Laois’ quest for All-Ireland glory came to a shuddering halt on Saturday afternoon, as they were well beaten by Armagh in Tullamore.
All-Ireland Ladies Football Quarter-Final
At half-time, this game was over as a contest, with wind-assisted Armagh 3-7 to 0-2 clear. The quality of Armagh’s kick-passing to their inside forwards was sensational and Caroline O’Hanlon was at the heart of most of it.
Caroline O’Hanlon netted the opening goal of the game with just a minute and four seconds on the watch, taking a pass from Fionnuala McKenna before cracking home a sensational effort.
Laois didn’t score until the 18th minute, when Dunne kicked a fine points from play, but they were eight points behind at that stage.
And the Laois misery continued when Mags McAlinden scored the first of her two goals in the 20th minute.
Two minutes later, Lauren McConville registered Armagh’s third goal and the winners were content to keep the scoreboard ticking over in the second half. Armagh’s fourth goal arrived in the 43rd minute, when O’Hanlon played a one-two with Kelly Mallon before finishing well.
And Armagh’s fifth and final goal summed up a miserable day for Laois as the ball rebounded off McAlinden and trickled over the line, after goalkeeper Ciamh Dollard had pulled off a good save to deny the corner forward at the first attempt.
The scoreline could have been much worse from a Laois perspective but Dollard pulled off a couple of fine saves.
And Armagh suffered a late injury blow when impressive corner back Mairead Tennyson went off injured, leaving the Ulster side to play out the final couple of minutes with 14 players.
Laois had bounced back from their Leinster final mauling against Dublin with an encouraging qualifier win over last year’s TG4 All-Ireland intermediate champions Cavan.
But despite battling performances from Dollard, Clodagh Dunne, Meagan Dunne and Martina Dunne, this was a day to forget for Laois.
SCORERS - Armagh: C O’Hanlon 2-6 (0-3f), M McAlinden 2-0, L McConville 1-2, F McKenna (1f), K Mallon & S Feeney 0-2 each, N Henderson, S McCleary & A McCoy 0-1 each. Laois: Martina Dunne 0-6 (3f), Meagan Dunne, T Lawlor & M Kirwan 0-1 each.
ARMAGH: K Daly; M Tennyson, C Morgan, L Kenny; S Reel, N Marley, R O’Reilly; N Henderson, C O’Hanlon; S McCleary, F McKenna, A McCoy; L McConville, K Mallon, M McAlinden. Subs: S Grey for Henderson (30), S Feeney for McConville (38), S Mackle for McKenna (42), E Lavey for Mallon (45), C Duffy for Reel (52).
LAOIS: C Dollard; C Dunne, G Dunne, M Young; M Murphy, F Dooley, Meagan Dunne; A Moore, T Lawlor; M Kirwan, Martina Dunne, E McVey; R Williams, LM Maher, J Dunne. Subs: N Kirwan for Williams (36), R Phelan for Young (36), A Keogh for J Dunne (39), L Nurney for Dooley (51).
Referee: G Chapman (Sligo)