All-Ireland – Round One
Armagh vs Monaghan
Saturday 10th July – Athletic Grounds – 2pm
It’s familiar territory for the Armagh Ladies this weekend as they host Monaghan for the third time in six weeks.
The pair have crossed swords in the league, the Ulster championship and now round one of the All-Ireland group stages.
This is the decider of the trilogy. Both sides have picked up one win apiece, although Armagh’s was much more convincing.
Ronan Murphy’s side were quite wasteful in the league meeting. They had plenty of chances to get something from the game but trailed by the minimum at full time.
Revenge was sweet when the two next clashed in the provincial series. Goals from Alex Clarke and Blaithin Mackin saw the home side triumph 2-18 to 0-10.
Armagh have since saw off Tyrone in similar fashion to reach the Ulster final, but that’s on the backburner for now.
Full focus has turned to the round robin stages of the All-Ireland series. The Orchard County will take on Monaghan, Cavan and Mayo in group one.
Armagh look to be hitting form at the perfect time. They missed out on promotion in a disappointing league campaign, but followed it up with two glorious victories in the Ulster championship.
Their well-renowned scoring process has been on show in the last two outings, posting 4-38.
Aimee Mackin has of course been at the forefront, hitting 0-13 while Armagh Harps star Fionnuala McKenna has chipped in with 0-11.
Eleven different players got into the scoring action. Alex Clarke, Blaithin Mackin, Aoife McCoy and Kelly Mallon have all rattled the net.
Monaghan will be well aware of their attacking threat. In their most recent provincial clash, the Farney side often got 15 players behind the ball.
That didn’t work, so it will be interesting to see what the travelling side have up their sleeves this weekend.
Armagh captain Kelly Mallon was introduced from the bench in the last two games and could be fit to start this weekend.
Can Monaghan close a 14-point gap in two weeks? It’s a big ask, but Armagh will know the quality the visitors have in their ranks.
The Farney ladies pushed Armagh to the pin of their collars in last years Ulster final. The ladies in orange and white did prevail by two, but it was far from easy.
A recent loss to Monaghan should be enough to ensure that Armagh have their guard up and won’t underestimate their opponents.
Still, they head into the clash as big favourites and should have enough quality to get the job done.