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Coleman and Mackin target triumphs for the ages

By John Campbell

A veteran manager and a precociously talented teenage forward who are separated by some four decades in terms of age will step into front-stage roles tomorrow when two Ulster clubs bid to reach their respective All-Ireland Ladies Football Championship finals.

Francie Coleman has been in charge of the superbly consistent Donaghmoyne side for all but one season since 1991 and is now bidding to steer the side to back-to-back All-Ireland senior titles at the expense of Munster champions Mourneabbey, while Aimee Mackin, 19, shoulders the main thrust of the scoring hopes of Armagh side Shane O'Neill's who will attempt to hurdle Parnells, London in their intermediate semi-final.

The duo may be separated by decades in terms of age but they are united in their drive to bring success to their clubs and by extension their counties and Ulster.

Coleman mused: "It would be great if this Donaghmoyne team could win back-to-back All-Ireland titles.

"A good team can win a title once but it takes a great team to retain it.

"It's something we have never done before and there is a tremendous yearning within the side to achieve this goal."

Donaghmoyne's hopes will rest on how Amanda Casey and Cora Courtney fare at midfield but if they can supply Niamh Callan, Rosemary Courtney and Louise Kerley in particular with possession, then the Monaghan champions could well get past their Cork opponents.

"We know that we are facing a very good side in Mourneabbey who have just had a triple success in Munster and will certainly be in confident mood," pointed out Coleman.

Shane O'Neill's, meanwhile, will hope that Mackin can replicate the explosive scoring power which saw her compile a staggering overall total of 17-38 in the Armagh and Ulster Championships.

She landed four goals in the 8-7 to 6-9 defeat of Fermanagh champions Kinawley in the Ulster Intermediate final but acknowledges that Parnells will be even more difficult opponents.

"We are fortunate maybe in that we have home advantage in Camlough and we should get the backing of a big crowd," said Mackin.

"While I have been lucky to get some scores so far, I don't mind if I am off-target this time as long as the team win. That's all that matters. There is a tremendous buzz surrounding this game."

Skipper Louise Kenny will lead the side from centre-half-back while full-back Emma Kenny is another key defender.

They will certainly find that they have their hands full against a Parnells attack that includes fine finishers in Niamh Murphy, Fiona Morrissey and Aine Gormley.

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