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O'Hanlon's experience tells in Armagh victory

Cavan 1-14 Armagh 2-14

By Owen Wilson

Long-serving Armagh player Caroline O'Hanlon has certainly had the opportunity to underline her versatility in recent weeks.

She represented Northern Ireland in netball at the Commonwealth Games and on her return found herself immersed in Armagh's plans for the Ulster ladies football title.

Last night Caroline, a busy GP, played a key role in helping the orchard county beat Cavan by 2-14 to 1-14 in the provincial semi-final.

They will now meet either Donegal or Monaghan, both of whom have been the big guns in ladies football in Ulster over recent years, in the decider.

O'Hanlon's experience coupled with her ability to take long-range points proved particularly valuable to Armagh against a Cavan side which is currently managed by James Daly who formerly managed Armagh.

Yesterday, though, he was committed to shackling his native county but O'Hanlon was one of several players who ensured that this did not happen.

Yet Daly had Cavan fired up for the match and by half-time they had assembled a 1-7 to 0-6 lead and things were looking ominous for the orchard county girls. But two goals were to prove decisive in determining the outcome of what was a hard-fought contest.

Aimee Mackin and Kelly Mallon were the players to hit the back of the Cavan net and with the former in particular providing her usual quota of points the Armagh side grew in confidence as the second-half progressed.

Lauren McConville and Tiarna Grimes were other Armagh players to impress, both landing several points that helped to keep Cavan on the back foot particularly in the closing stages of the game.

While Armagh will take heart from this win, there is the realisation that Donegal and Monaghan tend to occupy a higher plateau and whichever side the orchard county encounter they will surely test them to the full.

Meanwhile, reigning Munster champions Kerry got their title defence off to a surprisingly easy start against Waterford when they won by 2-16 to 1-6.

Kerry's win belied the controversy in which the side has been immersed of late because of managerial problems.

Goals in either half from Sarah Houlihan and Andrea Murphy capped a confident Kerry performance that puts them into the Munster final in which where they will meet Cork on June 23.

Armagh scorers: A Mackin 1-4; K Mallon 1-2 (1f); C O'Hanlon 0-4 (2f); T Grimes, L McConville 0-2 each.

Cavan: A Maguire 0-6 (3f); D English 0-4; B Farrelly-McGee 1-0; B Sheridan, A Sheridan 0-2 each.

Armagh: C O'Hare; S Marley, C Morgan (capt), S Reel; M Tennyson, T Grimes, M McGuinness; C McCambridge, C O'Hanlon; M Moriarty, F McKenna, L McConville, A Mackin, A McCoy, K Mallon. Subs: B Mackin for McKenna (39), S Grey for McGuinness (53).

Cavan: E Baugh; R Doonan, L Fitzpatrick, J Moore; S Greene (capt), N Byrd, S O'Sullivan; C Dolan, D English; G McGlade, B Sheridan, B Farrelly-McGee; A Sheridan, A Maguire, C Smith. Subs: S McKenna for Smith (47), A Comyn for Farrelly-McGee (52), A O'Reilly for B Sheridan (56).

Referee: Gavin Corrigan (Down)

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