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Hard task ahead for Armagh in Senior Cup final

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Scarlet Knipe is out of the Armagh squad for Saturday's Senior Cup final clash with Dungannon at Havelock Park (1.30pm)

Scarlet Knipe is out of the Armagh squad for Saturday's Senior Cup final clash with Dungannon at Havelock Park (1.30pm)

Scarlet Knipe is out of the Armagh squad for Saturday's Senior Cup final clash with Dungannon at Havelock Park (1.30pm)

Scarlet Knipe is out of the Armagh squad for Saturday's Senior Cup final clash with Dungannon at Havelock Park (1.30pm).

The experienced midfielder is on a skiing holiday, booked several months ago, and was unable to change her plans.

Nevertheless, Armagh will still start as warm favourites to beat Dungannon, who are in their first season in Ulster's second tier.

In contrast, Niall McCool's team were playing in the Premier League this time last season and are currently clear leaders at the top of Senior One as they attempt to get back into the top flight at the first attempt.

But the Armagh coach is urging a cautious approach to the game despite having steered his team to victory in both corresponding league games.

"Dungannon are a strong side and, like ourselves, they will aiming to get into the Premier League next season by whatever means.

"Although no-one has given us any official confirmation, there has been talk of the top three teams going up to replace the three sides who will be competing in the Irish Hockey League next season.

"Our target is to win promotion outright come the end of the campaign and we also set our stall out to lift the Senior Cup.

"Losing Scarlet is obviously a blow but we still have a nice mix of youth and experience.

"But anything can happen in a final and we didn't play well in one of the Dungannon games and both were settled by a single goal, so it should be a tough game."

Dungannon have already exceeded their ambitions by being in the top half of the league table and reaching the cup final is a bonus.

"It's a great achievement especially as it's our first time in the competition in the club's 40-year history and it shows all the hard work both on and off the pitch is paying off," said team captain Lynda Elliott.

"The squad is really up for the game and there's been a lot of interest in the town ahead of the final, so we are expecting a big support on Saturday."

"We realise we will be the underdogs but the two games against them were very tight affairs, so we will give it our best shot and see what happens."

Belfast Telegraph


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