Emma Duggan in action for Meath against Armagh Photo: Gerry Shanahan www.cyberimages.net

Much improved Meath just fall short in All Ireland opener

Armagh just got the better of Shane McCormacks side

Armagh 3-9

Meath 1-14

Meath were unfortunate to come away from their opening All-Ireland series clash with Armagh empty-handed. The Royals performed much better than expected and really on the day deserved at least a point from the contest. However, an injury-time goal from Armagh midfielder, Niamh Coleman, secured the Orchard County the victory and Meath will now have to defeat Tipperary to progress to the All-Ireland quarter-final.

Despite getting off to a slow start, Meath battled well to go in at half-time level. In the second-half, Meath played very fluently and took the game to a sharp Armagh side. Missed goal chances in particular one for Meadhbh Byrne, proved to be vital and Armagh hung on for a slender victory

Meath played with a slight wind advantage in the first-half. Late change, Eve Lavery got Armagh’s tally underway early on. Meath saw three good chances come and go before eventually Emma Duggan tapped over a short-range free to level up proceedings after five minutes.

Armagh responded straight away and with venom. Aoife McCoy broke through the Meath defence and linked up brilliantly with Laurne McConville and Niamh Henderson before nearly bursting the back of the Meath net.

Ciara Smyth got her tally underway before Duggan and Lavery traded scores. Megan Thynne popped one over to reduce the gap back to one after 15 minutes.

Duggan and Kelly Mallon got a free apiece. Despite a slowish start Meath had started to take the game to Armagh. Ciara Smyth levelled the match up for a short period before Lavery once again edged Armagh in front.

A Duggan free levelled the affair and the sides went in at half-time all square, Armagh 1-4 Meath 0-7.

Meath got off to a flying start in the second half. Meadhbh Byrne had only Anna Carr to beat after the Royals opened up Armaghs defence. Carr pulled off a good save however the ball found its way to Sarah Wall who tapped over to edge Meath in front for the first time.

Armagh responded immediately with a free courtesy of Kelly Mallon. That was followed by another Lavery free which gave Armagh the lead once more. Blathin Mackin got a tidy score to give Armagh a two-point lead with 20 minutes left in the contest before Lavery got her fifth score to widen the gap to three.

Aoibhin Cleary and Gallogly tested Carr out with shots on goal but the Armagh keeper did well to get in the way of both shots. Cleary then had a massive few minutes. Firstly the Ashbourne midfielder got a great score from distance. Cleary then got on the end of a Smyth shot which fell short and palmed It to the back of the net to give Meath a two-point lead.

Duggan also had a chance for a goal but she opted to tap the ball over for a point to put Meath up by three.

Armagh needed to respond and they certainly did. The Orchard County broke through the Meath defence and Aoife McCoy got on the end of the attack and finished the ball to net for her second goal.

Armagh were dealt a blow when midfielder Blaithin Mackin was shown a yellow card. Dearbhla Coleman and Emma Duggan traded scores before a crucial moment in the match right at the death.

Armagh won a free from a fair distance out and Kelly Mallon decided to drop the ball in on top of the Meath square. Just as the clock hit 60 minutes, Niamh Coleman got her hand to the ball and it deflected into the back of the Meath net

Meath attempted to respond in injury time, Meadhbh Byrne added a point. Armagh still held a two-point lead though and Meath had to go in search of a goal. They won a free deep in Armagh territory. Duggan stepped up and blasted the ball in the direction of the Armagh net. Kepper Anna Carr managed to get a hand to it and knock it over.


Meath – Emma Duggan 0-8 four frees; Aoibhin Cleary 1-1; Ciara Smyth 0-2; Sarah Wall 0-1; Meadhbh Byrne 0-1; Megan Thynne 0-1;

Armagh – Aoife McCoy 2-0; Eve Lavery 0-5 three frees; Kelly Mallon 0-2 two frees; Niamh Coleman 1-0; Blaithin Mackin 0-1; Dearbhla Coleman 0-1;

Meath – Monica McGuirk; Sarah Wall, Mary Kate Lynch, Nicole Troy; Niamh Gallogly, Kerrie Cole, Katie Newe; Maire O’Shaughnessy, Aoibhin Cleary; Megan Thynne, Shelly Melia, Ciara Smyth; Meadhbh Byrne, Marion Farrelly, Emma Duggan. Subs – Lisa Young for Smyth 53m, Seona Lynch for Cole 59m.

Armagh – Anna Carr; Grace Ferguson, Clodagh McCambridge, Roisin Mulligan; Cait Towe, Lauren McConville, Dearbhla Coleman; Niamh Coleman, Blaithin Mackin; Emily Druse, Aoife McCoy, Sarah Quigley; Eve Lavery, Niamh Henderson, Kelly Mallon. Subs – Niamh Reel for Lavery 50m, Meabh McCambridge for Quigley 50m, Megan McCann for Druse 60m.