Armagh ladies add seventh win to the All-Ireland roll of honour

Armagh players and zone convenor Jal Richrdson following trophy success.
Armagh players and zone convenor Jal Richrdson following trophy success.

Armagh captured a seventh McIlroy Cup in the ladies’ history thanks to weekend success by 64-48 over defending Inter-Zone Championship champions Donegal.

The Orchard County players entered a fifth final appearance in six years on Saturday in search of another All-Ireland honour.

Armagh enjoyed a superb start to hold a lead of 18-4 by four ends - a position of strength the ladies managed to maintain until the close of play.

On mat one, Zoe Minish, Michelle Wright, Ann Patton and Rachel Cassells eased clear by 9-0 by four ends towards a 14-5 success.

Eileen Trainor, Rosemary Beattie, May Cassells and Daphne Marshall held a narrow 3-1 advantage before posting an additional shot across the next six ends.

Donegal finished in front by 12-4 thanks to a count of six.

Ann Crozier, Hilary Agnew, Elizabeth Smyth and Irene Doone moved into a 14-5 lead - with Armagh dropping a single shot across just six ends from a 6-3 lead.

It was 32-22 to Armagh by the break.

Laura Cassells, Flo McNally, Linda Milligan and Pauline Beattie featured in a tight tussle before Donegal edged home by 8-6.

Agnew Crozier, Jean Hawthorne, Leslie Strain and Irene Douglas finished up by 12-5 thanks to a controlled display.

Christina Breen, Eilieen McDonald, Sadie White and Lisa Douglas pushed into a commanding 13-1 position after five ends towards the 14-12 final tally.

Victory was achieved thanks to a group effort.

“All-in-all it was very solid,” said Armagh Zone convenor Jal Richardson. “It was a great performance.

“We got off to a really solid start and that really set the tone.

“Credit to all the players, they knew what was required against a good Donegal side, who were determined to hold on to their crown.

“Our players dug in and once we built up a decent lead at the interval, they had what it takes to hold on to it.

“It’s the zone’s seventh McIlroy Cup win, but the first for me as convener, so I’m thrilled.”