"This is what you train all year for, for finals"

June 15, 2018

Armagh joint-manager Lorraine McCaffrey

by Daragh Small

Armagh joint-manager Lorraine McCaffrey says there will be no dwelling on the past when they launch a daring bid to dethrone reigning champions Donegal in the TG4 Ulster ladies senior final.

Armagh make the trip to Brewster Park in Enniskillen on Sunday (3.45pm) where they will aim for their first senior provincial crown since 2014.

McCaffrey's side claimed their first victory in the TG4 Ulster ladies championship in four years when they beat Cavan 2-14 to 1-14 in the semi-final at Inniskeen on 3 June.

Niamh Marley remains the only injury doubt as she fights back from a cruciate ligament injury. 

And the Armagh management insist it's all about the future.

"It's the new year, fresh set-up and everyone is looking forward, not back," said McCaffrey.

"More people are making more of the Cavan win than we are. We are new to the camp so we didn't have history on our back. The girls are the same and they just want to look forward. 

"The Cavan game was a typical Ulster championship match. We knew it was always going to be a close game and it was important to be able to close it out. Thankfully we did.

"In the last number of years there have always been tight games between Armagh and Donegal. And it's not as if Armagh have been in Division 2 for years and years. In many respects, Division 2 was more competitive. 

"We have had our setbacks along the way. It's about learning from those situations. The Cavan result proved that we did and we are looking forward.

"This is what you train all year for, for finals. The hard work is done - it's just about looking forward to Sunday."

McCaffrey, who is a civil servant by trade, is joint-manager of Armagh alongside Fionnuala McAtamney.

The pair were clubmates at Bredagh, where they also linked with Donegal's Aoife McDonnell.

And they played together before McCaffrey and McAtamney managed the Down club. 

Following on from that, they took the reins at Carrickcruppen in Armagh, and have progressed onto the senior inter-county set-up.

"We work well together. We have our different strengths. In all of the years we have worked together we have very rarely had a disagreement. It just works very well and I couldn't imagine working with anyone else," said McCaffrey.

"It's key because the two of us have to been on the same wavelength. If there is anything negative there the girls will pick up on it. 

"It's never happened. We have very close visions about how to play football and our ethics are very similar in terms of how we train and approach matches."

And McCaffrey who is a native of Lisnaskea is Fermanagh, believes the change in championship format has been justified but cannot comprehend the gap between the games.

"It's new and I can see the logic. What I don't understand is the provincial final is this weekend and some of the others are next weekend. You have a big gap of nearly a month," said McCaffrey. 

"Regardless if we win or lose it's four weeks until the next match. There must be some good reason behind it and I am just not party to that."

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