Tyrone aim to bounce back from Ulster disappointment in All-Ireland opener

The Red Hands lost to Monaghan in their provincial semi-final

Aoibhinn McHugh leads Tyrone as they chase a semi-final spot in the All-Ireland IFC
Tyrone captain Aoibhinn McHugh (left) says the Red Hands will need to improve on the performance they produced in the Ulster semi-final defeat to Monaghan when they take on Leitrim in the All-Ireland intermediate championship

TG4 All-Ireland Ladies’ IFC Group 4, round one

Leitrim v Tyrone (Sunday, Ballinamore, 2pm)

TYRONE will hope to bounce back from their disappointing Ulster campaign with victory over Leitrim in the first round of the All-Ireland intermediate championship on Sunday afternoon.

Their provincial semi-final exit to Monaghan was a stark reminder that despite being one of the form teams in the country after the league, anything can happen when it is championship time.

Sean O’Kane’s side were favourites for the Ulster title after their impressive Division Two campaign that saw them reach the final and be promoted to the top division for next season. They were also mooted as serious All-Ireland contenders but Monaghan had other ideas and were deserved winners on the day.

They will still harbour All-Ireland aspirations with the first step to qualify for the knockout stages by securing a top-two finish in the group that also features Wicklow.

Leitrim enter as the Connacht champions having won back the provincial title from Roscommon and under Fermanagh man Johnny Garrity will be a well-oiled outfit led by the likes of Michelle Guckian, Ailbhe Clancy, Laura O’Dowd, Viv Egan and Niamh Tighe.

They might ply their trade in Division Four and disappointingly missed out on promotion after a semi-final loss to Limerick, but they are an established intermediate team, reaching the quarter-finals last year and, like Tyrone, will feel they need to kick on in order to continue progression.

Tyrone captain Aoibhinn McHugh is looking forward to getting back to action and taking on relatively unknown opposition.

“Our performance against Monaghan was disappointing but we’re hoping to learn from it and bounce back for the All-Ireland series,” she said.

“Reaching the quarter-finals is the goal. Obviously, winning both games would set us up well for a quarter-final but I’m sure Leitrim and Wicklow have the same goal, so it won’t be an easy task.

“We haven’t played Leitrim in recent years but no doubt they will be a tough opposition. We want to perform as well as we can and aim to top the group.”