Ulster Champions Antrim will begin the defence of their title with a home tie against Armagh at
Antrim boast some of
Emma Connolly and Shannon Graham have three Ulster College Allstars each and Loughgeil’s Raquel McCarry is described by Antrim manager Mary Connolly as “”a very skillful player who knows how to hit the target.””
Indeed Connolly will be looking to Raquel and the rest of her young players to fill the void left by injured captain Jane Adams, something she feels they are more than capable of doing.
“”Obviously the news about Jane was a huge disappointment for everyone, thankfully it came early enough and we had time to rejig the panel. We’ve also lost another hugely influential player in Jacinta Dixon who broke her ankle but the girls know that it’s business as usual come tonight night. We can’t decide that the season is over because we don’t have certain players,”” she Mary Connolly.
For Armagh the game represents the opportunity to get their season back on track with acting manager Pasty Magee confident the his side will not be there to make up the numbers.
“”Antrim will be a huge challenge especially in their back-yard. They would be seen as the in form side, they had a good National League campaign but we’re more than up for the challenge that they pose. We’re well prepared for the game all the girls have worked really hard in training over the past couple of months off the back of what was a disappointing National League campaign.””
Most of the pre-match talk has surrounded Jane Adams and although Magee feels that
“”I don’t like to see anyone suffering injuries especially not the sort that Jane has, she’s a hugely talented player but I have no doubt that Antrim have the resources and talent pool to look after this problem and whose to say there’s not another æJane Adams’ waiting in the wings to come in,”” he said.
In the other semi-final old rivals
Down have enjoyed a successful season having sealed the Division 3 National League title but manager Joe Baldwin feels that his side must now turn their attention to the championship.
“”We have to focus on the championship now it was great to win the National League but it’s over now. We’re really looking forward to the challenge that the Championship will bring, we’ve extended the panel and have eight new faces so we have even more talent available to us.””
He recognises that