Clodagh McCambridge braced for ‘knock-out’ clash against the Farney


Armagh v Monaghan

Saturday, Athletic Grounds, 2pm

By Niall Gartland

ALL-STAR defender Clodagh McCambridge knows they can’t afford to take the eye off the ball when they face Monaghan in their second and final group stage clash this weekend.

The Orchard Ladies are strong favourites to advance at Monaghan’s expense if they play to their potential, but they need to make sure that complacency doesn’t become a factor.

While the Farney County only managed a single point when they played Meath a fortnight ago, they still reached the Division Two semi-final earlier in the year and lost by only three points to eventual league champions Kerry.

With that in mind, Lurgan girl Clodagh McCambridge is appreciative that this isn’t a game to be taken lightly.

“The way we look at this is that it’s effectively a knock-out game, and looking at past results we know that anything can happen on the day. We’ll be looking to build on our performances so far this year but Monaghan will throw everything at us as both of us can still get out of our group.”

McCambridge, an exceptional full-back, was in fine form as Armagh played out a low-scoring draw against All-Ireland champions Meath in their first group stage game last weekend. It ended 0-9 apiece, but there was still a tinge of disappointment as the Orchard County led by three points heading into the closing stages. McCambridge points out that they made a better fist of things than when they played the Royals in last year’s championship, so they’ve taken great heart from the performance, if not the overall result.

“We were saying after the game that it shows how well we’ve been going, that we were disappointed to come away with a draw. We had the opportunities to win but at the same time we were lucky to at least avoid defeat.

“Comparing it to the Meath game last year, we were comprehensively beaten even though we got a goal at the end to put a bit of gloss on the scoreline. We’ve definitely made progress so it’s just a matter of maintaining that consistency. It’s been an issue in the past, and even this year we slipped up against Kerry in the Division Two final, so that’s something we’re definitely mindful of.”

It was a claustrophobic battle against the Royals but it showed the Orchard girls that they have it in their locker to stay patient and take their chances when they arise.

McCambridge said: “It was a different type of game than we played the rest of the year. They set up defensively so we had to manage that and make sure we weren’t caught on the break. It ended up being a game for defenders rather than forwards and that was reflected in the scoreline.”

Armagh forwards like Aimee Mackin and Caroline O’Hanlon, to name just two, have won plenty of praise for years now for their brilliant attacking performances, but McCambridge, who made her intercounty debut in 2015, got her name in lights when she won an All-Star in the 2021 season. It was nice to get the award, but it would be even sweeter to make the breakthrough at All-Ireland level.

“It was a nice surprise but it’s just important to me that Armagh keep doing well. We’ve definitely made progress but we don’t want to stop now and we’d love to get an All-Ireland final win in the next few years.”



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