Ulster Championship – Quarter Final
Armagh vs Monaghan
Sunday 18th June – Athletic Grounds – 7.30pm
Last years Ulster finalists face off on Friday evening as both hope to get back to the provincial showpiece.
Armagh were the better side in that 2020 clash and deservingly lifted the Ulster title with two points to spare.
It capped a memorable season that saw the Orchard County also reach the last four of the All-Ireland series.
It was hoped Ronan Murphy’s side would carry that momentum into this year, but things haven’t quite gone as planned.
An opening day win on the road against Tyrone was a good start, especially considering they trailed 3-4 to 1-6 at the break.
They turned it around to win by the minimum of margins, with goals from Aimee Mackin, Alex Clarke and Aoife McCoy helping them through.
The results went against them in the next two games against Monaghan and Cavan, as Armagh came off second best in both.
In doing so, the first goal of the season was shattered as it left promotion to the top tier impossible.
They were extremely competitive in a tough All-Ulster group and lost out to both Monaghan and Cavan by just one point.
The Monaghan encounter was also played out in the home comforts of the Athletic Grounds, just as it will be this weekend.
Armagh were missing some star quality, with Catherine Marley and Kelly Mallon not seeing any game time in the league.
They still have plenty of options up top of course, with Alex Clarke coming into her own this year and playing some great stuff at corner forward.
Aimee Mackin is always the main attraction to the opposition defence and Friday evenings tussle will be no different.
Blaithin Mackin continued to be one of the most versatile players in the panel and can play anywhere from the half back line up.
Caroline O’Hanlon remains a key figure, whether in the middle of the park or further forward where she can also excel.
Aoife McCoy pulls the strings at centre half forward and the Dromintee star is a constant goal threat.
Clodagh McCambridge continues to be the rock of the defence and her match up with Ellen McCarron could go a long way to deciding the outcome of this one.
Niamh Marley is back in contention and her strength could be a real assist to the Orchard County over the next few weeks and months.
Armagh will be targeting a big display and will not want to give up their Ulster crown too easily and fall at the first hurdle.
The league ties were much tighter than the final table suggests, and Ronan Murphy has some of the best players in the country at his disposal.
Monaghan won’t fear the short trip north having been successful on their last voyage three weeks ago, so this makes for a thrilling encounter.
There has been such a feel-good factor around ladies football in Armagh since last season, and the home crowd may help get the Orchard County over the line.