Armagh beat Kerry for fifth successive win in Lidl Ladies’ NFL

Two late goals from Aimee Mackin sealed victory against the champions

Aimee Mackin has scored 6-38 in the seven games this season
Aimee Mackin scored two late goals as Armagh kept their 100 per cent record

ARMAGH sharp-shooter Aimee Mackin said the impact made by substitutes off the bench in each game has played a big part in their brilliant start to life back in the top flight of the Lidl National Football League.

Mackin scored two late goals to seal a 3-14 to 1-13 win over Kerry in a battle of the Division One and Division Two champions at the BOX-IT Athletic Grounds in Armagh.

“You can never win with just the 15 you have on the pitch, you’re looking for impact off the bench and our girls have been doing that since the first league game,’' said Mackin.

“The girls have been ready to go and have been doing that in training and have been pushing starting places, so whenever they’re called upon they’re ready, and they give energy to the girls that are on the field already.

“At the start of the second half they pressed pretty heavy on our kick-outs, and when you get that and you don’t win a few sometimes you can go into your shell a bit, but we had girls stood up when they needed to. Listen we’ll take the points but a lot to improve on still.”

A goal from Caroline O’Hanlon helped Armagh lead by double scores at 1-7 to 0-5 at the interval, before reigning league champions Kerry rallied after the restart.

A goal from Katie Brosnan helped them get back on level terms but while Kerry edged in front, it was Armagh who finished strongly with Aimee Mackin shooting two goals to maintain their perfect start to the season with a fifth win in succession for the side which won the Division Two title last year. They were good value for their 3-14 to 1-13 victory.

Kerry forward Niamh Ní Chonchúir said they would need to take the learnings from their first defeat of the season.

“We just have to regroup and get back to training, learn from the mistakes and why we didn’t push on when we got that lead towards the end. So just back to training, focus on our next game against Meath which will be a big game between the two of us.”

Galway got their first win of the campaign when they defeated Meath by 1-12 to 0-7 at Duggan Park in Ballinasloe.

Shauna Hynes, who finished with 1-5, found the net as Galway made the most of the elements in the opening half and led by 1-9 to 0-2 at the break.

Emma Duggan and Marion Farrelly led the Meath revival after the restart but they were unable to prevent a first loss of the campaign after three wins and a draw.

“Very much from the first game against Cork, we’ve got progressively better.  We were just unfortunate that we didn’t have the results to show for it.  But we’re delighted to get points on the board finally.  Hopefully, this is a stepping stone for us and we’ll start adding more points as we go along,” said Galway manager Daniel Moynihan.

“They were more clinical,” said Meath manager Shane McCormack. “Strong wind in the first half but that’s no excuse. They were set-up well and they just went from the start. They had more energy. It’s hard not to come out fighting, especially when you’re 10 points down. We did go for it. Happy enough with the first 10 or 15 minutes of the second half.”

Also on Sunday, Dublin made their trip to Fraher Field a winning one to leave Waterford sweating on top flight status ahead of the final two rounds of top-flight fixtures.

Hannah Tyrrell, not for the first time, landed a couple of late points to see off a brave Waterford side by 2-10 to 2-7 in Dungarvan. Dublin’s Orlath Nolan got a goal from a penalty to lead by 1-4 to 0-4 at the break, but Lauren McGregor slotted a Waterford penalty after the restart.

Dublin pulled clear when Niamh Hetherton got their second goal but a late goal from Waterford captain Kellyann Hogan set up an exciting finish but Tyrrell sealed the win with two late points.

“That was a massive scare,” said Dublin selector Frankie Roebuck. “We thought we had the game put away. A quick goal from Kellyann brought it back to a dogfight again. We had to win two balls from their kickouts and we won them in the middle and we got two chances. We knew coming down here, after Waterford absolutely outplayed Cork in the first half, that they were going to be no pushover. They are a team on the rise, we are well aware of that.”

Waterford manager Pat Sullivan lamented a host of missed chances. “I wouldn’t say disappointed more disgusted at the chances we left behind. We really dominated this game. We’ll look at the possession and we’ll look at the stats tomorrow when we sit down. I know for a fact that we’re miles ahead on every angle. The vital thing was raising that green flag. We should have raised another two if not three. We just didn’t finish, that was our Achilles heel.”

On Saturday, Cork’s relegation troubles increased when they went down by 0-9 to 0-7 in a game which went ahead on the 4G pitch at SuperValu Páirc Ui Chaoimh after the scheduled Mallow venue was declared unplayable.

The sides were deadlocked at 0-5 apiece at the break and Mayo could even afford to miss a penalty in the second half and survive to claim an invaluable victory for Liam McHale’s side in his first term in charge.

“It’s a very difficult league, it’s getting like the men’s league now in the last few years,” said McHale. “Once a couple of teams were dominating. That’s not the case anymore. I think we’ve we had eight players around the 18/19/20-year-old mark there today. So great experiences for them and I think we’re safe now and we can breathe and play some more expansive football in our final two games.”

Cork manager Shane Ronayne said they had played much better than against Waterford but didn’t do enough when they had the wind. “Very disappointed with result, not so much with the performance. We had worked hard since the loss to Waterford. Again, we were very poor that day. We tried a new system which worked very well today, but we probably should have pushed out more with the wind in the second half. Again it’s a learning curve for them.”