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Tyrone Ladies Face Tough Opener

Tuesday 27.01.2015
Team Talk Mag
Club


 

 

Another Tesco Homegrown Ladies National Football League Division One campaign begins on Sunday (Feb 1st) and despite a couple of years of transition, the retirement of a handful of household names and the introduction of new faces Tyrone will be in the mix once more. Dogged with relegation issues over the past few seasons the O’Neill County Ladies have maintained top flight status giving them a major boost when it comes to the latter part of the season.

Some would suggest that a slip down the order may not do Tyrone any harm. Armagh are fine exponents of that plan of action. Tyrone players though remain steadfast. They want to be in division one but the 2015 campaign could well be a bridge too far. They face the cream of ladies football and could well find the going tough, tougher than in other years with every opponent holding the Indian sign over Tyrone in recent years.

That all said last year saw Tyrone show vast improvement from getting hammered by Monaghan to narrowly losing out to the Farney County in the qualifiers. The green shoots of a revival in Tyrone’s footballing fortunes were evident. A championship loss to Armagh was a major setback but a resilient Tyrone knuckled down and beat Kildare before that loss to Monaghan side by just three points, unlucky perhaps not to take that tie to extra time.

It’s a new year and a new season and while there’s a familiar look to the bulk of this squad, Shannon Quinn, Neamh Woods, Emma Hegarty and Christiane Hunter all back again, there’s also a couple of exciting new young players in the county including Emma Smyth named in the set up as Tyrone prepare to open against Kerry at Dromore’s Gardrum Park.

Quite aptly the All Ireland junior club semi-finalists will welcome the county seniors for what will be just one of two home fixtures. Remarkably the fixture planners have been unbelievably unkind to Tyrone. The full league programme will see the local side away from home on five occasions, how that was left to happen is something for another day but with trips to Cork, Mayo and Dublin on the clar, it’s evident Tyrone will have a very difficult campaign.

Poor weather over the past month has not helped the build-up either with Garvaghey out of bounds with snow, ice and gales leaving coaches Tiffy Quinn and Tony McVeigh with plenty of headaches. It has been a difficult time but the focus remains on getting off the mark against the Kingdom.

Tyrone opened last year with a defeat in their game in Killarney with a loss. While Kerry too have had difficulties over the Winter break with players moving on, they still boast a vastly experienced squad but says Tyrone skipper Neamh Woods Tyrone have plenty to offer.

“We have a great group of players. The quality in the squad is evident and we know that we have some great young players coming through. We just need to harness what we have and a good league campaign would certainly be a great boost to us all.”

The progress of Tyrone ladies football continues at all levels. Under 14 and under 16 squads have been confirmed for the new season and a far reaching development plan is currently being prepared with the focus on bringing through the next crop of Tyrone footballers from primary and second level schools. For now though something from Sunday’s clash at Dromore would be the perfect start to the year.

 

Tyrone will miss the guile and craft of Gemma Begley for Sunday’s opener. The talisman forward has returned from a Winter trip to the Southern hemisphere but is presently carrying a knee injury. It remains unclear how long last year’s top scorer will be out. On the plus side however there are no other major injury issues and Tyrone also have a number of new faces named in the squad for the 2pm throw in at Dromore.

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