National Camogie League – Round One
Down vs Armagh
Saturday 15th May – Mayobridge – 2pm
The 2021 National Camogie League gets underway this weekend and the Orchard County are on the road for the opening game.
They travel to Mayobridge on Saturday afternoon to get their season up and running with a first round clash against Down IIs.
Armagh will still be reeling from their enjoyable 2020 campaign and will hope to carry that momentum through to this year.
Neighbours Down are familiar opposition and the two sides crossed swords twice last season, with the Mourne County coming out on top on both occasions.
Covid-19 meant the league was abandoned last year, with Armagh only completing one fixture.
That was an away trip to this weekends hosts, with Down getting the better of their rivals in St Colman’s College.
Two goals were the difference in the end, with the home side gaining an eight-point winning margin, 2-8 to 0-6.
The counties clashed once again in the Ulster Intermediate Championship Final later in the year and Armagh would enjoy home advantage this time.
Pearse Og Park was the venue but despite the familiarities, Michael Murphy’s side still came up short in a tight encounter.
Goals were crucial once more and despite hitting the net once, Armagh couldn’t keep the ball out at the other end and Down saw out a 3-11 to 1-11 win.
It was from there that Armagh’s season really took off and both sides head into this weekend’s showdown with silverware from 2020.
While Down were crowned Intermediate Ulster Champions, Armagh went on an incredible to claim Junior All-Ireland glory.
Now managed by former Armagh, Monaghan and Tyrone hurling boss Mattie Lennon, Armagh will hope to pick up where they left off.
They proved their worth against Tyrone and Roscommon last season before providing an unforgettable performance in the showpiece against Cavan.
Armagh have some serious quality throughout the field and should be excited about once again displaying their talent.
Speaking to Armagh Camogie, star player Ciara Donnelly detailed her thoughts on facing familiar opposition in the opening round.
“We met Down in the Intermediate Ulster Final last year and lost to them by a few points.
I feel that this is a game we should have won so we will be hoping to rectify this in the first game of 2021.
Down seniors were very successful last year as well so I would assume their junior team will have an influx of new players to the squad this year, it will be a tough game.
This will give us a good indication of where we are at and what areas need to be worked on”.
The Down Juniors will of course be strong opposition and will head into the tie as slight favourites.
Their recent history over the Orchard County as well as home advantage is enough to swing the favourites tag towards the red and black outfit.
Lennon’s team will be confident in their own abilities however and will have no fear heading to Mayobridge on Saturday.