Bord Gais Energy National League Round 6

Bord Gais Energy National League
Round 6
Armagh 2-20 Sligo 3-08

Armagh reinforced their status as table toppers following victory in a five goal thriller against Sligo on Sunday. The game got off to an action packed start with Aoife Lennon’s point canalled by Aine Gormley. Sligo took an early lead through Nicole Foley but Mags McAlinden scored the first of her points to equalise following excellent work by Maria O’Donnell. Kelly Mallon continued Armagh’s bright start when she took a pass from Sinead McCleary, turned and struck it past Emma Cullen in the Sligo net. Points from Aoife Lennon and wing back McCleary extended Armagh’s advantage but Sligo stayed in touch through a fine effort from Elisha Codd. Armagh were playing one of their best passages of football to date though and Kelly Mallon showed great predatory instincts to add a second goal minutes later to increase their advantage to seven points.

Sligo were finding it difficult to break through the Armagh at the back – Dervla Mallon was a rock at the heart of defence and Caoimhe Marley didn’t give her player an inch. Laura Brown cancelled out a Noelle Gormley point and Mags McAlinden pointed a brace of frees to extend the Orchard girls advantage. Totally against the run of play the Yeats County were handed a lifeline when Gormley’s speculative effort found its way o the Armagh net. Armagh responded well with points from the excellent Aoife Lennon and Maria O’Donnell leaving Armagh ahead on a score line of 2-09 to 1-04 at the end of an action packed first half.

Whatever was said in the Sligo changing room at half time had the desired effect as Stephanie O’Reilly and Noelle Gormley almost single handedly dragged their team back into the game. Gormley showed all her skill when she gave Sligo the dream start, striking the ball past Catherine McAlinden to the top right hand corner of the net. Again Armagh replied well with points from Maria O’Donnell and the elusive Kelly Mallon but Gormley continued on her mission landing 1-2 in the space of five minutes to wipe out Armagh’s advantage and leave two between the sides. All credit to Armagh, this gave them the wake up call they needed. They refused to panic and a purple patch with scores from McAlinden (3), O’Donnell, Mallon, Caitlin Malone and Sinead McCleary restored Armagh’s advantage.

Sligo introduced fresh legs and an excellent point from substitute Siobhan Melvin kept the scoreboard ticking over but it was too little too late. Armagh had the last word with Mags McAlinden and Maria O’Donnell capping brilliant individual performances with a point each. This was an important victory for Armagh bu it was rhe nature of the win that was most inspiring. Even when Skgo threatened to comeback Armagh continued to press forward for scores. Sharon Reel got through a trjan work at centre forward with her incessant running making space for the other forwards. Maria O’Donnell was particularly impressive in attack. At the back Armagh defended like a team possessed with Sinead McCleary and Meabh Moriarty linking well with attack. Caitlin Malone ad Marian McGuinness were steady at midfield but overall this was a great team performance which sets Armagh up nicle for a tilt at promotion to Division 1.

Armagh: C McAlinden , C Morgan, L Casey, S McCoy, M Moriarty, D Mallon, S McCleary, M McGuinness, C Malone, M McAlinden, S Reel, L Brown, A Lennon, K Mallon, M O’Donnell. Subs: S O’Hagan, P Powell, C Hayes

Sligo: E Cullen, F May, R Goodwin, E Flanagan, J Mulligan, C Kennedy, C Doyle, S O’Sullivan, S McTiernan, E Codd, S O’Reilly, E O’Reilly, A Gormley, N Gormley, N Foley

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