By Daragh Ë Conch·ir
Armagh and Westmeath must do it all over again in the All-Ireland junior A camogie final in association with RT+ Sport, after producing a cracking encounter in tough weather conditions at Donaghmore Ashbourne.
The replay will take place on October 2 and it was Bernie Murray’s equaliser for Armagh that ensured another game was required to split these two evenly-matched teams.
Remarkably, that score came with 15 minutes of the game still remaining but no matter how hard both sets of players tried, a winner could not be found.
Armagh will be delighted to have a second bite of the cherry having lost the last two finals and been in arrears for most of the game.
They trailed at half time by three points, 1-6 to 1-3 but would have been very pleased by that, given that they had played into a very strong wind.
It was looking bad enough for them as the Lakesiders drove forward and the outstanding Pamela Greville goaled with a brilliant ground shot from just inside the 20m line in the 12th minute.
Midfielder, Denise McGrath was in irrepressible form in that opening period and she scored four points from play to push Noel Boyce’s charges into a six-point lead going into injury time.
Crucially though, Brid O’Hagan goaled just before the interval to send the Armagh going into the dressing rooms with their tails up. O’Hagan’s first shot was blocked by Westmeath goalkeeper, Fiona Keating, but the Port M¾r clubwoman responded quickest to find the net at the second attempt.
Colette McSorley notched up two points – one from play and one from a free – to reduce the margin to the minimum and it was tit-for-tat from there until the end.
While this wasn’t a free-scoring affair, much of that could be attributed to the conditions. Credit should also go to the defences though, both sets of which were magnificent throughout and especially in the second half.
Greville and McGrath were two fo the stars for Westmeath, while Armagh had eye-catching performances from captain, Bernie Murray, Laura Brunton and Niamh McGeown.
Scorers – Armagh: C McSorley 0-5(4fs); B O’Hagan 1-0; M McGuigan, B Murray 0-1 each
Westmeath: P Greville 1-1; D McGrath 0-4; J Walsh 0-2
Armagh: B Moen; C McKinley, A McGuigan, C McKenna; P Mallon, A McKenna, G Kelly; L Brunton, N McGeown; B O’Hagan, B Murray, K O’Brien; M McGuigan, C McSorley, C Donnelly. Sub: O Curry for O’Hagan (52)
Westmeath: F Keating; L Hannon, J Egan, E Martin; L Shaw, A Conaty, A Martin; N Grace, D McGrath, J Walsh, P Greville, L Leavy; M Scally, S Greville, C Murtagh. Subs: A Higgins for Shaw (43); S King for A Martin (52)
Referee: C Quigley (Kildare)