By Shaun Casey
SHANE McCormack couldn’t have asked for a better start to his tenure in charge of the Armagh Ladies. From their first three outings, the Orchard County have accumulated nine points, beating Cavan, Roscommon and Monaghan to lead the way in Division Two.
The former Kildare goalkeeper has been delighted with his sides progress so far and he has given 25 players game time throughout the campaign.
“It’s great to have all these matches and you had three league games last year and a semi-final into a final then,” said McCormack.
“But we have six good games, and a lot of girls are getting a run there so it’s brilliant to see. We’ve a big panel and there’s a lot of new girls after coming in in the last couple of weeks and we are getting better.
“It’s just tuning things up and working on things in training, defence, forward work, whatever it is, every week we’re working on something. It’s all positive. The girls are working hard and they’re not just making up the numbers, each girl that’s in here, they’re working hard three or four times a week.
“For those girls starting today (against Monaghan) the girls coming on, the finishers as we call them, they deserve every minute they’re getting so it’s great.
“There’s a lot of college action coming up the next couple of weeks, so we’ll keep things the way they’re going.
“We’ll adapt the workload for different girls, player welfare is very important so it’s good to have a big panel there and we’ll use that to our advantage, and we’ll keep rotating.”
Armagh take on Tyrone this weekend, their third battle with an Ulster opponent in the first four games, and McCormack is expecting another tough test.
They head to Omagh on Sunday for their third away game from their four league clashes. “It’s a tough Ulster game, nothing’s coming easy with all these games, it’ll be a tough game.
“Tyrone will be hurting from their loss last week to Monaghan (and loss to Cavan in round three). It’ll be tough but we’ll just put the shoulder to the wheel, and we’ll keep going.”
Armagh’s have been defensively sound so far throughout the campaign and conceded their first and only goal of the season the last day out against Monaghan.
Carrickcruppen shot stopper Anna Carr kept two clean sheets against Cavan and Roscommon while Clodagh McCambridge is one of the best full backs in the business.
McCormack was disappointed to concede a “sloppy” goal against the Farney County but was delighted with their attacking power on a day when Aimee Mackin, Armagh’s top scorer with 2-10, only came into the game at half time.
“It was a sloppy enough goal, so we’ll have to look at it again and we’ll improve on how to stop those silly mistakes,” noted McCormack. “But racking up 1-13 is a good score.”