Derry eclipse Armagh late on to retain All-Ireland U14 Gold title

June 08, 2024

Action from the 2024 All-Ireland U14 Gold final between Armagh and Derry at BOX-IT Athletic Grounds in Armagh. Photo by Tyler Miller/Sportsfile

Derry 2-12 
Armagh 2-10 

by Shaun Casey 

Derry retained their All-Ireland U14 Gold title with a two-point win over Armagh at the BOX-IT Athletic Grounds when a late goal from sharpshooter Cara Bennett secured the crown. 

It was a game of two halves, with Derry building up a huge half time lead of nine points, but Armagh battled back bravely in the second half and looked to have done enough in the last couple of minutes. 

But Bennett, who essentially had a shootout with Armagh’s ace attacker Abigail McMahon, launched a high ball in with the last attack of the game and the ball ended up in the back of the net. 

Saorla Quinn got the reigning champions off the mark and Derry doubled up their advantage with a free from Bennett. Armagh made the most of their limited first half attacks as captain McMahon swung over two scores (one free), to level the game after 12 minutes. 

The remainder of the half belonged to Derry, and they fired off 1-6 on the trot to claim a nine-point half time lead. Cassie Conway and Caoimhe Roche chipped in with points, while Bennett rattled off 1-4 to see her side ahead 1-8 to 0-2 at the break. 

Armagh rallied after the turnaround and McMahon kicked off their revival with two scores in as many minutes before Aoife McConville, Armagh’s second scorer of the day, made it a six-point game. 

Bennett swept over another free to continue her excellent form in front of the posts, but Armagh came roaring back into contention with a fine goal from full forward Emma Toale. 

McMahon exchanged pointed efforts with Derry midfielder Cliodhna Moore before the Clann Eireann sharpshooter fired off 1-3 in a spell where Armagh hit 1-5, with Caitlin Sheridan and Brianna Magee also getting in on the scoring act. 

That gave Armagh the lead for the very first time but Derry were still in contention as Bennett knocked over her first point from open play to make it a one-point game with time almost up. 

Bennett then produced the game winning score in the dying seconds and although Armagh won the kickout, they didn’t have enough time to reply at the other end. 

Scorers: Derry: C Bennett 2-8 (0-6f), C Conway 0-1, C Moore 0-1, C Roche 0-1, S Quinn 0-1. 

Armagh: A McMahon 1-7 (0-4f), E Toale 1-0, B Magee 0-1, A McConville 0-1, C Sheridan 0-1. 

Derry: K Pachuta; K Birt, M Cleary, A McNally; E McVey, C Conway, F Kerr; C Moore, E Forbes; F Callaghan, S Quinn, G Doherty; A Musgrave, C Bennett, R Gribbin. Rolling subs: C Roche, E Rafferty, M Gray, C Quinn. Subs used: C Roche, E Rafferty, M Gray, C Quinn, C McPeake, I Tohill. 

Armagh: C Havern; T Crangle, A McCague, M Creaney; C Brennan, O Reynolds, N McKenna; B Magee, M McGurgan; A McConville, K Taylor, G Marsden; C O’Hanlon, E Toale, A McMahon. Subs used: C Sheridan, R Little, N Doherty, G Gallagher, A McDonnell, E McParland, L McLoughlin. 

Referee: Ciara Gilroy (Down). 

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