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O'Hanlon can unwrap perfect birthday gift

By John Campbell

Armagh's long-serving midfield ace Caroline O'Hanlon is hoping to land a birthday bonus when the Orchard face Kerry in tonight's All-Ireland Ladies' Football Senior Championship quarter-final at Nowlan Park, Kilkenny (6.30pm).

O'Hanlon, a Newry GP, may be every bit the veteran of the team now at 33 but nonetheless continues to wield huge influence, and this was never more amply demonstrated than in the team's recent win over Westmeath in a tense qualifier.

She landed two goals in that game, one an audacious lob from some 30m, in forcibly stamping her imprint on proceedings.

Today she will have a key role in the middle third of the park while the Mackin sisters Aimee and Blaithid will carry the team's scoring hopes up front.

Lauren McConville, Caoimhe Morgan, Aoife McCory and Niamh Marley are other experienced personnel in an Armagh side that was unfortunate to experience relegation in the league.

Manager Sean O'Kane has watched his side's roller-coaster season evolve and believes they are capable of avenging the narrow defeat they suffered at the hands of Kerry in their last meeting.

Meanwhile, Fermanagh will hope to step up on their recent form when they meet Antrim in the All-Ireland Junior Championship Group Two Round 2 at St Patrick's, Donagh tomorrow (2pm).

The Erne side showed impressive consistency in overcoming Derry in three meetings to date this term but manager Emmet Curry is adamant that they will be taking nothing for granted against the Saffrons.

Eimear Smyth, Joanne Doonan, Sharon Murphy, Marita McDonald and Aine McGovern underpin a Fermanagh outfit which may have finished third in Division Four but is now anxious to make a big impression on the Championship stage.

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