Armagh captain proud of team-mates after Ulster final win over Donegal

Armagh captain Kelly Mallon (left) lifts the Ulster LGFA O'Harte cup with vice-captain Sarah Marley
Picture: Brendan Monaghan

Ulster Senior Ladies' Football Championship Final: Armagh 3-12 Donegal 3-11

ARMAGH captain Kelly Mallon says she could not put into words what winning the Ulster senior championship meant to her and her team-mates after their victory over Donegal on Saturday.

The Orchard County clinched their fifth provincial title and made it back-to-back ones under manager Ronan Murphy in a thrilling 3-12 to 3-11 encounter at Healy Park.

“I can’t put it into words. I am so, so proud of these girls. It was such a tough battle. Donegal fought with us right to the end. You are playing such a strong team in Donegal, you could sit back in numbers but we wanted to go after the game, because we are a really strong attacking team ourselves,” she said.

They had led by nine points with five minutes of the first half remaining but Donegal clawed that back and there was nothing between them at the second water break, 3-8 to 2-11. However, Armagh got three crucial scores after that and although a Geraldine McLaughlin goal levelled the game once again with eight minutes remaining, substitute Fionnuala McKenna hit the winning point six minutes from time and Armagh held out.

Mallon alluded to Donegal’s absence from the competition last year and how some might have perceived them not to be proper champions because of that.

“There was a lot of talk about the only reason why we won Ulster last year was because Donegal wasn’t in the competition. You can only beat who is in front of you at the end of the day it means the and the girls it means the world to get over the line with every team competing in the competition.”

Donegal manager Maxi Curran praised his side for fighting their way back into the game after being nine points down but could not hide his disappointment.

"It’s never easy losing in any shape or form. It was a really good effort by the girls to get back into the game having gone nine points down but ultimately we fell short at the end,” he said afterwards.

“We struggled to get our kick out away and that was one issue and we didn’t get enough scores on the board on the other side, or enough spread of scores and that was other thing, too much reliance on Geraldine [McLaughlin] to get the scores.”

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