(Derry v Armagh)
GRAINNE McGoldrick has an extra special reason for Derry to not only progress in Sunday’s Ulster senior championship semi-final. The holders meet Armagh on the Owen Roe club pitch at Coleraine.
It’s a first for the Owen Roe club to host a major camogie county collision. Grainne, Naoimh McGoldrick and Jane Carey are keen to impress. It’s the same with the husband and wife Derry co-management of Susan and Pßdraig Ë Mianßin.
“”We also want to get back to winning, after the Division Two final loss to Clare at Blanchardstown,”” said 23-year-old Grainne, who has fully recovered from ankle damage.
Susan Ë Mianßin added: “”It is also a very special occasion for the Derry players and the Owen Roe club. The priority, of course, is to get back to winning. We look forward to our first competitive game since losing to Clare.
“”It is vitally important we do not to underestimate Armagh. We always hold high respect for our opponents. We won’t presume anything, and that will be rammed into our players before the game.
“”We meet an unknown quantity, because Armagh did not compete in the National League. But I know of some of their players, including the very capable Laura Gribben in midfield. I would be very much aware of Laura, if she is playing in the present Armagh side.
“”She played for the University of Ulster teams. Armagh also has the extremely promising Collette McSorley, a Colleges’ All Star player who was part of the Gael Linn All-Ireland winning group of last year.
“”But, it is more about how we play. We must go out and give a workmanlike performance, be focussed on the quality of our play. Also it has been singled out the need for improvement in our team.””
Ë Mianßin expects a positive reaction from the Derry players. She has no complaints about the League final setback. “”Clare wanted the game more than us. They were really up for it moreso than ourselves, and that was understandable. I felt that would be their response after we beat tem in the final last year.
“”Obviously it was bitterly disappointing to lose to Clare. I wasn’t happy with the way we played in the final. We have the same panel used against Clare. The girls know what they can do. Sometimes a defeat like that doesn’t do any harm.””
DOWN v ANTRIM
ANTRIM ace Jane Adams admits club friendships will be placed on ice during Sunday’s Tailored Financial Solutions Ulster senior championship semi-final against Down at Ballycran.
Prolific sharpshooter Adams is bound to bump into Belfast Rossa club colleague Teresa Magowan during the course of the conflict.
“”More than likely I’ll meet up with Teresa in the game, and also Down goalkeeper Pauline Green,”” says Jane. “”Teresa plays in the halfback or full back line. Both players are in the Rossa team, but friendships will be set aside during the match and then renewed after the final whistle when things return to normal.””
Jane appreciates Down severe loss of centre half Finnoula Carr, but adds: “”Down has many other top quality players. They have a good team, and more experience in their side than we have in what is a very young Antrim team. Down also holds the strong advantage of home ground, but it is a great pitch at Ballycran.
“”It has a great surface, and this will help towards making it a good quality game. Down will probably be slight favourites to progress.
“”My only contact with Down camogie this year has been in the Ulster club league when Rossa played Leitrim Fontenoys. Mairin McAleenan no longer plays county camogie, but they have other strong players like half back Karen McMullan who is in the Down squad.””
The Saffrons have been on a high since promotion to Division Two of the National League.
“”This will be like old times,”” says Antrim manager Mary Connolly, “”with Bonney McGreevy managing on on one side and me the other. We used to meet on the pitch as players.
“”We both know each other’s game plan and technique very well, so we all go into this game with no hidden agenda and no holds barred.””
Along with the irrepressible Adams leading the Antrim attack Connolly looks
to Shannon Graham, Micheala Convery, skipper Rhona Torney, Charlene Hamill, Kelly Maybin, Colleen Doherty and Bernie McKinley to provide combined inspiration.
Connolly’s aim is to feature from the start the team that finished against Offaly in the National League final replay.