For the second weekend in-a-row Armagh deprived Donegal silverware as they claimed the laurels in Ulster Minor B Ladies Championship final.
For the second week also one Aimee Macken was the main architect in Donegal’s downfall. Last weekend she scored 2-5 in the Orchard County’s 4-18 to 4-6 victory over Donegal, in the Tesco Homegrown Ladies Division Two final in Parnell Park.
On this occasion the stylish Mackin once again posted the bulk of Armagh’s scores as she ended the final at a windy and blustery Garvaghy, Tyrone, with 1-7 to her name.
The goal came from the penalty spot and one of her points was from a free.
And this was after her direct marker Brianna McDonnell doing a fine marking job on her. She is such a talented footballer, blessed with two good feet and great balance; she falls into that rare class of player that given a liberal supply she is close to unmarkable.
And over the hour Donegal manager Seamus Campbell had to be pleased with the way his defence marshalled her with Lara Sweeney always on hand to support McDonnell whenever the need arose.
Donegal’s problem was more fundamental than that. They simply could not master the strong wind that blew into their faces in the first half. Their distribution from the foot, both from general play and from frees, was poor and they paid a high price as the bulk of Armagh scores came from interceptions at midfield and in their own half-backline.
After a good enough opening quarter hour in the possession stakes thanks to the workrate of Aine McGettigan at wing back, Lara Sweeney at midfield and Nicole Gordon and Mairead Coll in the half-forward line, Donegal found themselves 0-3 to 0-0 down after fifteen minutes. Mackin scored two of the Armagh points and full-forward Aoibhean Jones the other.
Mackin converted from the penalty spot early in the second quarter after a foot block on Jones to set the Orchard girls on their way. And over the next ten minutes Mackin, Caella Casey, Annalivia Hynds, Aoibheann Henderson all found the range to extend their lead out to 1-9 to 0-0.
Mairead Coll, deservedly, raised Donegal first flag deep in injury time to make it 1-9 to 0-1 at half-time.
Mackin posted the first of Armagh’s three second half points within three minutes of the restart. But the Orchard girls did not score again until the middle of the half as they too struggled against the elements.
The problem for Donegal was they were making no headway at the other end and Nicole McDermott, 43 minute free after Anna Gallagher was fouled, was all they had to show as the Armagh rearguard gave little away.
Henderson and Mackin stretched the Armagh lead out to 1-12 to 0-3 with ten minutes remaining. In the closing minutes Orla McGonigle pulled off two good saves to twice deny Henderson before McDermott posted four late points, three of them from placed balls.
Armagh: K McCreesh; A McConville, C McKenna, C McGuirk; B Mackin, M Sheridan, C Rafferty; C McCambridge, C Casey (0-1); A Henderson (0-2), N Coleman, A Hynds (0-1); A Mackin (1-7, 1-0 pen,0-1,f),A Jones (0-1), A Kane. Subs: E King for A Hynds (47); A McMahon for A Jones.
Donegal: Orla McGonigle (Fanad Gaels); Rosie Keon (Aodh Ruadh), Aine Bradely (Urris), Brianna McDonnell (Naomh Conaill); Arianna Bonner (Naomh Conaill), Shannagh Kelly (Glenswilly), Aine McGettigan (St Eunan’s); Naomi McMenamin (St Eunan’s), Lara Sweeney (Ardara); Nicole Gordon (Urris 0-1), Nicole McDermott (Moville 0-5, 4f), Mairead Coll (Fanad Gaels 0-1,1f); Erica Wilson (Convoy), Anna Gallagher (Termon), Grace Nolan (Four Masters). Subs: Mary Ward (Glenfin) for A Bonner (39); Ailhne O’Donnell (Naomh Muire) for G Nolan (40); Lauren Cregan (Urris) for E Wilson (47); Denise Breslin (St Naul’s) for A Gallagher (55).
Referee: G Sheridan (Cavan).