Donnelly hoping to guide Armagh to league final

By Shaun Casey

ARMAGH have been knocking on the promotion door over the past couple of seasons, but a few marginal defeats in league semi-finals and finals has saw them remain in Division 3A, but the goal of getting out hasn’t changed.

They’re back in another semi-final and this time around it’s Roscommon who are standing in their way of reaching another showpiece.

Leanne Donnelly, joint captain of the team along with goalkeeper Ciarraí Devlin, hopes her side can get back to the decider and go one step further than they have done in previous years.

“Last year we lost out in the final by one point against Carlow, so we’ve been there or thereabouts over the last couple of campaigns. We have to get over this semi-final first and then hopefully we can go that one step further.

“We’ll have to get over Roscommon first and then we can start thinking of the final all being well, and then push on hopefully.”

Armagh have already earned one victory over their Connacht opponents as the two sides crossed paths in the opening round of the National League when the Orchard County earned a 5-15 to 4-10 victory.

Donnelly missed out that day but has featured in the two encounters that followed, a round two defeat to table-toppers Laois when she scored a point, and a five-point win over Kildare that confirmed their second-place finish.

“I actually missed that first game so I’m definitely looking forward to Saturday’s match,” added Donnelly, who plays her club camogie in Tyrone with Eglish

“I watched the first game back and we’ve been working on lots of stuff to try and improve us all over the pitch.

“Hopefully we can keep going and give another good performance just like the last day against them.”

Goals were key in that opening round with Sinead Quinn (2), Rachael Merry, Niamh Forker and Caoimhe O’Kane all raising green flags, but Sean Hughes’ side have failed to hit the net since.

They do have plenty of firepower up front however, with Quinn and Merry constantly chipping in with regular scores while the return of Donnelly’s older sister Ciara (Geoghegan) has bolstered their attacking options further.

“That was the first match so everybody was told to go out and play their best and do what they can do. Our forwards are brilliant and whenever it came to it that day, they took their goals, but Roscommon were the same at the other end of the pitch.

“The goals are the winner at the end of the day and hopefully we can chip in with a few more goals on Saturday.”

This weekend’s clash is the fourth of the season that Armagh have had at home, which is a nice plus.

“You don’t have to get up as early or travel and a wee lie in will do us no harm before a semi-final. The home advantage will help but Roscommon will be ready,” Donnelly added.

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