Ulster Ladies Football: Five-goal Donegal sweep to Ulster title

Donegal captain Karen Guthrie
Captain Karen Guthrie contributed four points to the Donegal tally

Another Ulster final, another goal-fest by Donegal, who coasted to a three-in-a-row of Ulster senior football titles with a 15-point win over Armagh.

Donegal put nine goals past Armagh in last year's final and they were impressive winners again as they cruised to a 5-12 to 1-9 win in Clones.

Geraldine McLaughlin scored 2-4 while Niamh McLaughlin (2-2) and Amy Boyle Carr (1-2) also found the net.

Caroline O'Hanlon got a consolation goal for Armagh in the second half.

The Ulster champions will advance to the group stages of the All-Ireland series alongside Tyrone and either Galway or Mayo while Armagh will hope to rebuild their championship campaign from the same group as Cavan and a Munster finalist.

Champions spring a surprise

Donegal had a rebuilding job to do over the winter, after losing seven of last year's starting team, and manager Maxi Curran sprung a big surprise with Niamh McLaughlin - who hadn't played with the county since 2016 due to commitments with Sunderland ladies soccer team - a late inclusion.

She came up with 2-2 from play in a forward unit that caused massive problems for Armagh.

Two poor kickouts by Orchard goalkeeper Caroline O'Hare in the opening minutes created self-inflicted wounds that Armagh could not recover from.

Niamh McLaughlin
Sunderland and Ireland forward Niamh McLaughlin was a surprise inclusion in the Donegal team

The first led to Amy Boyle Carr's opening goal in the third minute and, less than 20 seconds later, another poor kickout went straight to Niamh McLaughlin who finished low past O'Hare's outstretched right hand.

McLaughlin added her second goal in the 17th minute, gathering a precise 30-metre pass by Geraldine McLaughlin to bury the ball into the net for Donegal's third.

Armagh, who sat deep with a cautious set-up even after the early goals, failed to score from play until the 21st minute through Aimee Mackin and they trailed 3-5 to 0-4 at half time.

Armagh were much improved in the third quarter but could not turn their possession into scores. Tiarna Grimes was unmarked at the back post with the goal gaping but her shot trickled wide and then Aimee Mackin's goal-bound shot was saved on the line.

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'This is the sweetest one' - Geraldine McLaughlin reflects on Donegal's win over Armagh

Donegal were much more clinical with their chances and soaked up the Armagh pressure before breaking downfield to score 1-3 in a two-minute spell.

Geraldine McLaughlin chipped the goalkeeper with a spectacular finish from distance and later hit a fierce shot that flew into the roof of the net to showcase Donegal's firepower.

Armagh talisman Caroline O'Hanlon responded to the onslaught with a great finish on the run after 44 minutes, but Donegal were able to play out the final in style to ease to a fourth Ulster title in five years.

Saffrons rally to Junior crown

In the opening match at St Tiernach's Park, Antrim came from six points down to win the Ulster Ladies Junior title for the first time since 2016, defeating Fermanagh by 0-18 to 2-9.

The Saffrons took the lead for the first time four minutes from the end, having produced a storming second-half comeback.

Midfielder Lara Dahunsi was hugely influential with four points from play in the second period while Cathy Carey top-scored with 0-7, including six from placed balls.

A goal after nine seconds from star forward Eimear Smyth and another in the 28th minute by captain Joanne Doonan gave Fermanagh a 2-6 to 0-7 interval lead.

Antrim didn't score from play until Niamh Enright's 22nd minute point, but they were a team transformed after the break.

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'Unreal, unreal, unreal' - Antrim capture Ulster Ladies Junior crown

Danielle Maguire did push Fermanagh into a six-point lead immediately after the restart but Antrim lorded possession in the second half and scored six of the next seven points.

Erne sub Blaithin Bogue scored a point of real leadership when Antrim first drew level but Doonan spurned a great goal chance which would have eased the pressure on Fermanagh - who had beaten Antrim in all three of their previous meetings this year.

Antrim finished strongly with Dahunsi pivotal as Mairead Cooper pointed them ahead for the first time in the 56th minute and Carey completed the job with two late frees to send Antrim marching on to the All-Ireland series.

Despite their second-half collapse, Fermanagh will also harbour ambitions of making it to Croke Park in September via the back door.

Teams and scorers

Ulster Ladies SFC Final - Armagh 1-9 Donegal 5-12

Armagh: C O'Hare; S Marley, C Morgan, R O'Reilly; C McKenna, C McCambridge, T Grimes; N Coleman, C O'Hanlon (1-3, 2f); M Moriarty, A McCoy, K Mallon (0-1, f); A Donaldson, B Mackin (0-1), A Mackin (0-3)

Subs: M Sheridan (0-1) for O'Reilly (22), N Marley for McKenna (36), N Reel for McCoy (48)

Donegal: A McColgan; T Doherty, E Gallagher, N McLaughlin; N Carr, N Boyle, M Regan; K Herron, E McGinley; K Guthrie (0-4, 3f), K Keaney, A Boyle Carr (1-2); N McLaughlin (2-2), G McLaughlin (2-4, 1f), S McGroddy

Subs: A McGlynn for McGroddy (48), S McLaughlin for Ryan (52), K McKinney for Boyle (55), S McGinty for Boyle Carr (55), A Flanagan for Carr (56)

Referee: Yvonne Duffy (Cavan)

Ulster Ladies JFC Final - Antrim 0-18 Fermanagh 2-9

Antrim: A McCann; N Killen, M Hanna, O Corr (0-1); K Farren, A McFarland, S Tennyson; E Kelly, L Dahunsi (0-4); C Taggart (0-2), A Tubridy, S Haughey; M Cooper (0-2, 1f), N Enright (0-2), C Carey (0-7, 6f)

Subs: E Magee for Cooper (30), M Cooper for Taggart (52)

Fermanagh: R Gleeson; A Maguire, E Murphy, M Flynn; M McGloin (0-1), C Murphy, S McQuaid; R O'Reilly, A Flanagan; J Doonan (1-2), N Connolly (0-1), D Maguire (0-1); L Maguire, E Smyth (1-3, 2f), A O'Brien

Subs: D McManus for O'Brien (HT), A McGovern for Flynn (38), B Bogue (0-1) for L Maguire (42), A Woods for D Maguire (46), S Courtney for Connolly (58)

Referee: Siobhan Coyle (Donegal)