August of last summer was a much different time and a much different world than the one we live in today.
Crowds flocked to several of the biggest sporting events throughout the country with no restrictions holding people back.
Last August, Armagh were on the verge of reaching the last four of the All-Ireland and only the might of Mayo stood in their way.
While much has changed since last year, The Orchard County once again find themselves in the same situation.
A win over the Westerners this Saturday would seal a semi-final spot for Ronan Murphy’s side and gain revenge for last year’s defeat.
Both sides boast some of the best forwards in the business but as shown in Armagh’s Ulster Championship win against Tyrone, they have some fine defenders as well.
Clodagh McCambridge picked up the Player of the Match prize on a day when Armagh scored 4-14, in a heroic display at full back.
“I was probably lucky with some of those balls falling my way. Our forward line gets the credit they deserve, they’re unbelievable. We would mark them day in, day out in training and it’s tough keeping up with them.
I think defensively as a unit, it’s something we’ve been looking to improve on this year as a whole team throughout. I suppose it’s nice when you’re getting credited for that, it’s good in that sense, that things are working for you”.
McCambridge will once again marshal the square this weekend and the whole squad is excited for the game.
“I think everyone is really looking forward to it. Things have been going well in the camp, everything’s really positive at the minute since this is essentially a quarter final for us.
We met Mayo at the same stage last year and that was a game that we probably felt we left behind us. So, I know a lot of girls will be hurting from that still and wanting to make amends for it this time”.
That game will have given some of the players sleepless nights as they allowed Mayo to steal into an early 0-6 to 0-1 lead.
Armagh did claw their way back into contention but couldn’t get close enough and the Connaught side edged through by three.
“It was a game we felt that we beat ourselves in. We let them get a good start and we were always chasing the game then. There was only a kick of the ball, I think there was a goal in it in the end.
We’re not scared of Mayo in that sense, we know we can take them if we play well on the day. I think all the girls will be driving on to try and make up for that”.
In two games, Armagh rattled off 10-30 against Tyrone, while Mayo also defeated the Red Hand county last week, 4-17 to 0-4.
We could see plenty of goals either side of the field when the sides clash in Parnell Park and McCambridge knows how good both forward lines are.
“They racked up a massive score there against Tyrone, they have a lethal forward line but then at the same time so do we.
I think our main focus this time will definitely be conceding a lot less, we’re just going to be working hard and trying to deny their forwards as much as we can”.
Sarah Rowe is one of the finest forwards in the game at the moment and having racked up 2-9 against Tyrone, Armagh will know they face a difficult challenge.
“We’re facing as good as forward line every time that we’re in training. Their whole forward line, Sarah Rowe, they’ve Rachel Kearns, Grace Kelly in there and they’re all capable of taking shots on.
Defensively, we’re just going to have to be keeping it tight and try to concede a lot less, I think that was one point from the Tyrone game. I know we racked up a good score, but we probably let in a lot more than we’d be happy with”.
Like last years meeting, it’s winner takes all and both sides will be hoping to make it through to the semi-finals, with the knockout effect adding a bit of extra spice to the game.
“We’ve been saying that this is probably one of the best opportunities we could get, if we were to win, we’d be in a semi-final, which is massive.
Sometimes the group games, it’s harder to see the bigger picture and what you’re working towards, but I think the fact that this is knockout, we’re not going to leave anything behind us”.
So, have Armagh improved from their defeat last season? The Clann Eireann woman believes so and hopes they can do the business on Saturday.
“I definitely think we’re in a better position this year than we were last year. We’ve had a year further on experience, we’ve had a lot of younger girls coming in, especially from the last few weeks.
We’re taking a lot of confidence from that and hopefully we can drive on with that momentum and push on and get over the line this time”.