Armagh look to get over All-Ireland quarter-final obstacle as they host Mayo

The Orchard ladies have fallen at this stage every year for the past three seasons

Niamh Henderson
Niamh Henderson of Armagh in action against Máire O'Shaughnessy of Meath during the group clash between the sides at the BOX-IT Athletic Grounds in Armagh. Picture: Tyler Miller/Sportsfile (Tyler Miller / SPORTSFILE/SPORTSFILE)

TG4 All-Ireland Ladies’ SFC quarter-final

Armagh v Mayo (Sunday, the BOX-IT Athletic Grounds, 5.45pm, Iive on TG4)

ARMAGH have a huge opportunity to reach their first All-Ireland senior semi-final since 2020 when they face Mayo at home tomorrow.

The Orchard county, who have fallen at this hurdle for the last three years, won back their Ulster title with an extra-time victory over Donegal, then topped their All-Ireland group with a win over Meath and a draw against Tipperary to reach this stage.

The later throw-in, home advantage and an eight-hour one-way journey for Mayo (even though they will travel today) should give Armagh the edge and that is something they need to make count according to forward Niamh Henderson.

“We do speak a lot about controllables and uncontrollables within the game and the fixtures and things that happen,’’ she says.

“In terms of the late throw-in that is just something that is out of our control, but for the past few weeks we have been training late on a Sunday to get used to playing at the time the game will be at,” she said.

“We probably didn’t realise until we saw what time the match was going to be at, on a Sunday evening, how much of an advantage playing in your home ground is and hopefully we will really relish that and have good support there too.”

The county is on a high at the minute, with Kieran McGeeney’s men reaching their first All-Ireland semi-final since 2005 and the minors in tomorrow’s All-Ireland minor final against Derry, not to mention the ladies’ maiden Division One title back in April and that Ulster senior title in May.

Henderson was in Croke Park last weekend to see Armagh overcome Roscommon in the quarter-final and that has whet her appetite for their own quarter-final.

“There definitely is a good vibe around Armagh at the minute,’’ she admits.

“I was down at that match and it really got me motivated for ours, watching them and how well they played, how delighted they were to get through that stage and get into the semi-final. We just hope that we do the same and that we follow in their footsteps and that will be the two teams through to the semi-finals.”

The Clann Eireann club player, who is back wearing the Orchard county colours for the first time since 2015, is aware of the last few years’ disappointment of exiting at this stage despite not being part of the set-up, but she says it has been something they collectively have not dwelt on, mentioning again the controllables.

“The girls have disappointingly fallen at the quarter-final hurdle over the past few years but we don’t talk about that at all.

“We have a new management in this year and a new set-up and it was just a clean slate and we are just focussing on this year and how well we have done and how we can keep looking forward to the next match and keep building and building.

“There is no negative impact from previous years or anything to do with that, we are just focusing on the game in front of us and hopefully we can just get over it, play well and get into the semi-finals. It has not been a contributing factor so far.”

Henderson knows that they must bring their best performance tomorrow, which they have not yet shown in the championship, and there is no better time than now to step it up.

“I think that we probably haven’t had our peak performance yet, even in the group stages, we probably just about won them narrowly with Meath and just getting the draw in the last couple of minutes against Tipperary.

“I think we are due a really good performance and I think girls have really stepped up in the past to win and I just hope we can bring our best performance on Sunday against Mayo when it matters.

“I do believe that Armagh are good enough to reach the semi-final and get into the last four.

“I think we have worked a lot of on believing in ourselves this year and just having that belief that we are good enough and that sort of mentality gives you that extra one per cent and sometimes that last one per cent is what you need to get through the game.

“To get through to the semi-final would be amazing and we will do everything that we can to get there and I believe we can.”

TG4 All-Ireland Ladies’ SFC quarter-finals (all games live on TG4)


Cork v Waterford (Pairc Ui Chaoimh, 1.15pm)

Kerry v Meath (Austin Stack Park, 5.15pm)

Dublin v Galway (Parnell Park, 7.30pm)


Armagh v Mayo (Athletic Grounds, 5.45pm)