Easy for Armagh

Mayo’s LGFA Championship campaign for this year came to an end at the hands of Armagh in this evening’s All-Ireland quarter-final at the Athletic Grounds. The home side were always in charge in a match in which they never trailed and which they won comfortably by 2-11 to 0-11.

The timing for this game, where throw-in was shortly before six on a Sunday evening, was little short of ridiculous. But what was worse, from this colour-blind perspective, was the clash of playing strips. It appears that the LGFA is as clueless as the GAA is on this score, a sad state of affairs. Inclusivity, how are you?

We were under pressure in this game right from the off. Although both teams struggled to gain a toe-hold in a cautious opening five minutes, once that bout of initial sparring was done with the home team began to assert control.

Aoife McCoy opened the scoring for the Orchard County and within a minute Eve Lavery, from a free, had doubled their lead. Our opening score came from Lucy Wallace, whose effort glanced off the left upright on its way over the bar.

Armagh’s next move yielded major returns for them. A fast-running attack saw the ball played to the in-rushing Blaithín Mackin and she crashed it to the net. The same player followed up with a free soon after to stretch the gap between the teams to five points.

Aoife Geraghty, finding the range from distance, and Niamh Hnderson then traded scores. We had plenty of the ball after that but Armagh, sitting deep, protected the D with diligence, forcing our attacks out to the wings, which ended up with plenty of recycling as we probed for an opening.

Eventually Aoife Geraghty let fly from distance, to cut the gap to four. Immediately, though, they raced down the other end, this attack cutting right into the heart of our defence where Eve Lavery drove it over from a central position.

The same player had the final say of the opening half, her converted free sending the Orchard County in at the break six points to the good.

We needed a positive start to the second half but a point for them from Lauren McConville in the first attacking move on the resumption made our task even harder. Five minutes had passed in the second half before Lisa Cafferky fed Annie Gough who hooked it over.

Armagh, however, struck the fatal blow a few minutes later. Their hand-passing was slick, their movement rapid and they cut our backline open, with Aoife McCoy evading the out-rushing Laura Brennan and calmly slotting it to the net.

Now brimming with confidence, Armagh’s next move combined a long ball in, a neat lay-off by Aoife McCoy and a smart finish for the point by Niamh Henderson.

Points from Lisa Cafferky and Maria Cannon (a free) reduced the deficit. A nice score from play from Lisa Cafferky, after Danielle Caldwell had won a restart unchallenged, was responded to by way of a Blaithín Mackin free.

Aoife Geraghty charged forward but was brought to earth before getting close to the danger zone. Maria Cannon popped over the resultant free.

We continued to battle away but found it difficult to create decent scoring chances. Our shooting was on the wayward side too, in contrast to them for whom Niamh Reel skipped clear of the cover and clipped it neatly over off her left.

Blaithín Mackin – who really stepped up in this game, in the absence of her sister Aimee, sadly sidelined for a second time with a cruciate injury – then strolled through the middle and stroked the ball over. Lisa Cafferky kept up the fight for us, though, responding in kind at the other end.

As the hooter approached, Aoife Staunton added her name to the scoresheet as we continued to press forward. Another Maria Cannon free followed, as we cut the gap to six.

We then lost Aoife Staunton to a yellow and bright evening sunshine bathed the Athletic Grounds as the home team closed out a comfortable win to set up a semi-final meeting against Kerry in a fortnight’s time.

For us, today’s defeat marks the end of the line for this year. With a large turnover in playing personnel, it was always going to be difficult for Liam McHale to make positive progress this year. While the retention of top tier status in the National League was a tangible result, three defeats from four Championship outings tells its own story. Here’s to a brighter future for them in 2025.

Mayo: Laura Brennan; Saoirse Lally, Nicola O’Malley, Kathryn Sullivan; Éilís Ronayne, Ciara Durkan, Danielle Caldwell; Aoife Geraghty (0-2), Erin Murray; Lucy Wallace (0-1), Annie Gough (0-1), Sinéad Cafferky; Sinéad Walsh, Maria Cannon (0-3, frees), Lisa Cafferky (0-3). Subs: Aoife Staunton (0-1) for Murray, Fionnuala McLaughlin for Sullivan, Fiona McHale for Gough, Ciara Needham for Durkan, Maria Reilly for Sinéad Cafferky.

12 thoughts on “Easy for Armagh

  1. Poor enough performance from mayo, not enough line breakers and seem to badly struggle when teams play anyway defensive can’t break through them, probably needed 3 or 4 aoife geraghtys on the pitch she looked to have the ability to kick scores and break the line and win frees.

