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Armagh and Red Hands out to lift semi-final hopes

 

By John Campbell

Armagh and Tyrone face stiff tests tomorrow as they bid to claim semi-final spots in Division Two of the Lidl National Football League.

While the Orchard County will host a reinvigorated Waterford side at the St Paul's club in Lurgan, the Red Hands will travel to face Laois at Stradbally.

Last weekend, Armagh turned on the style in overcoming Laois with Aimee Mackin in hot scoring form while at the same time Tyrone racked up 6-9 in beating Clare.

Tomorrow, the Orchard County will again look to the accurate Mackin to put scores on the board while the Red Hands will place their faith in the superbly consistent Gemma Begley to set the tone for their overall performance.

Armagh have now won three matches on the trot and their new-found consistency could prove a big spur against a Waterford side in fine form right now. Their handsome win over Cavan last weekend when they recovered well underlined that they mean business.

Begley, who has been very much to the fore in Tyrone's colours in recent years, believes that her team have ground to make up after a faltering start to the league.

"We need to get another win against Laois if we are to have any chance of staying in contention for a semi-final place," she pointed out.

Tyrone certainly showed their scoring touch last weekend but could find Laois difficult opponents on their own patch.

In Division Three, Down have already qualified for the semi-finals which eases the pressure in terms of their clash with Wexford tomorrow in Downpatrick but with the visitors having remained undefeated after five outings they could certainly provide a test of the Mourne County's resolve.

Last weekend, Down looked to be heading for defeat against Kildare but they inched over the line in the closing moments -something they would be happy to do tomorrow.

In Division Four, Fermanagh, with Eimear Smyth in hot form, journey to face Limerick knowing that their opponents need a win to make the semi-finals. But the Erne girls are rather more focused on achieving their own goal which is to get a win that would guarantee them a top-four finish.

Antrim, meanwhile, know they must win against Carlow if they are to stay in the hunt for a top-four place but struggling Derry are unlikely to derive any comfort when Kilkenny are their visitors at Steelstown. The Oak Leafs badly need a win to massage morale.

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