All Ireland Final For Armagh Camogs
Armagh Senior Camogie Team played neighbours Tyrone in the All Ireland semi final of the Nancy Murray Cup in Casement on Saturday evening. On the previous meeting earlier in the season the Red Hand camogs came out on top by a goal. Benny Brunton Tyrone’s manager was in a difficult situation with divided loyalties as wife to be Laura Gribben was playing centre half back for Armagh.
Paula Mallon’s point cushioned Armagh‘s anxieties in the opening minutes. The Orchard calini were aware from their own experiences this season of playing for only one half and loosing games that should have been won that they must perform for the full sixty minutes to ensure victory. Shauna Jordaon converted a free for Tyrone quickly followed by a classic point from a sole performance by Emma McAlister.
It was a close encounter with both teams rallying the sliothar from end to end. Tyrone held tight reins on Cullyhanna’s Bernie Murray and double marked Colette McSorley. Laura Gribben was outstanding at centre back and up front Ulster College‘s Camogie All Star Ciara Donnelly and club mate Grainne Kelly constantly pressurised the Tyrone defence. Grainne Kelly broke free and collected a high pass form Colette McSorley to equalise for Armagh. Then the inevitable to the disbelief of Tyrone a sliothar well cleared by the goalkeeper was capitalised on by sharp shooter McSorley and hammered to the back of the net.
Tyrone quickly regrouped and applied severe pressure on the Orchard defence. Emma McAlister wearing Number 13 was superb and notched up two long range points to narrow the margin to a point. Armagh were up for a challenge and no player was giving anything away easily. Ciara Donnelly sent over a well worked point for Armagh. He Red Hands made no mistake from the puck out and Meave McGurk scored another point to leave a Tyrone in arrears of a point on the half time whistle. Half time scores Armagh 1 – 3 Tyrone 0 – 5.
Armagh progressed to the Gala Nancy Murray Cup Junior Championship Final defeating neighbours Tyrone by four points on Saturday.
The game was a thrilling encounter which ebbed and flowed, neither side willing to give an inch as they traded scores and shut out any attacks. The attacking prowess of Colette McSorley and Ciara Donnelly caused the Tyrone defence problems; indeed it was McSorley who proved to be the difference notching up a personal tally of 3-3 but Ciara Donnelly helped to extend the Armagh lead firing over two fine points.
Tyrone battled well with Emma McAlister causing the Armagh backline problems as the Red Hands went searching for the scores to get back into the game. The rest of the forward line supported McAlister well, feeding in balls and breaking down balls. This worked well as McAlister scored 1-4 of her sides total with half-forward Shauna Jordan and Captain Julie Lagan getting on the scoreboard. Unfortunately for Tyrone the Orchard girls defence refused to yield in the final minutes with Bernie Murray and Laura Gribben closing down the opposition and clearing the danger.
Armagh manager Patsy MaGee was pleased with his side’s performance saying: “”The girls did exceptionally well it was certainly our best performance of the year. We’ve been building gradually and getting better in every game, there were periods in certain games when we enjoyed fine spells and I’m glad that we finally performed consistently for 60 minutes.””
“”I’m so pleased for the girls their spirits never dampened; they got their heads down and put in the hard work. They fully deserve to be in an All-Ireland final we know that Roscommon will be tough opposition so we’ll get back to training and put in the work,”” MaGee said.
MaGee was full of praise for opponents Tyrone believing that they will continue to improve and push Ulster camogie forward.
“”It was a tough contest and Tyrone pushed us throughout the game. We knew that we would need to perform to the best of our ability in order to beat them. I don’t think that this will be the last time that Tyrone and Armagh compete in the All-Ireland series which is good for Ulster camogie.
“”They came out of nowhere, made us sit up and take notice, what they have achieved in such a short period of time is phenomenal; it’s good for us to have opponents like Tyrone as competition breeds success and hopefully we’ll push each other to greatness,”” he added.
In the Gala McGrath Cup Intermediate Championship Derry suffered defeat at the hands of Galway in what was the Oak Leaf County‘s first competitive game in five weeks.
“”It’s back to the drawing board now; we were second to every ball and second best in every aspect of the game. We need to get our match sharpness back, it’s fair to say we didn’t have ideal preparation ahead of the game with the lack of competitive games but the girls know I don’t look for excuses, we need to step up and get the mindset right ahead of the semi-final,”” said Derry manager Danny McGrellis.
Gala Nancy Murray Cup Junior Championship Semi-Final: Armagh 3-8 vs 1-10 Tyrone
Gala McGrath Cup Intermediate Championship: Galway 2-11 vs 0-9 Derry