Busy weekend for Armagh captain Mallon as she seeks road bowls title
Madden's Kelly Mallon will be clocking up the miles this weekend as she firstly captains Armagh in their All-Ireland SFC against Kerry in Tullamore on Saturday before heading to Ballincurrig, Co Cork on Sunday where she will attempt to capture the All-Ireland senior ladies road bowls title.
She has been crowned 'Queen of the Road' for her prowess with the 'bullets', but she'll spend a fair amount of time on it this weekend as she indulges her two sporting passions.
Mallon was instrumental in the Orchard county retaining their Ulster senior title in May. She scored the levelling point which sent the game against Donegal to extra-time before grabbing the crucial goal which swung the contest in Armagh's favour with just over a minute left on the clock.
That earned her the LGFA Player of the Month award and after drawing with All-Ireland champions Meath and defeating Monaghan in the group stages, she is now preparing to lead her side into an All-Ireland senior quarter-final against Kerry - the side that pipped them to promotion to Division One with victory in their Division Two final in April.
However, few have been able to get the better of Mallon on the road over the years. She is already a nine-time All-Ireland senior ladies champion and has also represented Ireland on the international stages at the European Championships.
Seeking to prevent Mallon from adding yet another All-Ireland title is Hannah Sexton of Timoleagues.
She has won everything at underage and now steps up to the senior ranks having secured the U18 crown in Newtown last year against Caoimhe Rafferty. She came through her Munster final in Ballincurrig in impressive style against Veronica O'Mahony and will relish the challenge of facing Mallon in the final.
Mallon won't be the only senior Armagh footballer seeking national glory with the bullets this weekend. Ethan Rafferty, goalkeeper on the men's senior county team, takes on Pa Flood in the intermediate final on Sunday afternoon.
Rafferty has been in the headlines recently with his performances for Kieran McGeeney's Armagh team in their run to the quarter-final of the All-Ireland championship. His talent doesn't stop there, he is a tremendous bowler and has won a junior A, U16 and U18 and was in unbeatable in his performance against reigning junior A champion Shaun Donnelly in the Ulster final.
First up on Saturday morning is Portmor's Ethan Hughes in the boys U14 championship. The former U12 All -Ireland champion will relish the challenge of the tricky Ballincurrig course where he will throw Daniel O'Sullivan from West Cork.
Tullysaran's James Oliver will face seasoned campaigner John Creedon in the final of the Junior A in what could prove to be an enthralling encounter. John has been an experienced bowler for a number of years first coming to prominence when winning the U16 All-Ireland title at the Cathedral road in 1988.
Sunday morning sees An Eaglais man Anthony McVeigh take on the Munster champion Paddy O'Donnell for the U18 crown. McVeigh has excelled in his grade and was very impressive when winning his Ulster Final against Ciaran Corrigan.
The girls U18 takes centre stage in the second score on Sunday morning. Caoimhe Rafferty is no stranger to the big occasion and once again proved her dominance in the under age ranks with prolific performances to retain her Ulster crown. She will face the winners of Rachel Kingston (Togher Cross) West Cork and Skibbereen's Natalie Dempsey in the decider in what could be the score of the weekend.