ARMAGH ladies must overcome past disappointment tomorrow (Saturday) in order to take the first steps towards a dream campaign for Orchard County bowls.
The ladies face Oriel this weekend in the Inter-Zone Championship final aiming to recover from defeat during last year’s showpiece occasion. If Armagh manage to register victory - a seventh title triumph - it would provide the perfect start to a sequence of high-profile fixtures over the next few weeks.
Armagh men’s inter-zone final is scheduled for February 16, with the juniors set to contest the closing stages of national competition across March.
Although hat-trick glory across the Orchard County programme would prove a landmark achievement, the ladies’ primary motivation on Saturday will be the opportunity to make amends for a below-par 2012 reverse.
“The Donegal final was just one of those days when we failed to perform and that certainly left everyone smarting,” said Flo McNally, a member of the Armagh playing squad and the area’s zone convenor. “Certainly that was a factor when it came to this season’s championships and we will arrive in Killyman this weekend aiming to put the 2012 result in the past.
“We want to put last year behind us all and everyone is upbeat about the final.
“It is impossible to put a finger on what went wrong against Donegal but everyone is really keen to put things right.
“We have players with plenty of experience and ability so just need the performance to match the occasion.
“However, we accept it is going to be a tough test and Oriel have just one previous inter-zone win but a squad in superb form and full of confidence.
“It will be a well-matched final for sure and Oriel can go into the match with the same hopes and ambitions.
“It is all going to come down to small margins on the day.
“Our squad has been together now, in the main, for quite a number of years and over the past decade the ladies can boast some tremendous inter-zone runs.
“But it is all about Saturday and treating Oriel with respect but also going in with a winning attitude.
“Ladies’ bowls tends to pull players from a reasonably limited pool so squads stick together for a number of years.
“We have been able to make the best out of the squad’s talents in the past and want to avoid the same low feeling as last year.
“We can expect a large crowd and a win would certainly be the perfect way to kick off such an important period for bowls in the area.
“However, irrespective of results for the ladies, men and juniors, credit must go to everyone who has put in so much hard work towards reaching this point.”