Armagh relishing championship clash with All-Ireland champions Meath says Murphy

Armagh's Blaithin Mackin has signed for AFLW side Melbourne Demons but will first finish out the All-Ireland championship season with her county, which starts on Sunday against All-Ireland champions Meath

TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship Group B: Armagh v Meath (Sunday, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, 3.45pm - live on TG4)

ARMAGH manager Ronan Murphy is relishing the chance to play All-Ireland champions Meath when the sides meet tomorrow in Longford.

This is Armagh’s first All-Ireland championship game of the season and a place in the knockout stages is the first target for the Ulster champions and to get that they will need at least one win from their two group games. They can book their place in the quarter-finals if they can get one over Meath but a draw or defeat will mean they must win their final game against Monaghan next weekend if they are to take one of those knockout places.

Meath defeated Monaghan last week in the opening game where they had to overcome a very defensive set-up from the Ulster side but it will be a very different type of test they will face against Armagh on Sunday.

The sides met at the quarter-final stages last year. Armagh were favourites going into that one but Meath had other ideas winning 3-15 to 1-14 before going on to win the All-Ireland outright defeating Cork and Dublin on the way.

No doubt Armagh would like to get one over on the champions but there is a bigger picture and it is a great opportunity to see where they are in terms of competing against the best and as current Division One and All-Ireland champions, the test doesn’t get any bigger.

“We are very much looking forward to the game on Sunday. It’s been a few weeks since the Ulster final and everyone is looking forward to the game against Meath and hopefully we can get a good result,” said Murphy.

“It’s about learning from your mistakes and learning from the things that contributed to our defeat last year. It’s a huge challenge, they are All-Ireland champions, they are Division One league champions so they present a huge challenge to us and we will have to be at the top of our game if we want to get a win.

“You have to credit Meath for what they did last year and it has probably broken down a few barriers for a non-traditional winner to go and win the All-Ireland so it has given hope to all teams outside Dublin and Cork who have been really dominant for a long period of time.”

Armagh clinched a third successive Ulster title after a dramatic extra-time win over Donegal. The character and resilience they showed when it looked like their chance was gone was remarkable and that can only be a huge boost coming into the All-Ireland series and Murphy wants to be able to use that achievement as a stepping stone to launch this championship campaign.

“The Ulster final was very, very good, it was a great spectacle and great excitement, but we have the trophy, it’s parked and we have moved on from that. Hopefully we can use that as a foundation for our championship preparations.

“There were aspects of our Ulster final that we wouldn’t have been happy with at all so we have to make sure and try and correct that for these group games. It’s all about getting a performance at a certain standard that is going to give you a chance to win these games and that is what we are going to try and do on Sunday and the following Saturday against Monaghan but firstly we’ll take Meath which is a huge challenge on Sunday.”

Murphy also voiced his delight for Blaithin Mackin who has signed for AFLW side Melbourne Demons. She will join them in Australia after Armagh’s involvement in the championship comes to an end. “We are all delighted for Blaithin’s news and it’s fantastic, it couldn’t happen to a nicer girl – it’s a wonderful opportunity to go and play a professional sport in a very attractive climate,” said Murphy.

“Blaithin is a fantastic member of the panel and team and we are all just overjoyed that she has been given this opportunity.”

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