Armagh will be paying close attention to a Northern Ireland footballer in Saturday’s Senior Cup final clash with Dungannon at Havelock park (1.30pm) although that might seem a baffling statement.
To explain, Dungannon’s leading scorer, Samantha Kelly, is also a talented footballer and she is a current Northern Ireland under 19 international.
Samanatha says she can easily combine the two sports and they can compliment each other in terms of the skill sets involved.
“I think with playing the two sports they help with the movement, the fitness and pace of the games.” she explained.
“Also you can see some similarities when it comes to doing passing drills in training. You can often use the same drills for each sport. It also influences your knowledge of the game when it comes to attacking and defensive work.”
With her studies to concentrate on as well as the two sports, Samantha is a busy young woman but she enjoys what she does.
“Playing sport means a lot of commitment but it is worth it. The good thing about playing both football and hockey is that football is a summer league whereas hockey is played in the winter.” she added.
“This means they will never collide and I have continuous involvement in sport throughout the whole year.
“Playing for NI our manager likes us training at least four times a week including matches and because of this it is important to manage time for other things such as school work.”
For now though Samantha’s main focus is on the Senior Cup final in which Armagh, as runaway league leaders, will start favourites against the Co Tyrone girls.
“For us to reach the cup final is such an achievement with only being promoted into Senior One this year,” she continued.
“Our coach Norman Purdy has spent a lot of time and effort to get us here and we thank him for that.
“The support we get from the side line each week is so encouraging. All the players are looking forward to the final and it will be a brilliant experience.
“It will be a tough match against Armagh as they are a very strong opposition but with 100% effort from every player we will be in with a chance.”