The Mayo Ladies senior footballers will be getting a taste of heading to the capital tomorrow for a big championship game, a few weeks before they hope to do the same again when it is all up for grabs in the All Ireland final.
Peter Leahy’s side got their championship campaign off to a flying start last Saturday when they saw off Tyrone in their opening group game in the most comprehensive of ways - beating the Ulster side 4-17 to 0-4 in Carrick-on-Shannon.
That win has set up a winner-takes-all clash with Armagh in Parnell Park tomorrow afternoon at 3.15pm with a spot in the All Ireland semi-final up for grabs for the winners - for those eager to follow the game it will be live on TG4 as well as local radio commentary on Mid West Radio.
Armagh showed in their championship opener against Tyrone a fortnight ago that they know how to go for goals to kill off game early, hitting the Red Hand County for five in the first half of their meeting before adding a sixth goal in the second half
Aoife McCoy grabbed three of those goals with Aimee Mackin, Caroline O’Hanlon and Kelly Mallon also raising the green flag for the Orchard County - with Mackin and Mallon finishing up that game with 1-6 and 1-3 respectively.
Mayo will have to be on top form tomorrow afternoon if they are to book a spot in the final four of the championship. Collectively they put in a very good hard-working shift last weekend against Tyrone, with Laura Brennan doing everything she needed to in goal - the full back line of Saoirse Lally, Roisin Durkin and Ciara McManamon were able to handle everything that was thrown at them.
The half back line consisting of Dayna Finn, Ella Brennan and Eilis Ronaye, provided a good attacking base for the team, along with doing their defensive duties well, while the midfield pairing of Aileen Gilroy and Clodagh McManamon were on top in their department all day.
Up front Mayo shook the rust off their shooting boots early on last Saturday to run out comprehensive winners in impressive style - keeping going for scores even when the outcome of the game was a foregone conclusion.
The forward unit were patient when they needed to be and aggressive when the chances presented, with Grace Kelly, Sinead Cafferkey, Maria Reilly and Rachel Kearns all working well alongside Sarah Rowe and Tamara O’Connor.
Things started as good as they could for Mayo with Tamara O’Connor intercepting a short kick-out from the Tyrone goalkeeper and rattling the ball to the back of the net from close range.
Mayo did find it hard to convert the chances they were creating for the majority of the rest of the first quarter of the game, but once they found their groove, they kept piling on the scores.
Sarah Rowe hit 2-9 of Mayo’s total; her first goal was swept to the back of the net after an incisive break up the field, involving Aileen Gilroy, Rachel Kearns and Sinead Cafferkey. She plundered her second not long before the end after Mayo intercepted another poor Tyrone kick-out.
Mayo will be hoping that Rowe and the rest of her attacking colleagues can keep up that kind of showing on Saturday, against what will be expected to be a more difficult challenge.
The sides met in the All Ireland quarter final last year in a game which Mayo edged by three points on a score of 2-12 to 1-12, thanks to goals from Reilly and Rowe. This one could be as close tomorrow afternoon - with once again a spot in the All Ireland semi-final up for grabs.