June 6th, 2024


Richard Bullick

This is former Armagh skipper Kelly Mallon’s 16th season in the orange jersey so it is somewhat surprising that, up until now, such a prominent player had never been included in an NFL Team of the League line-up for any division.

She lifted the Division Two trophy last April as Armagh won in Croke Park for the first time in more than a decade but Mallon wasn’t among the eight Orchard heroes subsequently honoured at the 2023 National League awards.

Mallon was also the only one of the eight captains from the sides who contested the four divisional deciders not to make their respective Team of the League but the wait will feel worth it this Friday evening.

The 34-year-old Harps forward is among a seven-strong Orchard contingent named in the Team of Division One after Armagh made history by beating Kerry in their first ever National League final, a match in which Mallon scored five points including a hat-trick of frees.

As Orchard captain, the Madden sportswoman led Armagh to an unprecedented hat-trick of Ulster title triumphs but is thriving back in the ranks this season under new manager Greg McGonigle after handing on the official leadership responsibility to Clodagh McCambridge.

“We spent a lot of time in Division Two, striving to get promotion, so it’s unbelievable to get up and win Division One straight away, albeit that Meath and Kerry have done the same the past couple of years,” enthused Mallon, straight after the final whistle in Croke Park.

“I can’t put into words what it means.  The girls have worked so hard since Greg came in, we’ve been working since November and it’s paid off.  Some teams may have used the league as a stepping stone but we really wanted to go after it.”

Mallon also laid on Armagh’s second goal for fellow forward Aimee Mackin, though she said her Orchard colleague “still had a whole lot to do, I thought the Kerry forwards had her sandwiched to be honest but Aimee’s a class act and she finished it off really well.

“It’s lovely to be here with all the younger girls, myself and Caroline (O’Hanlon) are the older folk now!  That didn’t take long, the years go back really quickly, so this is really, really special,” she reflected in an interview with LGFA videographer Jerome Quinn


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