Hurling & Camogie

Derry camogs look to maintain perfect record on trip to Offaly

The All-Ireland intermediate champions are three from three in Division 2A

PJ O'Mullan celebrates Derry's All-Ireland replay victory over Meath in Clones. Picture by INPHO
PJ O'Mullan Derry manager PJ O'Mullan takes his side to Offaly. Picture: INPHO

Very Ireland Camogie League (all games Saturday; 2pm unless stated)

Division 2A, round four

Carlow v Meath (SETU Carlow)

Offaly v Derry (Banagher, 3pm)

Cavan v Westmeath (Kingspan Breffni)

DERRY will travel to Offaly with a lot of confidence after their comfortable win over Meath in the last round.

It wasn’t a faultless performance of course, as they made mistakes at both ends of the field, but mostly in their forward division with a lot of wide balls, balls dropping short and possession overturned easily. On the other hand they were in complete control of their own destiny from early in the game and manager PJ O’Mullan used his full complement of eight subs.

In the two games remaining Derry face the teams closest to them in the league table. Westmeath and Offaly also played out a high-scoring thriller in the first league game. So Derry have their work cut out to keep their 100 per cent record intact.

The line-out that O’Mullan started against Meath is likely to be the one that faces Offaly. There may be a couple of positional changes, but the management team will hope that the forward line delivers on its potential and doesn’t run up the wides total they did in Castledawson last day out.

Elsewhere, it increasingly looks likely that next weekend’s battle between Carlow and Cavan will decide who drops to Division 3A. Neither team looks likely to get their first win of the campaign this weekend.

Verdict Wins for Meath, Westmeath and hopefully Derry with the latter’s tussle with Offaly a closely-fought affair

Division 2B final

Cork v Tipperary (Abbottstown)

WHEN the two teams met at The Ragg in the first round of group games, Cork beat Tipperary by 1-10 to 0-9.

The Rebelettes had a little blip in round three when they lost at home to Wexford, but they were practically assured to reach the final by that stage.

Tipperary faltered a little with a draw away to Kilkenny in their final round game a fortnight ago, but it was enough to take them above Galway.

Verdict There won’t be a lot in the game. But it should be a Cork win.

Division 3A semi-finals

Laois v Kildare (TBC)

Armagh v Roscommon (TBC)

THE first round of matches in Division 3A were high-scoring with wins for Laois away to Kildare and Armagh at home to Roscommon.

The semi-finals have thrown up a repeat of these games and it will be interesting to see if Laois repeat their four-point victory and Armagh their eight-point advantage at the end.

That game in The BOX-IT Athletic Grounds was probably Armagh’s best performance of the campaign to date, despite conceding three goals in the last 20 minutes.

Roscommon arguably gave Laois a better game than Armagh did. Both ended in defeat, but Roscommon held their shape throughout while Laois hit three goals against Armagh.

Indeed goals have been a problem for the Ulster team and they have leaked eight in the three group games. Four of those were against their semi-final opponents who only managed another goal in the remaining two games.

Roscommon faced Armagh on the same day as the All-Ireland schools’ senior final when Mercy Convent defeated St Mary’s, Magherafelt. Since then Síofra Hession and Hazel Kelly have been promoted to the county squad. Hession is a goal-getter and the Armagh defence will need to be a lot tighter than they were in round one.

While there were just four points between Laois and Kildare in their first meeting, Laois would appear to have improved in their subsequent games, with more shape to the team and not looking as open in defence.

Verdict A repeat of Day One; wins for Laois and Armagh

Division 3B final

Dublin v Limerick (The Ragg, 1pm)

WHEN these sides met each other in the opening game in the group, Dublin won by 1-14 to 3-7 – not a lot between them.

The rest of the competition and the semi-finals were all about developing the panel of players and getting the right players on the pitch for this final. The three games each played since that first meeting were non-events. This one will count.

Last year, Limerick came down from Division 2B and probably have a little more experience in their ranks. On the other hand, Dublin have managed to hold together quite a young panel from last year.

Verdict This game will go right to the wire.

Division 4 semi-finals

Wicklow v Mayo (TBC)

Tyrone v Louth (Killyclogher, 4pm)

A FORTNIGHT ago in the final round of games, Louth only scored three points against Tyrone and Mayo scored just two against Wicklow.

There is a chance that Mayo could close the gap on Wicklow, it wasn’t a high-scoring game. But Louth have no chance against Tyrone.

Verdict Tyrone will face Wicklow in the league final on April 13.