Smith goal brace sinks Red Hands’ All-Ireland dreams

TWO goals from substitute Eimear Smith proved enough to send Armagh into the All-Ireland final courtesy of a three point win over a battling Tyrone at Crossmaglen on Saturday of last week. 
Although beaten the visitors will take so much from this game. 
Coming as it did on the back of a heavy loss to Cavan, this was a confident and well measured Tyrone display.
They may have lacked potency in attack but after a raft of positional changes from last week, the progress was evident and there was more in the way of cohesion from them over the hour.
Three points separated the sides at the end. Tyrone had goalkeeper Una McCann to thank for several critical saves yet it was the Red Hands who at times bossed the contest.
Tyrone led by five points at the break. Goals from  Reagan Fay, Nuala Ward and Cara Little had them in the box seat but 18 minutes without a score in the second half contributed to their eventual downfall, and Smith’s brace of goals changed the complexion of the game.
With their impressive half forward line (Reagan Fay and Niamh McNulty standing out) taking the game to their opponents Tyrone created plenty of chances.
At the back Julie Lagan, Aishling Jordan and Laura Barker worked tirelessly and rarely allowed the Orchard side time on the ball.
McNulty carved out a few early openings, while Ward and Fay both went close but it was Armagh who went three points up. 
Eglish’s Ciara Donnelly opened the Tyrone account with Laura Smith and Rachael Merry adding points at the other end for Armagh.

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