Junior All-Ireland – Quarter Final
Clare vs Armagh
Saturday 28th Aug – Clane GAA Kildare – 4.30pm
Armagh look to book their spot in the All-Ireland decider for the second time in as many years this weekend.
Standing in their way are Clare, who have played only one game so far in the All-Ireland series.
The Banner County overcame Roscommon 1-10 to 0-9 during the group stages, while their second round tie with Kildare was cancelled.
The draw placed the Munster side in the last four, while Armagh had to battle to reach this stage of the competition.
Mattie Lennon’s side eventually got over Limerick last weekend in the quarter final, despite a horrible start to the game.
Trailing by six at the water break (2-4 to 0-4), the Ulster champions fought back brilliantly to squeeze into the semi-final.
A heroic second half performance saw Armagh sneak ahead and hold on to their two-point advantage.
Leanne Donnelly’s net-buster before the interval narrowed the gap to three. However, it was older sister Ciara who grabbed all the headlines.
Armagh’s captain gave a truly inspirational display and dragged her side back into the game.
The accurate attacker finished with a personally tally of 0-12, grabbing all but five of her sides scores.
The 2020 Player of the Year nailed the final two scores of the game, both frees, to ensure a 1-16 to 3-8 victory.
Donnelly starred from centre half forward instead of her usual position on the inside line and perhaps Lennon has found the perfect position for his most deadly weapon.
The Orchard defence deserves huge credit as well. They stood tall and strongly held off the Limerick onslaught during the dying moments of the game.
The concession of goals will be cause for concern, however. Eight times this year the green flag has been raised against Armagh, in four games.
That’s an average of two goals per game, as stat that Lennon and his management team will want to address.
Up top, Armagh have plenty of attacking options, although Rachael Merry remains a massive miss.
Ciara Hill once again impressed at wing half forward last weekend, scoring three points and working desperately hard around the middle.
Colette McSorley is hard to handle in the full forward line. The Tullysaran star will hope to relive some of the scoring pressure off Ciara Donnelly’s shoulders.
The defending champions will head into this one as favourites, which shouldn’t be a problem to a team that is surely full of confidence at the minute.