Hopes for 2021 – Armagh Ladies

One of the highlights of 2020 in the Orchard County was the performances and rise of the Armagh ladies footballers.

Although the league wasn’t finished for obvious reasons, Armagh were destined for another stint in division two for the 2021 season.

The long layoff clearly workout well for Ronan Murphy’s side, with Aimee Mackin fully recovered from her ACL injury by the time the championship began.

Armagh experienced a decent league campaign, but points dropped at home against Tyrone and Meath was cause for concern.

They got off to a flyer, netting five goals in the opening day win away to Clare, the visitors victorious by twelve points in the end, 5-8 to 1-8.

Tyrone came to Silverbridge at the beginning of February and picked up the maximum points on offer, but revenge would be sweet for Armagh later in the year.

A long trip to Kerry came in round three and Armagh were two points behind by the final whistle, although putting up a spirit fight towards the end.

Wexford were no match the next day out and the girls in orange and white ran riot, running out huge victors 4-18 to 1-1.

They then welcomed Meath to the Athletic Grounds for what proved to be the final league tie of the year, losing 3-5 to 1-21.

The ladies would have to wait until October to hit the field again and they really found their stride when action returned!

With Mackin back leading the charge in the forward line, Armagh seemed to find a settled team that would prompt a glorious championship run.

Two wins over Tyrone, one in the Ulster Championship and the other in the All-Ireland series, got Armagh up and running.

They faced a fancied Mayo side in the remaining group game, the same team that ended their journey during the 2019 season.

Armagh were not to be denied this time around and Catherine Marley’s late goal confirmed their place in the last four. 4-12 to 1-16.

Four in a row chasers Dublin lay in wait in the semi-final and although the Orchard County gave a display to be proud of, they just came up short.

Listen back to our interview with Armagh’s Catherine Marley ahead of Armagh’s Ulster Final!

Their season was far from finished however as they still had one competition left to complete, the Ulster Championship.

Having reached and lost in the final the two years previous, Armagh hoped it would be third time lucky against Monaghan in Clones.

The sides played out an entertaining back-and-forth affair, with Armagh just getting their noses ahead at the end to claim a two point victory.

Kelly Mallon raised the cup for Armagh, the first time they had got their hands on the trophy since beating the same opposition in 2014.

There’s no doubt that the girls will be itching to get back into competitive action in 2021 and carry that momentum with them.

Promotion will of course be the first target, as they hope to get into division one and mix it with the best on a regular basis.

Retaining their Ulster crown will be another goal, while they’ll hope to make further strides during the All-Ireland Championship.