Armagh make trip to Tipp looking to book place in All-Ireland quarter-finals

Aoife McCoy is convinced the Orchard side are contenders for the title later this summer

Aoife McCoy
Aoife McCoy of Armagh in action against Shelly Melia of Meath during the Orchard county's opening win in the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies' SFC at the BOX-IT Athletic Grounds in Armagh. Picture: Tyler Miller/Sportsfile (Tyler Miller / SPORTSFILE/SPORTSFILE)

TG4 All-Ireland Ladies’ SFC round three (Saturday)

Group 1

Tipperary v Armagh

(FBD Semple Stadium, 5.30pm, live on Spórt TG4)

ARMAGH’S Aoife McCoy says the county’s league and provincial championship successes have given them the belief that they can compete with the best in the All-Ireland series.

The Ulster champions face Tipperary this afternoon in Thurles knowing a win will see them through to the All-Ireland quarter-finals and with it the guarantee of a home draw in the last eight. A draw would also be enough to secure a knock-out spot.

They defeated the 2021 and 2022 All-Ireland champions Meath last weekend by a single point, 3-9 to 1-13, in a real test of character, manager Gregory McGonigle having to shuffle his pack with Aimee Mackin and Louise Kenny out injured from the Ulster final and Caroline O’Hanlon also out.

It was a game where the lead swung between both teams, the second half in particular, with Armagh leading by three before a six-point turnaround saw Meath lead by three, then it was all square, then Armagh by three again with three minutes remaining despite Meath yielding the last two points, but it was enough.

“We were delighted to get the win over a competitive Meath team. Heading into the group stages, we have wanted to keep the winning momentum going but not only that we want build on our performances each week, so that’s the goals for this weekend against Tipp,” said McCoy who hit two of her side’s goals against Meath.

“Winning the league and Ulster has given us the confidence to know we can really compete in the All-Ireland series, so we’re using that to our advantage.

“I think there was a lot of positives in our performance against Meath which we can bring into this weekend. On the other side to that, there were areas in our play we weren’t happy with and we’ve been working hard this last week in training to improve on those.”

Tipperary would not be totally unfamiliar opponents for Armagh, their most recent competitive meeting in last year’s Division Two league, and McCoy is expecting another tough physical battle, with last week’s against Meath putting them in good stead.

“We played Tipperary last year in the league and know the quality and physicality that they can bring. Playing away from home is always tough but we’ve prepared well this week so we will be ready to go on Saturday evening.”

Group 2

Kerry v Waterford (Fitzgerald Stadium, 3pm, live on TG4)

KERRY, the 2022 and 2023 runners-up, opened their campaign with a draw against Donegal last Sunday and go into this clash knowing that victory is a must if they’re to progress to the knock-out stages.

Waterford’s last competitive outing was against Kerry in the Munster Championship, a game they lost by just a point.

Group 3

Cork v Galway (MTU Cork, 1pm, live on TG4)

GALWAY won by six points when the sides met in the 2023 Championship.

These are two teams who suffered relegation from Division One of the Lidl National League (Cork won when the sides met in the group stages back in January) but their championship form to date has been encouraging.

Galway wrestled back the Connacht crown from Mayo while Cork were competitive in the Munster final against Kerry, particularly in the first half.

Cork were also impressive against Laois last weekend and they go into this one knowing that a win will hand them a home quarter-final.

Group 4

Mayo v Kildare (Ballina, 2pm, live on Spórt TG4)

MAYO were well beaten by Dublin last weekend and will need swift improvement for a do-or-die clash with Kildare.

The Lilywhites, meanwhile, are heading into the All-Ireland series hoping to absorb Leinster championship lessons, as they suffered defeats to Dublin and Meath.

Kildare did finish the provincial campaign on a high, however, with victory over Laois.