In the second round of league fixtures WIT play host to last years Ashbourne / Purcell hosts CIT. CIT have lost some of their influential players from last year such as Julie McGrath and Charlotte Kearney but still have Cork Senior Elaine O’Riordan. However this match will prove to be a tough test for them and although WIT have lost their prolific scorer Ursula Jacob they are still able to rely on Kilkenny stars Katie Power and Denise Gaule as well as the hugely talented Karina Parrock. WIT will go into the match as favourites but can expect a battle from CIT.
UCC –v- UL
The other fixture taking place in Division 1A this week sees UCC play host to UL. A home fixture could swing the tie in UCC’s favour but as always this will be a close affair. For UCC it is their first outing of the year and after coming close to Ashbourne success last year they will be hoping to start the year as they mean to go on. They will have to cope with the loss of Tipperary captain Jill Horan who was outstanding in the 2010 Ashbourne and will look to Cork captain Orla Cotter and Limericks Sarah Collins to guide them through this contest. UL on the otherhand will be hoping to go one better than the Ashbourne qualifier last year when they were narrowly beaten by UCC by a solitary point. This will be a close contest with little between the teams but home advantage could swing the tie in UCC’s favour.
UUJ –v- QUB
The top two universities in Belfast will meet in a derby fixture in round two. In recent years UUJ have proved too strong for the city side but this year QUB under the management of Joe Baldwin and his selector Orla Maginn will be hoping to get one over their rivals. Queens are backboned by Antrim player Teresa Adams and Armaghs Collette McSorley and these two players have played at the top level and will be hoping to inspire a victory. UUJ have recently named Soaring Stars Micheala Convery and Shannon Graham in their side and they will be hoping to continue their fine season with a win over their nearest rivals. Although it is a tough one to call UUJ should have too much fire power over QUB.
UCD –v- NUIG
After a defeat in their opening league match to UUJ, UCD will be hoping to bounce back with a victory over the Galway College. UCD must win to have any chance of making the final and will be hoping that QUB will do them a favour by beating UUJ. NUIG are somewhat of an unknown quantity this year, they have lost Galway star Niamh Kilkenny but still have Offaly captain Michaela Morkan in their team and they will be looking to her to drive them to victory. NUIG are the hosts of the 2011 Ashbourne and they will be hoping for a good league campaign to give them confidence going into the Ashbourne Prelims.