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Armagh keen to prove manager's 'right to be here'

By Declan Bogue

Armagh manager James Daly claims his side are in the All-Ireland semi-final "on merit", and have earned the right to face Dublin, at Parnell Park today (2pm).

The Orchard county have perhaps surprised themselves by getting to this point, having featured in the Intermediate final in 2012, but Dromintee clubman Daly is keen that they should grasp their chance.

"No doubt about it, we are delighted we are back in an All-Ireland semi-final," he said.

"We are a year further down the road, a bit more experienced and we know how good Dublin are. We are there on merit, we are not there because somebody decided to put us there. We are there because we won our way to the All-Ireland semi-final."

There is no doubt that Daly's side contains performers of the highest calibre.

The first name that springs to mind is Caroline O'Hanlon, helped in part by her profile in playing netball for Northern Ireland, but they also have rich talent in free-scoring Aoife Lennon, Aimee Mackin and a sound goalkeeper in Katie Daly, manager James' daughter.

A sideshow blew up around the start of the week when the manager found himself irked by the refusal of the GAA to play this fixture as a curtain-raiser to the men's semi-final, evoking a similar example a few years ago.

"In 2012, we were in an All-Ireland Intermediate final and there was a replay in the hurling final (Kilkenny and Galway) and they announced right away after the hurling draw that it would be on the 30th of September," Daly recalled.

"Little did they realise that the women's finals were set to be on that date and they were all bumped on a week.

"President O'Neill said at the time that these things will never be done again but, look, here we are again. As they do, they just pushed in and I am not happy at all."

Dublin, who were defeated by undoubted Queenpins Cork in last year's final, are managed by none other than Gregory McGonigle of Dungiven, former Monaghan and UUJ boss, and he will be familiar with many of the Armagh players through university football. They should have enough to reach another final.

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