Two goals in the space of a couple of minutes at the end of the third quarter proved decisive as Armagh confirmed their superiority over Roscommon to claim the Irish Daily Star National League Division 3 title with a 3-11 to 2-9 win.
By Daragh Ó Conchúir | Picture Credit: ©INPHO/James Crombie
The victors had four points in hand when the sides met in the group stages and a competitive renewal was expected.
Just as in the semi-final defeat of Dublin though, when they scored 1-13 between them, it was the tag team of Ciara Donnelly and Colette McSorley that made the key contributions.
Donnelly, who is joint captain with Grainne Kelly, registered 1-6 on this occasion and was named player of the match, as she was involved heavily in general play as well as a scorer. Meanwhile, McSorley provided 1-3 and with a strong supporting cast, Armagh were deserving winners.
The early exchanges were fierce and though Donnelly had Armagh ahead early, Roscommon got their noses in front via Niamh Coyle’s goal and a point from the excellent Kelley Hopkins.
The Rossies ran hard at Armagh but found goalkeeper Ciarrai Devlin in determined form when they did get through the defensive unit.
Bernie Murray began to exert her influence around the middle and points followed from Donnelly and the eye-catching Rachel Merry, as the team managed by Jim McCormack and Paddy McArdle edged ahead once more.
Armagh struck a telling blow just before the interval, at a time when they led by just the minimum. Donnelly’s free hit the post but McSorley was alert to gather possession and rattle the Roscommon net, leaving it 1-7 to 1-3 at the break.
Hopkins raised a couple of white flags after the resumption but Donnelly buried Roscommon with two major plays, first by setting up Siobhán McArdle for a goal, and then, soon after, finishing clinically after a strong run.
There was no way back for Roscommon after that though Caroline Dowling and Elaine Daly were amongst those battling valiantly.
Annette McGeeney reduced the deficit with a goal to offer some hope with 10 minutes remaining but there was no way back despite their gritty efforts.
ROSCOMMON: K Hopkins 0-6; N Coyle 1-1; A McGeeney 1-0; S Spillane, R Brennan 0-1 each
ARMAGH: C Donnelly 1-6; C McSorley 1-3; S McArdle 1-0; R Merry 0-2
ROSCOMMON: C Connaughton, A Fallon, S Coyle, P Lennon, S Spillane, E Daly, J Beattie, C Dowling, N Watson, N Coyle, R Brennan, K Hopkins, A McGeeney, S O’Brien, C Curley. Subs: A Rogerson for O’Brien, C Morris for N Coyle
ARMAGH: C Devilin, H McGeown, N Conway, C McKinley, S Woods, G Kelly, E Hays, B Murray, A McAlinden, N Markey, S Molloy, C Donnelly, S McArdle, C McSorley, R Merry. Subs: L Donnelly for Molloy, L McGoldrick for Markey
REFEREE: A Doheny (Laois)