Ulster final weekend preview - Armagh and Monaghan tipped



This year’s TG4 Ulster finals will take place
in Clones on Sunday 15th August. In the senior final
Monaghan will play new kids on the block Donegal,
while Armagh and Cavan will meet in the junior decider.

For the first time since 1994 Tyrone will not
be appearing in the Provincial final, instead last
years All-Ireland Junior winners, Donegal will take
on Monaghan. Marc Curran has done an excellent job
in getting his team into the final. It usually takes
a Junior side a couple of seasons to get use to the
extra pace of Senior football but the Tir Chonnail
side are in the final on merit. In the round robin
series they beat Tyrone and Down and were unlucky
to loose to Monaghan. Many of their experienced players
have retired and the youngsters that have come in
have delivered the goods. Against Monaghan they held
their own until the Farney side introduced Edel Byrne
who was to contribute four points in the second half.
In their next game they beat Tyrone 2-9 to 0-12. Some
say they were lucky however I always remember what
Eamon Coleman use to say about such victories – “I’d
rather win a bad game than loose a classic”. In that
game St. Eunan’s Maureen O Donnell scored 2-6 to become
the championships top scorer. In their final game
O Donnell extended her tally even further when she
notched 2-9 against Down. And in case your wondering
if O’Donnell is their only scoring forward, you would
be very much mistaken. Yvonne Mc Monagle, Shelia Campbell
and Marie Mc Dermott have all been consistent in front
of the posts.

Monaghan won their three championship league games
with ease. That in itself could be a concern to new
manager John Mc Aleer as he will have to ensure that
player’s feet are kept firmly rooted to the ground.
For the first time in several years he has a full
squad to pick from. The return of Niamh Kindlon and
Edel Byrne who missed the league campaign has bolstered
his attack. Veteran Brenda Mc Anespie who is in remarkable
shape at 38 adds a lot of experience to his side.
A real plus in the campaign so far has been the performance
of his defence. They have conceded very little and
their discipline has been excellent. The strength
of his side is evident by the fact that the likes
of Aisling Tierney and Kerrie Quigley can not make
the first fifteen. All in all, the senior final should
be intriguing. A youthful Donegal have absolutely
nothing to loose while everyone will be expecting
Monaghan to win. Both sides like to play football
and will concentrate on their own strengths. The game
should be a cracker and I have a sneaky feeling Monaghan
will edge it, however Donegal will give them plenty
of food for thought.


No disrespect to any junior team in the province,
but Cavan and Armagh are the best two sides in Ulster
and deserve to be in the final. Cavan have been underperforming
all year but have still managed to reach the final.
Indeed they are the only team to have beaten Armagh
this season. Full back Emer Reilly has been outstanding
all year and many attackers have failed to get the
better of her. Captain Joanne Mc Nally is the first
to admit that they have underperformed however they
keep getting the results. Part of the reason for that
has been the form of Grainne Smith and Emma Clarke.
Smith has electrifying pace and when deployed in the
half forward line she can strike with purpose. In
the last round robin game against Monaghan she scored
four points from play off Sharon Courtney who is thought
to be one of the quickest defenders in the Farney
County. Clarke has an arrogance, about her that you
have to admire. If she has one fault it his her lack
of aggression. She tends to beat you twice rather
than beat you once and go on. With that said she is
an ace forward and would easily find her place in
any senior team in the country.

Armagh has adapted a very professional approach to
this year’s championship. No stones are left unturned
and they will start the final as red hot favorites.
Before their last game in which they beat Derry 3-16
to 0-5 they had spent the weekend at a training camp
in County Tyrone. They are superbly fit, have a high
skill level and real strength in depth. Captain Bronagh
O Donnell commands the side from centre back. In midfield
Caroline O Hanlon and Alma O Donnell are powerful
runners who love to get forward. Last day out O Donnell
scored 1-2 from play with her goal set up by O Hanlon.
In attack they have several deadly forwards. Aileen
Matthews has been a revelation at full forward were
she has been assisted by the excellent Mairead Tennyson
and Aoife Lennon.

So who will win? No disrespect to Cavan but I think
they are just a step or two behind Armagh. I reckon
that the Orchard girls will advance and will be in
with a very good chance of All-Ireland honors come
September. The venue for the games on Sunday is St.
Tiernach’s Park, Clones. The Junior decider will start
at 1-45pm and the Senior game is scheduled for 3-45pm.
Half time entertainment will be provided by U-12 teams
from the counties involved. Admission to the games
is €10 or £7. There is a special rate for OAP’s and
U14’s are free.

Further information is available from Ulster PRO –
Paul Swift at 07703594984 or email pswift5@eircom.net

Sign up to our email newsletter


Partners & Supporters





See all LGFAClubs