REPORT: Mackin and Mallon on song as Armagh get the better of Donegal in TG4 Ulster SFC

TG4 Ulster Senior Championship
Donegal 2-4Armagh 1-15THE Croke Park/LGFA Player of the Month for April, Aimee Mackin, continued her excellent form into May with nine points as Armagh opened their TG4  Senior Championship campaign with a comprehensive win in Donegal.Mackin kicked three frees into the wind and then six from play in the second half, with Kelly Mallon also playing a pivotal part with 1-3 in Lifford, where Donegal had led by five points in the first half. The Orchard County defeated Donegal in the last two of their three-in-a-row Ulster successes, with the provincial championship going to the north-west in the three years before that.However, the balance of power is certainly now in the orange corner, with the sides expected to meet in this year’s decider, unless Cavan can pull off a win in Armagh.Maxi Curran’s Donegal had opened their championship with a 1-6 to 0-4 win in Cavan and in Lifford against Armagh, they scored two early goals through Tara Hegarty and Amy Boyle Carr.Armagh finished the half strongly, keeping in touch through frees from Mackin and Mallon, and an Eve Lavery point, and wouldn’t have been overly disappointed to go in 2-1 to 0-5 down in the circumstances.The opening goal came on seven minutes when Hegarty slapped in at the back post having been set up by Katie Dowds and then on 12 minutes, Boyle Carr sped into space and shot herself to give the hosts a second goal and 2-0 to 0-1.However, Armagh steadied themselves and having kicked the last four points of the first half, fired over five on the bounce to get going in the second. A superb long-ranger from Mackin on 39 minutes edged them in front and Cait Towe also got in on the act.The inexperienced Donegal side saw their attacks break down frequently, although Karen Guthrie finally broke the Armagh run with a 45th minute point.Caitriona O’Hagan, the Armagh substitute, got in on the act, although she and fellow replacement Megan McShane picked up yellow cards. Ciara McGarvey would kick two late frees for the hosts but with Mackin running the show, a clearance from goalkeeper Anna Carr went through to Mallon in the last minute, and she netted for the dominant visitors.  Donegal scorers: Tara Hegarty and Amy Boyle Carr 1-0 each; Ciara McGavey 0-2, 2f; Katie Long and Karen Guthrie 0-1 each.
Armagh scorers: Aimee Mackin 0-9, 3f; Kelly Mallon 1-3, 3f; Eva Lavery, Cait Towe and Caitriona O’Hagan 0-1 each.
Donegal: C Friel; N Carr, A Temple Asokuh, Nicole McLaughlin; E Gallagher, S McGroddy, T Hegarty; K Herron, Niamh McLaughlin; A Boyle Carr, L Ryan, R Rodgers; K Long, K Dowds, K Guthrie. Subs: S White and C McGarvey for Long and McGroddy (44).Armagh: A Carr; S Grey, C McCambridge,C Towe; G Ferguson, L McConville, E Druse; N Coleman, E Lavery; B Mackin, A Mackin, C Marley; N Marley, K Mallon, A McCoy. Subs: T Grimes for Lavery (41); C O’Hagan for Coleman (48), M Lennon for C Marley (54), M Ferguson for N Marley (56), A McConville for McCoy (58)
Referee: Gavin Finnegan (Down)

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