Ladies: Armagh advance to last eight clash with Kerry
29 July 2017
Donegal's Niamh McLaughlin with Aimee Mackin of Armagh.
By Jackie Cahill
Armagh will face Munster champions Kerry in the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies SFC quarter-finals – after surviving a massive scare from Leinster runners-up Westmeath on Saturday.
Armagh held on for a two-point victory in a tense and high-scoring encounter at home of the Lannleire club in Louth.
The Orchard County got off to a cracking start when Caroline O’Hanlon netted a penalty, before the brilliant Aimee Mackin raised a green flag to open up a 2-3 to 0-3 lead.
Westmeath captain Laura Lee Walsh responded with a goal for the Lake County and when Ciara Blundell scored their second, it was very much game on.
At half-time, Armagh led by 2-9 to 2-7 and there was more drama to come in the second period.
O’Hanlon scored a quite stunning goal to hand Armagh an early boost, fielding on the 45-yard line before launching the ball into the net from distance.
But Westmeath wouldn’t lie down and they hit back with a goal of their own – Kelly Boyce Jordan on target.
Midway through the second half, Armagh led by 3-12 to 3-8 and they suffered a real blow when Marian McGuinness was sin-binned, while Aine Mackin had a goal ruled out.
A superb Aimee Mackin score did steady Armagh, and had them 3-15 to 3-9 in front, but Westmeath were back in it when Leona Archibold netted a penalty.
In stoppage time, Armagh were just two points clear, and playing with 14, but star forward Mackin moved the winners into a three-point advantage.
There was still time for Maud Annie Foley to bring Westmeath to within two points – but Armagh held out for a spot in the last eight of the championship.