Armagh’s target remains the same says Merry

By Michael McMullan

ARMAGH sharpshooter Rachael Merry insists their targets remain the same this season despite being in transition.

After their win over Roscommon, the Orchard County travel to Laois on Saturday as they hope to make another step towards promotion.

Ending their battle to get out of Division Three and winning the elusive All-Ireland Junior Championship remain their targets.

Merry was pleasantly surprised with the 5-15 they clocked up last weekend when she factors in the huge turnover in players from last season

“We are completely in transition this year,” she said of having eight of last year’s starting team unavailable.

“We have five girls in Australia from last year and some of the older players have decided not to come this year.”

The core of the Armagh squad, including many new players to the fold, have been preparing since November.

“When you are not used to playing at county level it will take you a while to get up to the speed of playing and training at a different level,” Merry said of the newcomers.

“A lot of them have been there for a few months, are settling in really well and are going to gets better as the year goes on with the confidence that they get.”

After a hectic season between Armagh and her club Granemore’s dream All-Ireland winning adventure, Merry took time to rest.

“They (county management) were happy enough and didn’t contact us until the new year so we could get a break,” she said.

“We were going a full 12 months with club and county so they just decided to take time off and go back when we were fresh.

“We took a well-earned break over Christmas but we were looking forward to getting back. It was great coming in after winning that.”

Armagh now face Laois who have just dropped down from Division Two. While they will be an unknown quality, Merry is braced for a tough task.

“It will be a very tough battle for us,” she said, mentioned how Laois also hit the scoring heights in their opening day win over Kildare.

“We would’ve beat Kildare in the league last year so it is hard to really know when you haven’t really played them (Laois) before to what level they are at. They are going to be very good after coming down from Division Two.”

A win over Laois is the short term target. Back to back wins will help their chances of a league title

“We have had the same goal for the last few years. We need to win the All-Ireland Junior and we need to get out of Division Three,” Merry summed up.

“It doesn’t get any easier. We also seem to get to the last hurdle, to a final and get beat or in the semi-final last year and losing by a point.

“We have been knocking on the door the last few years and it is a case of getting over the line.”

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