By Richard Bullick
It has been a remarkable few weeks for former Armagh full back Dervla Mallon, a 2008 All Star nominee but now retired from county football to concentrate on camogie, motherhood and club commitments with Grange.
A veteran of the small country club’s only previous final 12 years ago, she was Player of the Match both times as Grange overcame Crossmaglen, beaten finalists for the second successive season, in a replay last month to lift the Mackin’s Intermediate Championship.
Three days before the replay, Mallon had captained Tullysaran in the Armagh Senior Camogie Championship showpiece. It also ended in stalemate but Tullysaran triumphed in the replay to be crowned county camogie champions for the first time ever.
Both successes were real family affairs for Mallon, who is related to more than half the Grange team including her five nieces, the Mackle sisters. Four of them also start for the Tullysaran side, including camogie final replay Player of the Match Siobhan, who dazzled as a sub for Armagh against Cork in the ladies football qualifier in August.
Grange’s impressive victory in the Armagh Intermediate Championship final replay, by a 2-14 to 1-6 scoreline against Crossmaglen, was well and truly a case of keeping it in the family.
Dervla Mallon led the way with 1-6, her sister Aideen Toal got a couple of points and the remaining Grange tally was shared out between three of her five nieces.
Scoring all 20 points in the replay represents an incredible collective contribution by one family and it was fitting that the imperious Mallon, who landed four frees, should top the charts after another dominant display.
On Sunday, Grange have home advantage against Monaghan outfit Agnabog in the Ulster Intermediate Championship quarter-final (2pm), a tough task but a challenge which the team, captained by domiciled Kerrywoman Geraldine Scully, is looking forward to.