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LADIES | Tyrone Face Huge Challenge

Friday 03.07.2015
Team Talk Mag


After a massive, yet facile win over Down, Donegal will face the challenge of Tyrone on Sunday at Kingspan Breffni Park with a place the TG4 Ulster final up for grabs. In their last competitive meeting at Convoy in the national league campaign of 2014 Tyrone came out on top, the win was enough to see Tyrone retain their division one status as Donegal were relegated.

ty v cavan 7 SEMI-FINAL LOGO

The Counties met at Under 21 level this year with the impressive Amber Barrett, who will line out up front again for Donegal on Sunday breaking Tyrone hearts with a powerful scoring display. It could be fair to expect Barrett and the free scoring Geraldine McLaughlin will pose Tyrone’s impressive defence a real challenge this weekend but there’s also a certain Yvonne McMonagle who racked up a double hat-trick against Down last time out. Life could be difficult then for Tiffy Quinn’s side.

Tyrone go into the tie as huge underdogs tag and that will suit the O’Neill County side as they attempt to reach the Ulster decider for the first time since 2013. They haven’t had their hands on the Ulster title now since 2009. The all Ireland senior crown still eludes Tyrone too having reached the decider only once back in 2010.

There are only a couple of that squad still around. This is a new look Tyrone and some new faces have established themselves over the past two to three years. Young Niamh O’Neill and Zoe Loughran up front, – Loughran scored the crucial goal against Cavan- Karen Quinn, Emma Louise Mulgrew and Christiane Hunter at the back while there’s vast experience too with Shannon Quinn, Gemma Begley, the Donnelly’s Cathy and Joline and of course inspirational captain Neamh Woods.

Tyrone will go into Sunday’s game slightly under the radar. They had a poor enough league campaign although the results certainly didn’t match the performances and they had a real battle to get over the line against Cavan. But that game against the Breffni girls will have stood them well, a lot more no doubt than Donegal boss Davy McLaughlin will have learnt from that outing against Down.

The game against the Mourne County was over as contest well before the break. The under 21s, playing the all Ireland B final the next day were off the park after twenty odd minutes and yes Donegal showed no mercy. However what was the quality of the opposition on the day? Those under 21s will be available for selection this Sunday and Donegal report no injury issues as they continue their build up. They are full of expectation and will fancy a crack at either Armagh or Monaghan who meet in the day’s other last four clash.

Tiffy Quinn and Tony McVeigh will have done their homework ahead of this game, but what style of game plan will the Tyrone side deploy at Cavan? It’s clear Tyrone will have to think scores. They will be keen to see their forwards step up to the plate. They will be the first to admit that they need to be more clinical. Niamh O’Neill’s scoring performance in the club championship would certainly give everyone a boost while Zoe Loughran who made a big impact when she came off the bench to score that extra time goal in the quarter final could be knocking on the door for a starting spot.

Changes at the back are unlikely. Captain Neamh Woods, Christiane Hunter and the midfielders of Shannon Quinn and Emma Hegarty give Tyrone a solid spine with Ardboe defender Karen Quinn, Maria Donnelly and Mulgrew all capable of holding the line with goalkeeper Shannon Lynch one of the finest in Ulster this term.

While there are a few injury doubts, the most worrying a calf strain for Gemma Begley that is not responding as well as expected, the rest of the squad should be available. Young Joanne Barrett came through a club championship game with no ill effects after an injury at the weekend.

A tough task then for Tyrone but they certainly have nothing to lose. If they bring their A game they have enough in the tank to see off Donegal. Whichever side wins one thing is for sure they will have earned their place in the decider.

Sunday’s game at Kingspan Breffni Park throws in at 1-15pm.



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