GAA Football

Tyrone and stalwart Gemma Begley switch focus to senior ladies football

Tyrone star Gemma Begley
Louise Gunn

TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate Championship

TYRONE veteran Gemma Begley could be easily persuaded into hanging around as the newly-crowned All-Ireland Intermediate champions turn their attentions now to senior football.

It was third time lucky for Begley, her captain Neamh Woods and goalkeeper Shannon Lynch, who had previously lost two All-Ireland finals – senior in 2010 and last year’s intermediate in 2016 - on Sunday past, as they defeated Meath 6-8 to 1-14 to avenge their heartache from 12 months ago.

“I’d say satisfying is probably the most fitting word I could put on it,” said Begley, who scored 1-1 in her side's victory.

“It’s third time lucky for me! No, we were lucky to get those first few goals in the first half and I suppose we could then nearly enjoy it a wee bit in the second half without taking the foot off the pedal.

“I had been there in 2010 and it is a terrible position to be in. I could feel for Meath but but it’s just brilliant to get back to senior football as much as anything and hopefully it will be the start of a career for a lot of those girls coming through now.”

The step up from intermediate to senior championship football is not an easy one – last year’s intermediate champions Tipperary found that out this year having been relegated straight back down again after just one season.

“Look at Tipperary – you know the standard in senior football is rising all the time. It is good for the game but it is about stepping up now," she said.

“We have such good talent comig through and when you get days like this and you are enjoying it you never know, we’ll see what happens.

“At the final whistle I said to Gerry I hope this is the start of it and not the end. Hopefully there is another couple of gears in us and add in that experience and over time and we would hope to make it.”

Tyrone captain Neamh Woods, who scored two of her side's six goals in a player of the final performance, is already looking forward to next season and feels that the Division Two lead will stand them in good stead as they re-enter the senior championship for the first time since 2015.

“Division Two is good stepping stone for us with the senior teams that are playing there and it will prepare us well heading into the Ulster senior championship,” she said.

“As players you want to play at the top level against the biggest teams and against the top players and we will look forward to that.”

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