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Armagh 1.07 Down 1.08

Camogs pipped at the post

Armagh camogie commenced the 2009 National League Division Three against neighbours Down in cracking form in Tullysarron on Sunday. The Orchard captain Joanne Mallon opted to play with the strong wind advantage in the first half. Sheer determination and the advantage of the wind Armagh took control from the throw in.  Granemore’s Ciara Donnelly put the first score on the board for Armagh catching a crafty high pass from club mate Cathy Smith. Colette McSorley playing on home soil added a further two points from play putting a strong determined Armagh three points ahead in the opening ten minutes. The Mourne camogs may have been experiencing difficulty adjusting to the sharp cold breeze stepped up the pace and both teams displayed excellent interchanges of good camogie skill. Karen McMullen pointed on the eleventh minute to clock up the first score for the visitors.
Down applied severe pressure on the Armagh defence. Goalkeeper Bronagh Keenan was superb in nets. Both teams rallied from end to end for ten minutes. Sara Louise Carr converted a 45 to narrow the gap to a point. A point from Orla Maginn brought the scores level on the twenty second minute. The game was intense and Armagh was courageous in their epic battle against a strong Down experienced team. A crafty point from Cathy Smith put Armagh ahead. Dentist Niamah McGeown was upended on route heading goal bound and a penalty was ordered.  Colette McSorley’s brave attempt for a goal was denied by the Down defence and Armagh were in the lead going into the half time break by a point. Half time score Armagh 0-4 Down 0-3

The Armagh calini had the added battle of the wind on their hands commencing the second half. Down’s Sara Louise Carr levelled the sides again on the fourth minute of play in the second half.  Captain Catherine McGourty pushed the Mourne girls into the lead. Ann McGuigan and Mairead Short were pillars of strength in the Armagh defence. The back line refused to yield under enduring pressure. Colette McSorley playing her second game in the weekend brought the sides level for the third time in the match. The Orchard forward line applied pressure to no avail. Cullyhanna’s Bernie Murray connection on a rebounding sliothar rattled the Down net. It was a fantastic score t the delight of the Armagh supporters. Colette McSorley added a further point to her personal tally to give Armagh camogie a four point lead. Captain McGourty’s goal gave the visitors a new lifeline followed by a point from Sara Louise Carr to level the scores for the fourth time midway through the second half. Armagh 1-6 Down 1-6. The atmosphere was electric as both teams served up entertaining camogie in spite of the very cold weather. The experience and overall strength of the Mourne girls was proving difficult for Armagh. Catherine McGourty’s point was matched for the fifth time with a point from Colette McSorley. Karen Tinnelly and Fionnuala Carr points widened the gap. Armagh were always ready to surprise. Ciara Donnelly went solo from deep in the middle of the field to be halted. Colette McSorley made no mistake with the free. The Orchard camogs fought a brave battle in the dying minutes but an equalising point or a winning goal denied them a draw or victory on this encounter. Final score Armagh 1-8 Down 1-9.

Armagh Team: Bronagh Keenan Granemore, Mairead Short Ballymacnab, Ann McGuigan Middletown, Patrice Murphy Keady, Emma Farrell Derrynoose, Laura Gribben Ballymacnab, Patricia McCabe Keady, Joanne Mallon (Capt) Middletown, Laura Comiskey Keady, Bernie Murray Cullyhanna, Colette McSorley Tullysarron, Paula Mallon Middletown, Cathy Smith Granemore, Niamh McGeown Derrymacash, Ciara Donnelly Granemore, Colleen Comiskey Keady, Nicola McGeown Ballymacnab, Colleen O’Hare Granemore, Andrea McAlinden Derrymacash, Aoibheann Donaldson Crossmaglen,  Caoimhe McKenna Derrynoose, Carla Mullen St. Brigid’s, Debbie Lundy Crossmaglen, Geraldine Curry Tullysarron, Grace Donaghy St. Brigid’s, Grainne Kelly Granemore, Megan Rafferty St. Brigid’s, Ursula Mullen St. Brigid’s, Laura McGuinness Madden

An overall very pleasing result for Armagh in the opening game of the 2009 National League. Credit must be given to new Coach/Manager Sean Duffy and his assistants Noel Quinn and former great Armagh camogie player Denise McStay. Thanks to Tullysarron GFC for the use of their facilities and to Tullysarron camogs for much appreciated refreshments after the game. Armagh Camogie welcome their new Senior Team Sponsars the Carrickdale Hotel.

Armagh play Offaly next Sunday at an Offaly venue in their next NationalLeague game.

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