Clodagh focused on Meath test

By Shaun Casey

ARMAGH begin their All-Ireland championship campaign with a home tie against Meath and will do so without top scorer Aimee Mackin, who’s ruled out for the rest of the season with a cruciate injury.

But Orchard skipper Clodagh McCambridge says her side have fully turned their attention towards the All-Ireland series, although does admit that Mackin is a huge loss, not only for Gregory McGonigle’s girls, but for the sport in general.

Mackin limped off the field, having kicked 0-4, during Armagh’s extra-time Ulster final victory over Donegal, but showed great resilience to get the job done even without their best player.

“It’s a big loss to the group in terms of what she offers on the pitch,” said McCambridge. “Obviously, she’s still there in the background and can add so much to the group off the pitch as well, but we’ll definitely miss her talents, and it’s sad even for the whole sport in general.

“Not getting to see her playing championship football this summer is a loss but regardless, I know the group is really focused on making the most of what we have. We’ve had a really positive build-up.

“We’ve had Blaithin Mackin back in as well and she’s flying, which is a great addition.

“I think we just have to accept it; it’s about moving forward.”

And on the prospect of facing a renowned Meath team who won the All-Ireland title just two years ago, McCambridge continued: “We’re coming up against former All-Ireland champions and it doesn’t get too much harder than that.

“We had a really tough game against them in the league and I know we got the win out of that, but it’s completely different when it’s in the championship.

“They’re a really well-established senior championship winning team, so it’s going to be a tough challenge, but one I know that we’re looking forward to.”

It’s been a terrific season so far for Armagh, who have already collected the Division One National League title and the Ulster crown, having lost just once in 2024, a dead-rubber league tie against Dublin.

The Clann Éireann defender said: “You can get into the habit of winning and it breeds a bit of confidence. Getting a Division One title is probably something we weren’t expecting at the start of the year.

“Then to back that up in Ulster, I think will give the rest of the girls a lot of confidence.”

The mood in the camp is good and with home advantage this weekend, McCambridge is hoping the Armagh fans come out to support the ladies on what is a big occasion game for the county.

“We’re well used to playing in the BOX-IT Athletic Grounds at this stage. Everyone loves playing there and it’s a great surface, so hopefully we’ll get a good enough crowd at it.

“Our u-14s are playing in an All-Ireland final after us, so it should be a good buzz, and hopefully we’ll get a good crowd out to support us.”

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