Tyrone ladies got their new league campaign off to a winning start with a five point victory over Westmeath at Newtownstewart on Sunday afternoon. The Naomh Eoghan club deserves great praise for ensuring the game went ahead considering the weather before and during the game.
Tyrone played against the wind in the first half but with Aoibhin Mc Hugh and Caitlin Campbell dovetailing perfectly in the middle of the park they opened up a five point lead ten minutes into the match.
Chloe Mc Caffrey, Maria Canavan and Emma Conroy caused all sorts of problems for the Westmeath rearguard as the visitors struggled to cope with the pace and movement of the Tyrone attack and in spite of three converted Anna Jones frees and a point from Karen Hegarty they reached the break five behind. Emma Conroy fired home a superb goal on twenty seven minutes for the home side to add to her first minute point. Further points from Mc Hugh, Maria Canavan (3) Meabh Mallon left Tyrone in a strong position at the break 1-6 to 0-4 ahead.
Tyrone lost ace forward Chloe Mc Caffrey to a black card two minutes into the second half as Westmeath began to carry the ball into the Red Hand defence. Jones added another point to the midlanders’ tally but they never really looked like getting the goal they needed to get themselves back into the game. The home side worked exceptionally hard on and off the ball and some of their tackling was superb. They forced many turnovers in the Westmeath forward line and wore their opponents down with quick counter attacks and tenacious defending.
Points from Mc Hugh and Conroy sandwiched another Jones free but then came the score that more or less put the game to bed. A long ball out of defence found Maria Canavan in space and the Errigal star finished with aplomb. Canavan and Jones swapped points but the game was over as a contest in spite of Westmeath full forward Leanne Slevin converting a 33rd minute penalty to leave the final score Tyrone 2-9, Westmeath 1-7.