Sport

League title for Armagh camogs would be a step in the right direction

.Leanne Donnelly of Armagh in action during December's All-Ireland junior championship final. The Orchard girls will be looking to at a Division Three league title to the junior championship title
BY SEAMAS McALEENAN

Littlewoods Ireland League Division Three final: Armagh v Wexford (today, Donaghmore, Ashbourne, 2.30pm)

ARMAGH’S first half performance in last Saturday’s semi-final against Carlow suggests that they have the potential to build on last year’s All-Ireland junior success. Collecting the Littlewoods Ireland Division Three title this afternoon in Ashbourne would represent a step in that direction.

However, they will have to play better than they did a few weeks ago when Wexford came away from the Athletic Grounds with both league points in a group game.

Armagh got off to a poor start in that game and conceded an early goal. Although they were always within touching distance of Wexford the visitors were able to remain in front and eke out a 1-14 to 0-15 victory.

Mattie Lennon’s early impressions of his new charges were their talent and their youth. He wants to build for the future – but he was looking for experience to take them through the early stages of development.

Both Shelly McArdle and Collette McSorley were introduced during the second half of that group game and both played the whole of the Carlow semi-final last week. The experienced pair look like the missing piece of Lennon’s jig-saw.

When Carlow started to claw back the lead after the break last week, McArdle, McSorley and the Donnelly sisters stood strong for Armagh and they helped their team into the final.

Armagh on the attack looked pretty potent and they have free-takers that can punish fouling. But the half-forwards in particular need to track back and close down the supply of ammunition raining down on their own defence.

A Wexford team that has hit the target at least 15 times in each of the last three games is one that needs to be watched closely. They have pace in key positions and will punish fouls with frees.

So it is incumbent on Armagh to cut back on that scoring by not allowing the Slaneysiders good ball into their forwards.

I fancy this will be a high-scoring final and Armagh have the players to deliver plenty of scores. They have shown that in the Junior final in December.

However this result will hinge on how well they hold out in defence. If they do better than the 1-14 they conceded in the league encounter, then the league trophy will be joining the junior championship in the Cathedral city tonight.

* CAVAN were the favourites for the Division Four title before a sliotar was struck and they have done nothing to suggest that they will not live up to that billing against Roscommon in tomorrow's final in Longford (1pm). 
They were never in danger of losing any of the four games they have played to date. Tyrone did well to stifle their attack in the final group game but manager Jimmy Greville had enough options in attack to produce the scores for a 0-12 to 0-8 victory before seeing off Mayo in the semi-final.
Cavan defeated Roscommon to reach the All-Ireland final last year but were edged out in the decider by a more experienced Armagh side. This year the Breffni Blues have the more experienced players entering this final and that should be enough to see them over the line in a tight encounter.

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