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Tyrone Ladies Welcome Donegal In Vital Game
This Saturday will be a red letter day for the gaels of Augher as they host a crunch Tesco Homegrown ladies national league clash between Tyrone and Donegal as well as remember the late Sean McElroy.
The league tie between Tyrone and Donegal is yet another big task for Mickey Rea’s side who are desperate for points as they try and stave off relegation. Last weekend Dublin proved too strong for Tyrone running out convincing winners 3-7 to 0-6. Their opponents on Easter Saturday are fresh from a good performance and it looks like they will definitely be playing in the top flight next term after a 2-11 to 2-8 win over Meath who, barring a miracle will be making the drop. Geraldine McLaughlin returned to fine form for Donegal hitting 1-9 for her side. With McLaughlin back to form Donegal seem to be coming good at just the right time. Injuries, internal politics and outside influences may have seen Donegal get off to a slow start but that’s all behind them now and they will, as they have been in recent years, be a handful for Tyrone.
There’s no getting away from the stark facts though that overall this has been a season of transition for Tyrone under their new management team. Several well known names have moved on and new faces are trying to force themselves into team selections as the Ulster championship draws ever closer. Armagh will be quite a challenge for Rea’s side later this summer. They are through to the division three league semi-finals but before talk turns to the Ulster series survival is the only show in town. Criticism has been forthcoming from some quarters over team selection to date but in the main it would appear Rea has a plan, a bigger picture.
“We have been keen to try things out. We have reshuffled the line outs. We have given players a chance to play out of their comfort zones. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. The league is not our priority. It would have been nice to be vying for the knockout stages and I certainly didn’t want to be battling relegation, but we find ourselves in this position now and have to get ourselves out of trouble with two games to go. That we hope will begin at the weekend against Donegal”
Tyrone have recorded one victory so far in the campaign against Meath at Healy Park. They turned in a good performance that day and have played well in the main. The work rate has been good but on too many occasions the team has failed to capitalise on scoring chances. They could have beaten Cork and Mayo had they taken all that was on offer. A learning curve it has been described as by the management, but with just two games to go, the final one away to the Ulster champions Monaghan Tyrone will have to learn quickly.
Last weekend at UCD Tyrone only mustered 0-6 of which five points came from place balls. They did have chances but once again Rea’s side failed to take advantage of having plenty of ball in the scoring zones. The need to freshen things up appears to be more evident than ever now as a win is the only result that will do this weekend. It would be fair to point out too that the quality is there , household names abound but the team has not just gelled.
Big Weekend for St Macartans
Saturday’s game is part of a big weekend in memory of Sean McElroy who passed away last summer. The host club St Macartans have pulled out all the stops to remember Sean. Described as a great club member, manager and friend, Sean was the first ever manager of St. Macartans ladies when the club was formed in 1992. He also managed at inter county level. A special memorial match is planned as the precursor to the vital national league clash in which St Macartans welcome St Eunans of Letterkenny. One of Sean’s proudest moments was managing the U14 team to the All Ireland Féile competition in 2010. The 2010 U14 team have now progressed to minor level and St Macartans welcome their hosts from that momentous occasion St Eunans.
Sean’s wife Bridie and the McElroy Family will be at the double bill at the weekend. Bridie has kindly donated the Sean McEroy memorial trophy for the U16 player of the year to the club. This will be presented by Bridie to the 2012 U16 player of the year at the end of Saturday’s game. Sean was part of the U16 management in 2012 and a few weeks after his sad passing the girls did him proud by securing the Elaine Treanor memorial U16 league shield for the third year in a row.
MINORS OPEN AGAINST DONEGAL
A new look Tyrone minor squad embark on the defence of their Ulster title against Donegal on Monday April 1st with Cavan up next in a competitive Ulster championship campaign. Managers Paddy Fox and Malachy Coyle have been impressed with the work rate shown and the overall build up has been good for Tyrone who are aiming for three in a row of titles.
It is however a very changed team and has a very youthful look about it. Donegal are bolstered by a slightly older core of players and Monday’s test away from home could well be a tricky one for the champions and beaten all Ireland finalists.