Logistical concerns surrounding St Patrick’s Day parades have forced GAA chiefs into switching this weekend’s planned LGFA and National Football League double header out of the Athletics Ground in Armagh.
Clare’s ladies footballers were due to take on the Orchard County as the curtain raiser to the National Football league clash of Armagh and Fermanagh on Saturday, but that has now been moved after safety concerns surrounding the upcoming parades were raised.
The ladies game will now go ahead on Saturday in Dromintee while the Armagh v Fermanagh game will be hosted in Crossmaglen.
It has already been a successful week for Clare captain Laurie Ryan after she was part of the University of Limerick side that captured the O’Connor Cup. It is her fourth title with the college in the last six years, while in the other two years she was on the wrong side of the result by a single point in the decider. She’s hoping to complete her PhD this year which will see her time as a university student come to an end, and the Banner Ladies club-woman admits it was a great moment to capture the title once more.
“It was brilliant to get to win it again especially after losing out in the final last year. Getting back to inter-county action was on my mind too because Armagh’s Amy Macken was playing in the game before us and she scored something like 2-12 so I was already thinking ahead to the weekend. The O’Connor Cup weekend is always a great celebration of ladies football but the focus now is on getting back to county training and being ready for Saturday” she said.
Clare come into the game this weekend still looking for their first win of the Division Two campaign following draws with Kerry and Wexford before losing out to Cavan. It’s been a few weeks since they’ve been in action after their clash with Laois was postponed due to the weather conditions a fortnight ago. Ryan feels having that break means they will come into this crucial tie refreshed.
She said: “We are looking forward to the trip to Armagh and we know they are going to give us a really tough test. They are one of the stronger teams in Division Two and they have some really quality players like Amy Macken and Caroline O’Hanlon. They’re probably two of the best footballers in the country at the moment so we have a big challenge ahead of us. We have plenty to play for and it is really hard to figure out this division at the moment. You are always trying to stay up and you could just as quickly find yourself in a semi-final. We started off well with the draw against Kerry in a game we maybe should have seen out to get the win. It was the opposite then against Wexford where we lucky to get the draw, and the Cavan game then was one where we let ourselves down a little bit in the last few minutes when we allowed them to get ahead of us for the first time. We have had a good few girls integrating into the team in each match during the league and that’s brilliant to see. Behind it all, you’re always going to have one eye on the summer, and the more quality games we can get now, the more it will stand to us as the season goes on”.