Ladies previews: Cavan need win over rampant Armagh ladies

All Ireland Senior Championship Group One round two

Armagh v Cavan

Saturday, Clones, 5.30pm

LAST week, Gaelic Life made the point that Armagh seemed to be catching form at the right time, and they justified those remarks with a convincing victory over Monaghan by 4-17 to 1-12.

As a result of that performance they should be confident of making it two-from-two against Cavan this weekend, a side which are in desperate need of a victory after losing their first group stage match to Mayo.

This is the only group with four teams as opposed to three, with the top two teams advancing from each group.

That makes it a little harder for these teams, but Armagh can effectively secure their place in the quarter-finals if they come up trumps against the Breffni county.

When they met in the league earlier in the year, Cavan emerged as surprise victors on a scoreline of 2-12 to 1-14 with Sinead Greene, who has returned this year, and substitute Emma Halton getting the goals. Another player worth mentioning is Amy Rooney, who came off the bench and scored six points in their 1-18 to 0-15 defeat to Mayo.

It seems foolish to read too much into that result, however; Armagh lost to Monaghan in the league as well, but have more than made amends with resounding victories over the Farney county in both the Ulster Championship and All-Ireland Championship.

They didn’t have it all their own way in last weekend’s group stage win, but they pulled away in the second half with a devastating 3-5 without reply with goals from Kelly Mallon, Eve Lavery and Alex Clarke.

Their form of the last 12 months suggests that the Orchard county should win this one – they have their sights firmly set on making the All-Ireland semis for the second year in-a-row – but Cavan’s need is greater. It could be closer than anticipated, but we’ll give Armagh the nod.

Verdict: Armagh

All Ireland Senior Championship Group One round two

Mayo v Monaghan

Saturday, Ballinamore, 2pm

AFTER a really promising start to the season, Monaghan seemed to have lost track a little bit with successive defeats to Armagh.

Perhaps that was always going to be the case as the Orchard county finally found their feet after a forgettable league campaign, and Monaghan will take heart that they were competitive for large stretches of their All-Ireland group stage clash last Saturday.

They were level four times until a devastating Armagh purple patch left them playing catch-up, so their manager Ciaran Murphy will try to accentuate the positives rather than dwelling too much on a period where they shipped 3-5 without reply.

There’s no other way about it – they basically need to defeat Connacht titans Mayo if they’re to have any chance of finishing in the top two and progressing to the quarter-finals.

Like Armagh, Mayo have already picked up three points following their 1-18 to 0-15 opening day victory over Cavan last weekend.

Mayo are traditionally strong, but they haven’t reached the All-Ireland final since they lost out in 2017 and are in the midst of a transition at present.

They’ll still be favourites to prevail, but Monaghan will remember that they upset the odds against Tipperary in last year’s championship.

Verdict: Mayo

All Ireland Senior Championship Group Four round two

Donegal v Galway

Saturday, Markievicz Park, 4pm

THIS is Donegal’s first match of the campaign as there are only three teams in Group Four.

They watched on at the weekend as their upcoming opponents Galway got up and running with a one-point victory over Kerry, but they’ll have every confidence that they can do the business at Markievicz Park.

It’s been a good season to date for Maxi Curran’s side and four Donegal girls were named on the Team of the League – namely, Geraldine McLaughlin, Karen Guthrie, Katy Herron and Evelyn McGinley. They won all three of their Division One group stage clashes, including a resounding 4-21 to 2-10 victory over Galway at Tuam, and they’ll be disappointed if they can’t carry that form into the championship.

In particular, they’ve been racking up big scores, and they probably want to prove a point after seeing Armagh get all the plaudits last year for being the only Ulster team which made it out of the group stages in the All-Ireland race.

Galway can effectively secure their place in the quarter-finals here after their opening day victory over Kerry. They won by the bare minimum, with the final scoreline reading 2-11 to 2-10, but it’s worth noting that the Kingdom scored one of their goals in the final minute. They have a good spread of scorers on their side, but Donegal are one of the in-form teams in the country and should have enough to prevail ahead of their crunch clash against Kerry on the final weekend.

Verdict: Donegal

All Ireland Intermediate Championship Group Four round two

Down v Louth

Saturday, Pairc Esler, 3pm

THE Down ladies seem to have turned a corner in the last few weeks.

Not only did they claim the Ulster Intermediate title with victory over Fermanagh, which was a huge boost for a county crying out for silverware, but they got up and running in the championship with an entertaining 3-14 to 2-14 win over Offaly.

Caoibhe Sloan and Peter Lynch’s side are now in the driving seat in Group Four of the Intermediate Championship, and not for the first time, Natasha Ferris was key to their victory, scoring 2-1 in the space of 60 seconds. It was a game that ebbed and flowed, but Down showed tremendous character as they were six points behind at one stage in the first half, and trailed by five early in the second . On paper, they should have too much for Louth, but they’re no bad team and won this year’s Division Four title.

Verdict: Down

All Ireland Junior Championship round two

Antrim v Carlow

Sunday, Lannleire, 1.30pm

THE Saffrons have been tipping along nicely this season, but they received their first major setback when they lost to Derry in their first group stage match of the Junior Championship.

To say it was a surprise would be putting it mildly – the Saffrons had already dispatched Derry on two occasions this year, and it seemed a given that they would claim a third victory over a team that had been really struggling.

Perhaps it’ll do them no harm in the long run as they have time to bounce back and make something of their championship campaign. Carlow didn’t pick up a single win in the league, so Emma Kelly’s Antrim side will be warm favourites to get their campaign back on track ahead of their final matches against Wicklow and Limerick.

Verdict: Antrim

All Ireland Junior (Championship Round 2)

Derry v Limerick

Sunday, Kinnegad, 2pm

WHATEVER happens in the remainder of their campaign, victory over Antrim on day one was a major weight off the shoulders for Derry ladies football.

Their 1-7 to 0-7 victory over the Saffrons was their first win in over two years, and it was something of a bolt from the blue as they’d really struggled thus far this season.

But they clearly didn’t let a string of defeats get to them as they upset the odds with Ciara McGuck getting the all-important goal. In an interview after the game with Derry Post Sports editor Michael McMullan, their manager Odhran McNeilly said the players were joyous after the game, but that they are equally keen to prove that it wasn’t a one-off.

Their second round opponents Limerick had a big win over Derry last year, so they’ll be favourites to prevail, but Derry will feel confident that they can at least narrow the gap between the two teams.

Verdict: Limerick

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