All-Ireland – Round Three
Mayo vs Armagh
Saturday 24th July – Ballinamore – 2.00pm
With a spot in the last eight secured for both teams, this game is purely to decide who finishes top of group one.
That’s still something to play for. Whoever tops the group will get the ‘easier’ draw in the quarter final.
First place meets the winner of Meath and Tipperary, while whoever finishes second takes on Galway.
There’s no doubt Armagh will not want to halt their winning momentum. They head into this game looking for their 6th win in six outings.
They’ve made their way to the Ulster final for the second year on the trot with impressive wins over Monaghan and Tyrone.
Wins over Monaghan and Cavan see them sit top of the table, with a place in the quarter final already secured.
Armagh and Mayo have met in the All-Ireland series twice in recent years, both teams winning once.
The Westerners came out on top with three points to spare in 2019, winning 2-12 to 1-12 in the end.
Armagh were missing their star forward Aimee Mackin, who had picked up the dreaded ACL injury against Cork the previous week.
Armagh avenged that defeat one year later, and they had the Shane O’Neill’s sharpshooter to thank.
Mackin was on fire and ended the game with a personal haul of 2-7 (2f). Kelly Mallon and Catherine Marley also hit the net in the 4-12 to 1-16 win.
The forward line is still scoring heavily, rattling the net seven times in the last two games. Incredibly, Aimee Mackin has yet to raise a green flag in the championship.
Ronan Murphy has added Alex Clarke and Fionnuala McKenna to his sides attacking armoury this season.
Niamh Marley has also returned to this fold, having not featured in last years championship. An injury against Monaghan meant she was not available the last day out.
Kelly Mallon earned her first start of the season against Cavan and ended the game with 1-2. Aoife McCoy and Caroline O’Hanlon also hitting the net.
This will be Armagh’s first challenge outside of Ulster, as they have only played Monaghan, Cavan and Tyrone across the league, Ulster and All-Ireland championships.
It’s a great test for the reigning Ulster champions and one they will be looking forward to.
The game may not have the cut and thrust of a do or die championship game, but neither team will be setting out to lose.