Donegal aiming to scale new heights against Armagh on Saturday

Donegal aiming to scale new heights against Armagh on Saturday
Donegal, first time Ulster champions, are aiming for new heights next Saturday when they face Armagh in the All-Ireland Senior Championship.

Donegal, first time Ulster champions, are aiming for new heights next Saturday when they face Armagh in the All-Ireland Senior Championship.

The game is a quarter final tie and is in St Tiernach’s Park in Clones, the setting for that first historic Ulster Senior Championship final triumph three weeks ago. The game has a 12.30pm throw-in.

It forms part of a double bill with the meeting of Dublin and Monaghan, also in a quarter-final tie.

Donegal and Armagh are no strangers. They have met twice already this year and they have also crossed paths a good few times in recent years, in both league and championship.

Those two meetings earlier in the season were in the league and the record stands at one win each.

Donegal won by 1-11 to 1-10 in the middle of February.

But the Orchard County ladies avenged that defeat in emphatic fashion in the Tesco Homegrown Division Two final almost three months later.

Armagh won the league decider 4-18 to 4-6 with corner forward Aimee Mackin hitting 2-5 from corner forward, on an afternoon when she was given the freedom of Parnell Park, in Dublin’s northside.

Fionnuala McKenna bagged the other two goals for Armagh while Yvonne McMonagle continued her impressive return to the Donegal team with three of the Donegal goals. Geraldine McLaughlin netted the other Donegal goal and also helped herself to two points as Donegal put on a late surge when the game was already decided.

That match has been a landmark outing in Donegal’s season with manager Davy McLaughlin, putting his hands up afterwards and admitting that management got their tactics wrong on the day.

Armagh played with Mackin and McKenna in a two-woman full forward line and left acres of space between the front two and the half-forward line.

And with Donegal not playing a sweeper, Mackin and McKenna took full advantage and the goals flowed.

They led 3-10 to 2-3 at half-time, before the introduction of Kate Keaney and Treasa Doherty shored things up at the back for Donegal in the second half.

As has been evident by their march to a first Ulster title and especially in their Ulster final win over Monaghan, Donegal have shed their naivety and learned from that League Final defeat.

Donegal have gone on an unbeaten run since the league final with wins over Down and Tyrone in the championship before putting Ulster hot shots Monaghan to the sword in the provincial decider (2-12 to 1-10). Geraldine McLaughlin, with a knee injury, is Donegal’s major concern for Saturday’s showdown.