Hurling and camogie

Down and Derry to open their 2020 camogie campaigns on All-Ireland club weekend

Séamas McAleenan

THE National camogie leagues start on the first weekend of February which is also the weekend pencilled in for the All-Ireland clubs semi-finals at Senior and Intermediate level.

Last year with both Slaughtneil and Clonduff reaching their respective finals, players from those clubs were not involved at all with Derry or Down in the league.

By design or otherwise Down will meet Derry in the first game of Division Two on the same weekend as their club champions are taking on Munster opposition in All-Ireland semi-finals.

That probably means that the county game will take place on Saturday February 1.

Down and Derry are in the same group as Wexford, Kerry and beaten All-Ireland finalists Galway, while Antrim, the only other Ulster county operating at this level, are in Group 3 along with Dublin, Laois and reigning league champions Tipperary.

The competition will run on the same format as last year with group games played during February and March leading to the knock out stages starting on the last weekend of March.

In Division One, Galway and Kilkenny, who met each other in both the league and championship finals in 2019 are deliberately kept drawn in different groups with Cork in the same group as Kilkenny.

The big news in Division 3 is that Down has entered a second team at this level while Cavan are back playing in adult camogie for the first time in quite a few years. That brings Ulster involvement in this league to four with Armagh and Tyrone.

Tyrone and Cavan are paired with Limerick, Offaly, Roscommon and Wicklow while Down and Armagh will have Carlow, Louth and Clare for company.

All National League games of course will trial new rules this year, but the various championships will run under the existing rules.

The Minor Championships also have an early mid-February start, with Antrim back again in the A grade.

They managed to hold their own in the top grade last year although clashes with Cross and Passion in the All-Ireland schools’ semi-final and final didn’t help preparations. That could still be an issue this season.

The Saffrons are in with Offaly, Galway, Clare and Kilkenny and it will be difficult to come through in that group.

At B level, both Derry and Armagh are tipped to do well. Derry are in the Cup competition along with Carlow, Kildare, Limerick and Westmeath while last season’s provincial under 16 champions Armagh face Roscommon, Meath, Down and Kerry in the Shield.

Tyrone are defending a Minor C title for the first time and are grouped with Cavan, Mayo, Wicklow and Louth

As usual the adult championships come into focus in mid-June and, like the Division 1 National League, last season’s finalists are kept apart.

Kilkenny are in Group One with Cork, Limerick, Dublin, Offaly and Waterford while in Group 2 Galway have last year’s Intermediate champions Westmeath, Tipperary, Wexford and Clare for company.

Once again the top team in each group will go straight into the semi-finals while second and third in each group will feature in quarter-finals.

The main Ulster interest is once more at Intermediate level with Down avoiding their neigh-bours in a group that has last season’s beaten finalists Galway, Kerry, Carlow, Kildare and Dublin.

Antrim and Derry will try to come out of a strong looking Group 2 that includes games against Meath, Tipperary, Cork, Kilkenny and Laois.

As with the leagues, Down have entered a seconds’ team in the Premier Junior championship and they are in a different group from the other Ulster challengers, Armagh

Finally at Championship level there is the Nancy Murray Cup and three Ulster teams will feature in this Cavan, Tyrone and Donegal. Louth, Wicklow and Mayo make up the group

Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League Division 1

Group 1: Kilkenny, Cork, Clare, Offaly, Waterford

Group 2: Galway, Limerick, Tipperary, Dublin

Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League Division 2

Group 1: Wexford, Galway, Derry, Kerry, Down

Group2: Kilkenny, Westmeath, Meath, Kildare, Cork

Group 3: Tipperary, Antrim, Dublin, Laois

Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League Division 3

Group 1: Limerick, Cavan, Offaly, Tyrone, Roscommon, Wicklow

Group 2: Carlow, Louth, Down, Armagh, Clare

All-Ireland Minor Championship

Minor A

Group 1: Antrim, Offaly, Galway, Clare, Kilkenny

Group 2: Cork, Waterford, Laois, Dublin, Tipperary, Wexford

Minor B - Cup: Carlow, Derry, Kildare, Limerick, Westmeath

Minor B - Shield: Roscommon, Meath, Down, Kerry, Armagh

Minor C: Cavan, Tyrone, Mayo, Wicklow, Louth

All-Ireland Senior Championship

Group 1 Kilkenny, Cork, Limerick, Dublin, Offaly, Waterford

Group 2 Galway, Tipperary, Westmeath, Wexford, Clare

All-Ireland Intermediate Championship

Group 1 Galway, Down, Kerry, Carlow, Kildare, Dublin

Group 2 Meath, Tipperary, Antrim, Cork, Derry, Kilkenny, Laois

All-Ireland Premier Junior Championship

Group 1 Wexford, Clare, Offaly, Down

Group 2 Limerick, Roscommon, Armagh, Waterford

Nancy Murray Cup

Cavan, Wicklow, Tyrone, Mayo, Donegal, Louth

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Hurling and camogie