The Armagh Ladies face near neighbours Tyrone on Sunday afternoon in Wolfe Tones. First round ties are always tricky to judge.
No recent form to go on, or insight into team selection or tactics we might see over the weekend. Especially a derby game like the one we’ll witness on Sunday.
Everything should point to an opening day win for the Orchard County, but that’s not always how it works out.
Championship meetings have been one sides when these sides have clashed, with Armagh often winning pulling up.
Mackin on the move
League games have always proved much tighter affairs, with the Red Hands earning a win in 2020.
The Orchard travelled to Omagh last year and struggled for long periods against Tyrone. Eventually Aimee Mackin, the 2022 vice captain, tucked away a penalty to secure the win for the Orchard.
The Shane O’Neill’s star wore the number seven jersey in a recent challenge game against Down. Are we about to see Armagh’s best attacker playing at wing half back?
Perhaps Ronan Murphy has a tactical switch up his sleeve, or perhaps the picture is too easy to read into.
What’s clear is that Armagh will need Mackin and the rest of the team at their best to push on for promotion this year.
They finished third in the league last season, containing the exact same groupings they’ll face in 2022.
Ronan Murphy’s ladies have demonstrated that they are one of the best teams in the country and can compete with anyone.
They head into 2022 as back-to-back Ulster champions and have players that would grace any team in the land.
But to push on and earn the All-Ireland prize, they must climb up to division one. This is no doubt the main goal for the team.
They’ll target the opening round as a springboard to get the season off to the best possible start. A win this weekend would set them well on their way.