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Two Ulster teams will compete in the Gala Junior Championship æNew Ireland Cup’ today. The games promise to be thrilling, competitive matches as both Down and Antrim battle for semi-final places today (Saturday 24th July).


Antrim find themselves in a season defining match as they take on Laois at Loughgeil today. It is the Saffrons first competitive game since the Ulster Final against Derry on the 4th July but Rhona Torney believes that the Antrim side will be up for the game.


“”We know it will be a tough task but we’ve been focusing on this game even before the Ulster Final, we were looking ahead to this game and it’s significance. We’ve been training two nights a week and some girls have been away on holidays but we’ve regrouped, everyone knows what’s at stake so we’ll be given our all,”” said Rhona.


The game will feature on UTV’s highlight programme and although Rhona admits some girls are nervous about appearing on TV she feels it will only enhance and improve coverage of the game: “”It is a great opportunity for everyone involved, for camogie to be featured on TV is fantastic but we have to put that aside tomorrow and remain focused on the game putting all outside factors to one side.””


Antrim have one injury concern ahead of today’s game, Charlene Hamill will face a late fitness test after injuring her ankle in a club match.


It is a make or break game for Down as they take on Offaly and although manger Joe Baldwin was disappointed by his side’s performance last weekend, he is confident his side have put it behind them and that they will get the result today.


“”Last weekend was disappointing we didn’t perform the way we are capable of doing but I am confident that this team can go out and win because on their day I believe they are as good as any team in the country. We have too many big name players to just bow down, these girls will fight for the semi-final place until the last ball if necessary,”” said Baldwin.


An injury to Karen Tinnelly has forced Baldwin to reshuffle his pack but the team remains largely unchanged: “”Karen pulled her hamstring in a club match earlier in the week which means Maria McNally comes into the side at left-half back. Karen has been our most consistent performer so far in the Championship series but Maria is more than capable of doing a job for us,”” Joe added.


Derry’s Minors are in action against Waterford in the Minor æB’ Championship semi-final tomorrow (Sunday 25th July).


With both managers away on holidays the task falls to Derry Chairperson Maura McCloy to steer the side to victory and she will look to Karen Kielt, Kerrie Graham and Aine Kelly to provide the team with leadership. All three players are part of the senior panel and that experience could prove the difference.


“”The girls have been well prepared by James (Mellon) and Gerard (McErlean), they all know their jobs. We know Waterford are a good strong side and we’ll need to be on top of our game to beat them but we have some girls who are on the senior panel and then there are the likes of Hannah Eastwood and Ailish Cassidy who have come through from Under 16 so hopefully we be able to get the result that sees us progress to the Final,”” said Maura.



Today (Saturday 24th July):

Gala Junior Championship æNew Ireland Cup’:

Group One: Down vs Offaly, Paric Esler 3pm

Group Two: Antrim vs Laois, Loughgeil 2pm


Tomorrow (Sunday 25th July):

Minor æB’ Championship Semi-Final:

Derry vs Waterford, Donaghmore Ashbourne 1.45pm

Minor æC’ Championship Semi-Final:
Carlow vs Cavan, Lucna Sarsfields 2.30pm

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