By ALAN GUNN
Donegal manager Maxi Curran had reason to be delighted with his side’s display after they tore Armagh asunder to claim a third straight TG4 Ulster Ladies senior title in Clones on Sunday afternoon.
Goals from Amy Boyle Carr and Niamh McLaughlin inside the first three minutes rocked Armagh, and with Geraldine McLaughlin claiming two goals of her own Donegal sailed to victory.
“What and occasion and what a performance,” said a thrilled Curran.
“It is rare you get so many players performing across the board but we got that today. We are absolutely delighted.
“I think only six of the girls there today started last year’s final and that speaks volumes for the new girls. It makes this even extra special and more sweeter.”
For the second successive year Armagh suffered a heavy defeat to Donegal in the provincial final and according to their joint manager, Lorraine McCaffrey, there was no recovering from that horrific start.
“A very difficult beginning and we never recovered and it cost us the match and everybody was just shell shocked from it despite still been so much time to get back into it,” said McCaffrey.
“All credit to Donegal but we are very frustrated and disappointed because we didn’t give a good account of ourselves.
“We have to dust ourselves down and move on and we will be ready for the Cavan match in our first group game.”
After that dream start Caroline O’Hanlon momentarily halted the Donegal charge with a much needed point, but Curran’s side were totally in control and further scores from Karen Guthrie and Boyle Carr put them nine clear by the end of the opening quarter.
A sublime pass from Geraldine McLaughlin set up Niamh McLaughlin for their third goal on 16 minutes.
Aimee Mackin struck over a beauty for only her side's second point after 22 minutes, while frees from Kelly Mallon and O’Hanlon give Armagh some hope before the break, but Donegal were well ahead, 3-5 to 0-4.
Boyle Carr opened the second-half scoring with a point and after Tiarna Grimes fired wide, Blaithin Mackin and Niamh McLaughlin traded points, before Armagh were again denied a goal when Blaithin Mackin saw her effort saved by the boot of Aoife McColgan.
While Armagh missed their chances, at the other end Donegal were taking theirs and they hit 1-3 in a two-minute spell to end any hopes Armagh may have had of getting back into the contest. The goal was a piece of magic from Geraldine McLaughlin after she intercepted an Armagh kickout and sent the ball straight back in over the head of the retreating goalkeeper.
Caroline O’Hanlon found the net at the end of third quarter and Aimee Mackin quickly added a point as Armagh kept plugging away. But yet again Geraldine McLaughlin caught the eye with a stunning finish from a tight angle as the goals continued to flow for Donegal.
Aimee Mackin and O’Hanlon completed Armagh’s scoring while Geraldine McLaughlin brought her tally to 2-4 as Donegal finished with 14 players with a late sin bin for Sinead McGinty. It was impressive from the champions.Tweet