The Mayo ladies’ Championship campaign ended in windswept conditions at Parnell Park up here in Dublin this afternoon. Their Group 4 match with Armagh at the Donnycarney venue was a winner-takes-all affair, with both teams having already beaten Tyrone so the prize on offer for the winners was a place in the All-Ireland semi-final. Armagh it was who won, by 4-12 to 1-16.
As the scoreline suggests, this was a goals-win-games kind of contest. While we were competitive throughout in a rip-roaring encounter, the Orchard County’s ability to find the net on four separate occasions – the final time just seconds from the full-time hooter – was decisive and they were worthy winners as a result.
Armagh’s first goal came in the tenth minute, via Kelly Mallon, but we battled back strongly. Seven points on the spin, in which Deirdre Doherty was to the fore, saw us edge ahead by two points.
The outstanding Aimee Macken – who finished the game with a personal tally of 2-7 to her credit – bagged Armagh’s second goal shortly before the break. The Northerners went in at half-time two points ahead.
Aimee Mackin crashed home her second goal soon after the restart as Armagh upped the ante. We hit back, though, to level the contest as Deirdre Doherty shot to the bottom left-hand corner of the net for our only goal of the game.
Armagh took a lead of a single point into the second water break. The final quarter was tense and close, with the teams exchanging points, though all the while the Orchard ladies managed to hold onto their narrow advantage.
Inside the final minute, Armagh finally killed off the contest. POTM Mackin found Catherine Marley unmarked inside with an expert kick-pass and she made no mistake, burying it emphatically to seal a five-point win and send her team through to the All-Ireland semi-final.
Hard luck to the Mayo ladies who battled bravely today. It wasn’t to be for them this afternoon.