  2. Final Whistle pod, where we discuss this evening’s LGFA loss to Armagh, is up now on Patreon. Mike and I are joined by Sinéad Stagg on it.

  3. To be sure, another tough watch today from a Mayo perspective with similar echoes of their male counterparts in terms of their difficulty in dealing with massed defences. Still you couldn’t fault the effort. Have we any team left in competition at this stage?

  4. Seamus – as Sinéad Stagg points out on the Final Whistle pod, we have the girls U16 footballers who contest the All-Ireland A final against Cavan next Saturday. It’s on at Duggan Park in Ballinasloe at 2pm that day.

  5. I don’t know what Liam’s philosophy was for the men’s team but I hope it wasn’t what we saw in the ladies game today. Our forwards looked afraid to shoot and painfully slow buildup.

  6. Disappointing performance and result Never looked like winning Armagh sat back and let us attack with little impact .They hit us with ease on the counter. A bit like the men’s team if I am honest

  7. Nephin. I was thinking exactly the same. It was really poor today. We gave the ball away so many times with misplaced hand passes

  8. Overall, a strange squad selection and, without coming across as being an asshole and beating down on the players after a defeat, but there are a few girls in that squad that are not intercounty standard. Glitzy, glamour names do not necessarily make for an excellent management team and, like our mens side, that is becoming a regular failing in the selection of the Ladies management. The last two managers of our Senior Ladies side have had zero experience of Ladies football, at any adult level. The coaches and some of the backroom team that have been in with the last two managers are, in my opinion, using the Ladies set-up as a stepping stone into the mens intercounty game. Former intercounty players looking to start out their coaching/managerial careers regularly get into the Mayo Ladies set-up on name alone, and not on the grounds of a successful body of work at club level. That is doing a dis-service to the Ladies because the best candidate is not always getting the job. The name, and not the CV, is getting the job.
    This is not a dig at the players, in fact it is in support of the players, where I honestly feel they are let down by their county board. The saga in the last managerial selection process, added to the poor handling of the club competitions and fixtures (last years Senior championship being a case in point as the fixture listing was a disgrace) points to a county board out of their depth and seriously lacking leadership from the Chairman.
    That’s for another day I suppose. You cannot question the committment or honesty of the girls who give their all (every bit as much as the men) and park their lives to play for Mayo. In fact, for women in their mid to late 20’s it is a much bigger deal putting their lives on hold as it is for the men as they do not get the compensation or the support that their male counterparts do.

  9. Disappointed with yesterday , feel more in that panel of players , didn’t seem to have any plan , we have reached last 3 semi’s beating good teams like cork and Galway. Armagh missing two of their best players was prob the best draw we could have hoped for but fell well short. Interested in pebblemeller comment as he regularly tweets and comments on ladies team and management . Your statement on last two managers not having any experience in ladies football, did you check this before you post these things . For example On Moyles appointment it was well documented he head coach for mayo ladies in 2015 under manager Peter Clarke , also seen an interview with Aileen Gilroy when he was appointed who said Moyles had managed / coached herself and Kathryn sulllivan in IT sligo O Connor cup team for few years so she knew him. Also highlighted he regularly works with ladies teams in the schools in his profession as a teacher . So that statement holds no water , I’m not sure about Liam McHale , maybe you have a point there but Kenneth Mortimer involved as is his daughter so am sure he knows enough about the game. If there are people in the county over club teams strong enough them name them
    Or when interview process comes they should have course be given a fair chance but Just because you exclusively train ladies team does not mean you are at an advantage. Also success at club level doesn’t always transfer to county as our neighbours in sligo can testify too. If people are using it as a stepping stone they are soon found out as players are no fools. Hopefully some new additions to back room team will help the situation you highlight to give more balance as I do agree there is importance in kickouts / press / tackle or lack of that are very different to men’s game.

