McHugh: Victory over Tipperary a big step forward for Tyrone ladies

Tyrone's  Emma Mulgrew and Tipperary's Aishling Moloney in action during the LIDL National League fixture between Tyrone and Tipperary at O'Neills Healy Park on 01-27-2024.
Tyrone's Emma Mulgrew and Tipperary's Aishling Moloney in action during the Lidl National League Division Two at O'Neills Healy Park on Sunday

TYRONE captain Aoibhinn McHugh has said their victory over Tipperary on Sunday was a big step forward for the players themselves.

The Red Hands, playing at O’Neill’s Healy Park in the curtain-raiser to their male counterparts, pulled off a one point 1-7 to 0-9 win over their Munster opponents, who are one of the favourites for the Division Two league title and promotion this season.

Sean O’Kane’s side trailed leading up to half-time before Maria Canavan got the only goal of the game to bring them level at the break, 1-3 to 0-6.

They were two behind as the last quarter approached but with Tipperary failing to find the target again after going 0-9 to 1-4 ahead, as the Tyrone defence held firm and against the wind as well.

Chloe McCaffrey landed two late frees, the last one, the winner, deep into injury time, to make continue their winning start to the season, following up their opening-day victory over Westmeath.

“We all knew beating Tipperary was a big ask. They’re a strong senior team and we suffered a heavy defeat from them last year in the league,” said McHugh.

“However, we were coming off the back of a good, honest performance against Westmeath so knew if we brought the same work rate and attitude we would be in with a good chance.

“We’re delighted to have collected the three points. There was a lovely buzz amongst the squad after the game. I’m really proud of how we performed as a team.”

With five home games in the league this year and those games all being played at different venues around the county, this result was enjoyed by a sizeable crowd in Omagh who also took in the men’s Division One game against Roscommon afterwards and that support, especially towards the end of the game, with Tyrone in the ascendancy, played its part in the victory.

“It was great to have the added support that the double header brought. The crowd really got behind us in the closing period of the game and I think their support really helped us get over the line and secure the win,” she added.

“I think double headers are really enjoyable and a great opportunity to promote ladies football.”

It’s another home game this weekend for their derby against neighbours Monaghan with Moortown the venue.

They will be eyeing another three points but can take nothing for granted when it comes to the Farney, and McHugh is only too aware of that, despite the gap between the two in the table.

If McHugh and her team-mates can win again, they will have equalled their points tally for last season after just three games.

“Monaghan will be another good challenge this weekend. We’ll be looking for another positive team performance.”