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Bord Gais Energy Ladies National League Round 1

Bord Gais Energy Ladies National League Round 1

Armagh 1-06 Kerry 2-06

Armagh Ladies 2009 campaign began with a defeat to Kerry in Killeavy on Sunday last.

Kerry opened the scoring with a pointed free from Sarah Houlihan but Shauna O’Hagan replied soon after following good link play by Aileen Matthews. Kerry piled on the pressure and Linda Cronin put her side in front following excellent work by corner back Aisling Leonard. They attacked in waves and Deirdre Corridan was unlucky to see her effort cut across the goalmouth but Patrice Dennehy was on hand to salvage a point from the attack.

Shauna O’Hagan kept Armagh in touch but the incessant running of Kerry’s wing forwards and their ability to turn defence into attack kept her side on the back foot. Debra Murphy saw her goal bound effort saved by Denise Hagan before Armagh finally seemed to come to grips with the game. Aileen Matthews converted two frees to put her side ahead for the first time before Kerry went down to fourteen players when they lost Bernie Breen to the sin bin. Mags McAlinden and Patrice Dennehy traded scores to leave Armagh ahead on a scoreline of 0-5 to 0-4 at the break.

Dennehy started the half as she’d finished the first, converting a point to put the sides back level. Armagh had good opportunities with the vision of Mairead Tennyson, Sinead McCleary and Shauna O’Hagan among others splitting the Kerry defence. It just seemed as though Armagh were unable to capitalise when presented with these openings.

Kerry had no such problems however and when Linda Cronin found herself through on goal after a superb move she made no mistake. Minutes later Louise Ni Muirceartaigh recovered from a heavy knock to react quickest to a lose ball and finish to the net. Dennehy extended her sides lead and with ten minutes remaining it seemed as if there was no way back for Armagh as they trailed 2-06 to 0-05.

Credit where it’s due, the Orchard girls refused to buckle and they threw everything bar the kitchen sink at Kerry in a bid to grab that elusive goal. Kelly Mallon and Shauna O’ Hagan came close and Mairead Tennyson was denied by smart goalkeeping from Laoise O’ Driscoll who smothered the shot well. Eventually the pressure paid of and Kelly Mallon was on hand to finish an Aileen Matthews free to the net. Matthews added a point from the kick but Armagh had left their fight back too late and Kerry ran out winners 2-06 to 1-06.

Armagh will have learned a lot from their first competitive outing of the year. there were many positives to take. Denise Hagan was assured under the high ball and at the back Sinead McCoy and Clodagh McCann were particularly impressive. Dervla Toal and Sinead McCleary carried the fight to Kerry throughout and at midfield Caitlin Malone and Meabh Moriarty worked tirelessly. Some of the forward play was class and a number of players including the substitutes showed up as exciting prospects for the year ahead. Armagh will now face Donegal in their next game.
Armagh: Denise Hagan, Clodagh McCann, Dervla Toal, Sinead McCoy, Grainne McAlinden, Caoimhe Marley, Sinead McCleary, Meabh Moriarty, Caitlin Malone, Rhona O’Mahoney, Shauna O’Hagan, Sharon Reel, Mags McAlinden, Aileen Matthews, Laura Brown

Kerry: Laoise O’Driscoll, Cassandra Buckley, Aoife Lyons, Aisling Leonard, Sarah-Jayne Joy, Mags O’Donoghue, Amy Foley, Bernie Breen, Lorraine Scanlon, Sarah Houlihan, Linda Cronin, Aoife O’Sullivan, Patrice Dennehy, Deirdre Corridan, Debra Murphy

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