  10. Can’t see any of Liams initial plans for fast attacking football.
    Hope things improve but next time go for a selection of local Ladies club coaches.
    Lots of experience and knowledge in the club scene

  11. PMac,
    My point about former intercounty players using their name to get them positions in the Ladies set-up as a stepping stone to the mens intercounty stands. Kenneth Mortimor, Ger Cafferkey, Peadar Gardiner to name a few all were in the Senior Ladies set up (not to mention at least one other senior inter county player who was named on a previous managers backroom team but never turned up to a single training session! It was handy having his name on the ticket though). The 3 lads mentioned above are all involved in either the lads Minors or U20s now, and one of them didn’t even see out his single year in the Ladies set-up.
    Now, don’t get me wrong, those lads were outstanding players and I am not for one minute saying they can’t manage, but, there is a huge diffference between coaching Ladies and Mens. They are two different sports. Having being involved in both codes (the Ladies for over 12 years, from underage to Senior) I would strongly disagree with your point that “because you exclusively train ladies team does not mean you are at an advantage”. Unless you have trained a Ladies team you will not realise that the physical demands of the Ladies game is very different to the Mens. The distances covered in both running and movement of the ball, and the pace of the game is very different. The hits obviously aren’t as hard because the body mass is lighter by anywhere between 30kg to 40kg but the impacts can more damaging. Concussions and ACL injuries are far more prevalent in Ladies than Mens and all those things need to be taken into consideration when planning training, loading etc. The psycological aspect of a Ladies team is also very different too and you have to be careful how you handle all that. So, having trained a Ladies teams certainly does put you at an advantage.
    I do agree that success at club does not necessarily automatically mean success at county, but, there’s no way you are going to go into a county set up and run it successfully without having experience of doing it at club. The players will know. Bearing in mind that you will be dealing with 30 of the best players in the county as opposed to, maybe, 4 or 5 good players alone in a club.
    As for the selection process for managers? I had the misfortune of attending Mayo LGFA county board meeetings for over 10 years, including sitting through all the Carnacon and Peter O’Leary sagas. Any interest I had of putting my name forward for a managers job ended when I knew the organisation I had to work with, and, some of the individuals too. I actually had better supports around me from my club and that’s why I stayed there. We won league, county, Connaught and lost by a point in an All Ireland final, so I can’t complain. In fact, a member of my backroom team from that All Ireland run applied for the Mayo job, didn’t even get an interview, ended up getting brought into the successful candidates backroom team (as the only female in the backroom team of a Ladies squad!!) but ended up stepping back because she was given zero input, responsibility, selection authority or backing by the manager. She was in effect a box ticked.
    So, things always look different from the outside. My argument is that we should be far more competitive in the All Ireland series given the players at our disposal and the strength and standard of the clubs within the county, where you have 3 or 4 teams that can win the Senior title and 3 or 4 at Intermediate. Glitzy, glamour names will not change that.

  12. Thanks for the detailed reply pebblemellers , I’ll not go into my cv as a coach but debate is good as long as it’s factual , you are entitled to your opinion but a lot of comments are just way off the mark and hearsay , you seemed to ignore my whole reason in correcting you , your statement “ . The last two managers of our Senior Ladies side have had zero experience of Ladies football, at any adult level. “ which was incorrect and not acknowledged by you , I feel as a regular poster maybe a bit of research would not go astray , as lots of credibility in others things you are saying are lost. As for the glitzy names you mentioned., Liams backroom team he seems to doing the coaching himself going by his interviews and as far as I’m aware it’s Kenny Mort and a swinford LGFA clubman and Padraic H who was involved with kilmoremoy . Only 2 candidates went for the job and there was a spilt decision so not sure how this is county boards fault or how it’s was given for glitzy names … In previous management Peadar Gardiner was brought in from the u-20 set up when finished , does this mean going by your logic he used the u-20 men’s county team as. Stepping stone to ladies seniors ? Ger Cafferky was involved in analysising opposing teams in his first year and brought in as a coach the next two so served a year detailing teams set ups …two young intelligent energic coaches why wouldn’t you get them
    Involved if possible …. of course people move on that’s life but you cannot vaguely say they use ladies to promote themselves because it suits your agenda.
    If anything ladies football is given very little respect in the men’s game. Look at Mick Bohan , I would feel he would be hold enough for a men’s team but he doesn’t seem to get the opportunities , as you conclude things look different from the outside and that’s where we both are , maybe players want managers with experience of working at inter county level as a player or as a coach , it is a massive commitment and is a lot different to clubs . I fully agree we should be more competitive and we have a strong club scene with good underage players starting to come through .As mentioned on the podcast with Mike we have lost a lot of players over last 3/4 years to awfl but were still very competitive, this year however seemed a step back … maybe there will Be a change this year ? After review from players and county board who knows … finally the very best to the u-16 ladies in their upcoming all Ireland final, hopefully they can beat Cavan , they had a good win against them in a challenge game earlier this summer so hopefully they can repeat the dose on Thursday .

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