Down have chance to seal quarter-final spot in All-Ireland intermediate championship

Tyrone and Antrim need a win from their fixtures in round two

Down joint manager Caoibhe Sloan
Down joint-manager Caoibhe Sloan (Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE)

TG4 All-Ireland Ladies’ IFC round two (Sunday)

Group 1

Down v Westmeath (Páirc Esler, 2pm)

DOWN can book their place in the All-Ireland quarter-finals with a win over Westmeath tomorrow.

The Ulster intermediate champions defeated Cavan in the first group game last weekend. With just three teams in the group, one win might still suffice, but being in action in rounds one and two means their fate is very much in their own hands at this early juncture.

They know a win will guarantee their progression to the knock-out stages and also ensure they do not have to worry about relegation, with the bottom team in the group facing a play-off scenario.

Westmeath, like Cavan, are a former senior team, and also ply their trade in Division Two. Down might be in the next league tier, but with their upward trajectory, they will certainly fancy themselves.

The Leinster side lost their provincial final to Wexford by a point and will be keen to return to winning ways.

They reached the quarter-finals of the All-Ireland last year and they will have their sights set on that again as the first checkpoint.

Sarah Dillon, Rachel Dillon and Leanne Slevin are among the players to watch.

This will be another good test for Peter Lynch and Caoibhe Sloan’s side and they will hope to make home advantage count.

Group 4

Tyrone v Wicklow (O’Neill Park, Dungannon, 2pm)

TYRONE must win against Wicklow tomorrow if they are to keep their hopes of a quarter-final place alive after last weekend’s defeat to Leitrim.

Sean O’Kane’s side have lost their last three competitive games after going through the league unbeaten to secure promotion to Division Two.

They lost the league final to Clare and then exited the Ulster championship to Monaghan in the semi-final.

They looked to be returning to winning ways against Leitrim last weekend in Ballinamore when they led by nine points early in the second half, but they were reeled back in and a late Michelle Guckian free two minutes into injury-time proved to be the winner.

Tyrone had a chance to take a share of the spoils but Maria Canavan’s free came back off the woodwork. Canavan finished with 1-4, while Sorcha Gormely hit 2-3.

They must go out and put Wicklow to the sword tomorrow because with the final round between Leitrim and Wicklow that result is out of Tyrone’s hands.

Group 3

Roscommon v Antrim (Woodmount, 1pm)

ANTRIM get their first taste of All-Ireland action tomorrow away to Roscommon.

The Ulster side relinquished their provincial title to Down in the semi-finals and have been waiting for the All-Ireland series to begin.

Emma Kelly’s side have had a tough year to date and priority for them will be to try and remain an intermediate championship side and avoid a relegation battle.

However, with only three teams in the group, one defeat can very quickly put you in that territory. A win over Roscommon would go a long way to securing that.

The Rossies lost their opening game to Leinster champions Wexford last weekend.

This is a tough group for Antrim. The squad was severely depleted already this season compared to last, with the loss of key personnel, and they have been further depleted for this game because of injury and unavailability. However, goalkeeper Shauna Murphy is back between the posts.

The sides met in the final round of the Division Three league earlier this year, with Roscommon, who were beaten in the league final, prevailing by the narrowest of margins.