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Semi Final Place Up For Grabs For Ladies

Friday 03.08.2018
Team Talk Mag
All Ireland Series


 

It’s crunch time now for the Tyrone ladies as they enter the knock out stages of this year’s all Ireland intermediate football championship with a quarter final on Saturday.

After a comparative breeze through the group stages, big wins over Wicklow and Offaly, manager Gerry Moane expects the quality of opposition to improve starting with Wexford on Saturday.

“We said at the start that once we got through the group stages things would hot up and we are well aware that any team through now to the quarter finals are there on merit. They have all won games and while some suggest we are favourites there are some good teams still in the mix, that’s for sure.”

 Wexford slipped up against Clare at the weekend losing their grip on top spot of group three as they lost 5-11 to 3-9 in what wasn’t a good day at the office for Anthony Matsterson’s  division three winners. They have several quality players who must be controlled if Tyrone are to advance. Aisling Murphy, Ellen O’Brien, Bernie Breen and Catriona Murray have all been among the scores through the round robin series but surely this will be a massive test for them too, against the team with the best scoring stats across, senior, intermediate and junior competitions.

“That will matter little” admitted Moane. “As I said they are a good side. They only lost one game in the league (that incidentally against Offaly). They have a scoring threat and we must be at our best. It’s another game but the stakes are higher. There’s no room for error.”

Tyrone racked up another impressive scoreline of 7-17 on Sunday at Mullahoran. That win ended a long run of Tyrone sides losing at the Cavan venue. Tyrone’s potency in attack indeed has to be admired so far this term. In four championship games they have recorded a healthy 25-79. The defence also proving to be mean with the against column reading 4-28 . Sunday’s player of the match Slaine Mc Carroll was happy with the win, impressed too by the forwards’ contribution.

“It was about the team though. We all had a job to do and we all did that. The players that came in were great and fitted in. That’s the way it should be, this year has been great. There’s a real bond between the players , maybe even more than last year but there’s some competition for places and that’s not easy. You have to be on your game but as I said that’s the way it should be. We had eight different scorers and that’s a good spread too. They are going well at the minute.”

Sunday’s win at Mullahoran was expected but it afforded the management a chance to make a number of changes. Team manager Moane explained it was vital to let players get game time while resting others.

“To be honest we had an eye on the quarter final. There are some girls who have played a lot of football, others demanding a chance to express themselves. It was the best opportunity to do that and I have to say the players that came in have made our job all the harder for the Wexford game. We have seen what players can do. They all worked hard and we should have a full hand next week. Some of the players we gave a rest to are carrying wee knocks and things, but after that performance we will have some tough calls to make.”

The management have lots of options and what’s positive this term there really is a continuity through the squad as Moane and coach Barry Grimes indicated way back in May. The squad, strength, depth and quality were going to be vital in this year’s championship.

“If you’re going to win championships you have to have that depth within the group. We have that. I have looked at other teams in the groups and they are perhaps limited in numbers. That’s not an issue for us at this stage but as I said we have a good selection headache.”

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