County Camogs Have To Do It All Again
Armagh 3-5 Roscommon 2-8
The Armagh Senior Camogie Team travelled to Cavan on Saturday quietly confident of success against Roscommon. Reflecting on the league encounter where Armagh had an eight point lead going in at the interval and lost by five, lessons were learnt and a lot of hard work undertaken to make deficits right. A large crowd travelled the journey and the weather was perfect. A minute silence was held as a mark of respect for a great Ballymacnab and Armagh camog Arlene Donnelly, our National Athem was played and the All Ireland Nancy Murray Cup Final was underway.
Both teams were slow to settle and dogged play resulted in the giving away of easy frees. Many early vital scoring opportunities were missed by both teams from free taking probably due to nervousness on the big occasion. Roscommon employed Kelly Hopkins as an extra defender to curtail Armagh‘s sharp shooter Colette McSorley. The first score on the board on the sixth minute came from a well taken free by the Rossies Kelly Hopkins.
Armagh worked hard as it was proving to be a very close encounter with no side giving an inch. Colette McSorley pointed two well taken frees on the 11th minute. It was pulsating, exciting and entertaining for the large crowd. The orange jersey covered every blade of grass in Breffni Park, Cavan in their attempts to be crowned All Ireland Champions.
On the 17th minute Colette McSorley capitalised on a sliothar that broke free on the edge of the square and with determination, passion and strength she rattled the back of the net. This was a major confidence boost for Armagh. Colette edged her side further by a crafty point from play on the 20th minute.
Roscommon stepped up to the challenge and dominated the final ten minutes of the first half to remind Armagh that they hadn’t gone away and intended challenging this All Ireland title to the end. Kelly Hopkins converted two frees and Annette Mc Geeney fired over a hard worked point on the twenty ninth minute.
Colette McSorley gave Armagh a three point advantage with a point from a free deep into injury time. Half time score Armagh 1 – 4 Roscommon 0 – 4.
The second half recommenced with sheer intensity from both counties. Roscommon had narrowly lost out in the 2008 Final and were determined not to let this title slip. Armagh were well aware of Roscommon second half abilities from the league encounter. Kelly Hopkins pointed from play on the third minute for Roscommon. Niamh McGeown who was in auto gear sent over a long range point and then an attack on the Roscommon defence was momentary foiled. Andrea McAlinden intelligently passed the sliothar to the advancing Colette McSorley and once again she rattled the net to the disbelief of the Rossies camp.
Roscommon immediately regrouped and went on the challenge and dominated every position for the next quarter. Claire Curley’s goal was inspirational to her side and Armagh‘s defence was placed under severe pressure. Claire Curley was raiding the Orchard. Another point from play and then shock waves for Armagh when she pushed Roscommon ahead for the first time in the game with a classic goal. Determined the gallant camogs of Armagh remained focused on the task ahead and battled courageously. Armagh were committed and challenging the oppositions defence. Andrea McAlinden connected on a rebounding sliothar to put Armagh in the driving seat by two points on the 22nd minute.
The final ten minutes was nerve wrecking. Claire Curley added another point from play and on the 25th minute Kelly Hopkins’s equalised with point from play.
Armagh fought gallantly but couldn’t convert the winning score. Roscommon severely pressurised and credit to the Armagh camogs defensive skills they refused to let Roscommon raid the Orchard. In the final minutes Roscommon were awarded a free. It was literally in the last seconds of play and the last puck of the sliothar. Armagh‘s supporters were on their knees. This was a chance for Roscommon to make up for disappointment in last years final. Kelly Hopkins the free taker did everything right to secure victory but the breeze denied her team glory to the relief of Armagh and another chance to play Roscommon and hopefully bring the Nancy Murray Cup back to its original roots in Ulster.
Well done to the Armagh Team and management and thanks to all Armagh camogie’s loyal supporters for making the journey to Cavan to support the team. Hope to see you all next week at the replay.
Armagh and Roscommon will have to meet again on Sunday August 30th the venue unknown at present.
Armagh scorers C McSorley 2-4 (0-2f, 0-1’45), A McAlinden 1-0, N McGeown 0-1
Roscommon scorers, C Curley 2-2, K Hopkins 0-5 (0-3f), A McGeeney 0-1.
Armagh: Colleen Comiskey Keady; Michaela King Ballymacnab, Anne McGuigan Middletown, Patrice Murphy Keady; Emma Farrell Derrynoose, Laura Gribben Ballymacnabb, Caoimhe McKenna Derrynoose; Bernie Murray Cullyhanna, Niamh McGeown Derrymacash;, Ciara Donnelly Granemore, Grainne Kelly Granemore, Joanne Mallon (Capt) Middletown; Andrea McAlinden Derrymacash, Colette McSorley Tullysarron, Paula Mallon Middletown.
Bronagh Keenan Granemore, Colleen O’Hare Granemore, Cathy Smith Granemore, Aoibhean Donaldson Crossmaglen, Geraldine Curry Tullysarron, Nicola McGeown Ballymacanb, Carla Mullen St. Brigid’s, Grace Donaghy St. Brigid’s.