GAA Football

Armagh out to rumble Royals and book place in All-Ireland semi-final

Kelly Mallon forms part of a formidable Armagh forward line which will cause Meath problems at Clones tomorrow
BY LOUISE GUNN

TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship quarter-final: Armagh v Meath (tomorrow, St Tiernach’s Park, Clones, 2pm live on TG4)

ARMAGH are aiming for back-to-back TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-finals but Meath stand in their way in Clones tomorrow.

The Orchard county know they are coming up against a fearless Meath side who, despite only winning the intermediate title last year, have shown they are capable of competing at the top level.

And manager Ronan Murphy believes it's Royals who are favourites.

However, coming in off the back of their superb win over Mayo in the final group game he says they are in a good place.

“Meath will be a big challenge, they are up-and-coming. They won Division Two and ran Cork very close in the group stages," said Murphy.

"We are expecting a huge battle. I wouldn't see us as favourites from the point of view that they came out of Division Two and came out of it convincingly in Croke Park. We are playing well but Meath will probably be the form team,” said Murphy.

“It was good to put another one over Mayo, we beat them last year and it was also good to pit ourselves against a Division One opposition which we haven’t done against Cavan, Monaghan and Tyrone from that point of view we are very happy.

“Meath are formidable, they won the intermediate championship last year, they are very well organised and they are very well set up and they have wonderful players. We are fully aware of the battle that awaits us.”

Meath lost to Cork in their first group game but gave last year’s All-Ireland finalists a good test while last weekend against Tipperary, in a winner-takes-all game, they ran out comfortable winners even after a stern third quarter test.

They led by eight points at half-time but went 15 minutes without scoring after the resumption before finishing 11 point winners.

Both defences will have to be on their toes coming up against some of high quality forwards. Meath know how dangerous Aimee Mackin is – she hit 3-6 against Mayo – but there are also Kelly Mallon, Aoife McCoy, Alex Clarke to contend with. Caroline O’Hanlon was forced off in their last game after suffering a facial injury but has been named in the starting line-up, which is unchanged.

Meath, who also have named the same starting team, up front have plenty of firepower in Vikki Wall, Stacey Grimes, Emma Duggan and Bridgetta Lynch while at the back they have conceded just 1-16 in their two games. Armagh have conceded 4-31 but they did have an extra game because of their four team group.

Meath will pose a different set of challenges for Armagh tomorrow and Murphy expects that and it is how they deal with that will determine if they are to progress to the last four and that is their aim.

“Every game has a new dimension to it, it’s a new day and brings new challenges and Meath will certainly bring a big, big challenge in that are very defensive and they are keeping teams down to very, very low scores so they will be out to keep our scoring power down and we know that and we have to plan for that.

“You want to win every game, you want to go as far as you can. We produced that mind-set on Saturday and we were performing very well and if we perform the way we can we can win the game.”

IT’S a Munster derby in tomorrow's other All-Ireland quarter-final between last year’s All-Ireland finalists Cork and Waterford at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship quarter-finals

Armagh v Meath (tomorrow, St Tiernach’s Park, Clones, 2pm live on TG4)

Cork v Waterford (tomorrow, Pairc Ui Chaoimh, 3.30pm)

Mayo v Galway (Monday, McHale Park, 1.45pm)

Dublin v Donegal (Monday, Páirc Sheáin Mhic Dhiarmada, 4pm)

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