Two weeks ago, when Armagh relinguished an 11-point second half lead to Cavan - in what became the highest scoring one-point victory in Ladies Football senior championship history - it appeared as if their goose was cooked. Now behind Cavan on head-to-head results, in a group of three that included an imperious Cork side, they would need Cavan to lose to last year's beaten All-Ireland finalists and then they in turn would have to beat Cork in the final group game.
Fast forward to today and Armagh have booked their place in an All-Ireland quarter-final against Mayo. After Cavan's 17 point defeat at the hands of Cork last weekend, the Orchard County were given a glimmer of a hope. A win would see them through. Could they pull it off?
O'Connor Park, Tullamore was the venue and those in attendance were blessed with a thriller. Cork came out the traps well with an early Rhona Ní Bhuachalla goal but Armagh stayed in touch. They trailed at the break 1-5 to 0-04. Incredibly in the opening 20 minutes of the second half they plundered four goals to race into a 10 point lead but the drama did not finish there.
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Goals from Maire O'Callaghan and Libby Coppinger brought Cork back into it, while follow-up points from Orla Finn, Eimear Scally and Doireann O'Sullivan cut the deficit to just one point.
This time around however, Armagh refused to beaten. They held on to win 4-9 to 3-11. “We knew we had to come out, just to prove everyone wrong really," said player of the match, Blaithin Mackin. "We had our ups and downs throughout the year. We knew if we gave it everything, we’d get the result. Thankfully it did and we’re just happy to be back in an All-Ireland quarter-final.”
Their quarter-final opponents, Mayo, emerged from a group that was not without its own drama either. After falling to a shock defeat in their opening group game against Tyrone, Ulster champions Donegal could not turn around their misfortunes against Mayo, losing 1-22 to 3-12.
The other quarter-finals will be Cork vs Tyrone, Dublin vs Kerry and Galway vs Waterford.
Match reporting by Daire Walsh