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Lethal Mackin key to success for Orchard girls

By John Campbell

Aimee Mackin can expect to come in for special attention when she lines out with Armagh in today's All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship preliminary round tie against Laois at Clones (6.30pm).

In nine games in her county's colours to date this year, Mackin has scored a whopping 14-44 making her the most lethal forward in the ladies sector.

Yet despite the lithe forward's stunning accuracy and the fact that Laois have not won a game this year, Armagh boss James Daly is treading cautiously.

He is without the suspended Marian McGuinness and has been forced to tweak his side.

"When you are going into the All-Ireland series you can take nothing for granted," said Daly. "This will be a test for us and Laois will be very keen to show better form."

Armagh skipper Caroline O'Hanlon is conscious that her side must strive to regain credibility having surrendered their Ulster crown to Monaghan.

"It was disappointing to lose to Monaghan a few weeks ago and we have to try and make up for that," says O'Hanlon, a hospital doctor.

"We have a big point to make and we certainly will be treating Laois with every respect. They will feel they have lost ground to make up.

"We beat them well last year but that guarantees us nothing in terms of this match."

A win for Armagh today would earn them a qualifier meeting with Westmeath and the winners of that game would then face Monaghan.

Thus the Orchard County have an opportunity to cross swords with Monaghan again but skipper O'Hanlon is not looking beyond today's game.

"We are taking one step at a time, it would be foolish to do otherwise," she added.

Meanwhile, Cavan will carry the favourites tag into their clash with Down on the Clones double-bill (4.45pm).

Down suffered a humiliating 10-35 to 0-4 setback against Donegal in the Ulster Championship and their form suggests that they will find the Breffni girls formidable opponents today.

And Down's cause is not helped by the fact that several players have been suffering from a stomach bug this week meaning that joint managers Sara Rankin and Conor O'Neill are unlikely to finalise their line-up until just before throw-in.

Belfast Telegraph


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