to lift the Championship accolade, though, and they will now meet Tyrone in the quarter-finals.

But Monaghan and Donegal, two of Ulster's more consistent sides of late, have now bowed out of the reckoning.

Monaghan suffered a heavy 3-20 to 0-4 defeat against Dublin while Donegal were pipped by Mayo on a 1-11 to 3-12 score line.

But Down came good in the All-Ireland Intermediate Championship by beating Kildare by 4-9 to 1-9. Jessica Foy proved the ace in the Mourne pack by grabbing two goals while Mairead Kavanagh and Sarah Dougherty also netted. Natasha Ferris landed four of Down's points.

Fermanagh avenged their recent defeat by Antrim when they came out on top in yesterday's All-Ireland Junior Championship tie. The Erne girls won by 0-12 to 1-6 with Joanne Doonan, Eimear Smyth and Blaithin Bogue to the fore while Cathy Carey and skipper Saoirse Tennyson did their best to keep Fermanagh in with a chance.

In the All-Ireland Premium Junior Camogie Championship Group One Armagh went under to Roscommon by 2-18 to 0-11 while Tyrone were no match for Clare who won by 4-18 to 1-8.

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