Cavan to maintain status while Donegal should triumph

By Niall McCoy

Ulster Ladies Senior Football

Championship final

Armagh v Donegal

Saturday, Healy Park, 2pm

ARMAGH may be Ulster champions, but their recent record against Donegal in Ulster finals should come with a health warning.

Maxi Curran’s side didn’t enter last year’s competition, but the two counties did meet in the 2018 and ’19 finals. On those occasions the Tir Chonaill county first posted a ridiculous 9-21 and then 5-12 the next year. Their combined winning margin over those two games was a staggering 43 points.

As well as the scoring difference, it was evident that Donegal were physically far more imposing in those two games, and that was an area Ronan Murphy and his coaching team addressed ahead of the 2020 season.

When the sides meet this Saturday, physically Armagh shouldn’t be dominated, and they have put together an attacking unit that can cause mayhem with Aimee Mackin, Kelly Mallon, Aoife McCoy and Alex Clarke capable of magic.

The question will be can their defence contain Donegal? The fact that Caroline O’Hanlon will miss out means that they also will be under added pressure in the middle.

Donegal’s All-Ireland campaign came to an end following a five-point loss to Dublin.

For the first 10 minutes it looked like a famous day was on the agenda. They raced into a 1-2 lead and then Bláthnáid McLaughlin saw a great effort saved onto the crossbar by Ciara Trant. If that had been a few inches lower, Donegal may not have been caught.

Verdict: Donegal

All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football

Championship relegation play-off

Cavan v Tyrone

Saturday, Clones, 2pm

SENIOR status for another season will be the prize on offer for the victor here as Tyrone and Cavan clash at Breffni Park.

The loser won’t definitely drop down, but a relegation final against Tipperary isn’t the most appealing of tasks.

This, of course, will see former Red Hand boss Gerry Moane come up against his former number two and current Tyrone manager Kevin McCrystal.

Cavan were never outclassed in their defeats to Monaghan, Mayo and Armagh, but they went through bad spells.

Tyrone found things trickier against Waterford and Dublin, but they did show plenty of heart in the opening quarter of their defeat to the All-Ireland champions.

Verdict: Cavan

All-Ireland Ladies Intermediate Football

Championship relegation play-off

Fermanagh v Offaly

Sunday, Boyle, 2pm

LONGFORD await the loser here, and Fermanagh will be hoping that they don’t have to worry about them as they face Offaly in this relegation semi-final. The Erne county can count themselves unfortunate to be in this position. They started with a one-point loss to Leitrim and then lost out to Clare by eight points. Offaly, likewise, have suffered a couple of narrow defeats and this should go right to the wire.

Verdict: Offaly

All-Ireland Ladies Junior Football

Championship semi-final

Antrim v Carlow

Sunday, Lannleire, 1pm

ANTRIM’S pursuit of a first All-Ireland Junior title since 2012 continues when they meet Carlow on Sunday.

The Saffrons have lost the 2016 final since, but they have felt that they are primed for a good challenge this year. They will take confidence from their group win over Carlow at the same venue as they posted 5-20. Another 16-point win seems unlikely, but Antrim should make it back to the final.

Verdict: Antrim

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