Hurling & Camogie

Tyrone look ready for bigger challenges

The Red Hands are strong favourites to repeat their recent victory over the Garden county

Siobhan Donnelly
Siobhan Donnelly is a key figure for Tyrone this season (©INPHO/Tom Maher ©INPHO/Tom Maher/©INPHO/Tom Maher)

Very Ireland Camogie League Division 4 final

Tyrone v Wicklow (Saturday, Darver, 2pm)

TYRONE have shown excellent form in all four games they have played this year.

They look like a team that want to get to the next level and would enjoy challenging stronger teams.

However, when you win all your games on the way to the final, including beating your final opponents along the way, there is the danger that complacency can set in and Tyrone’s new management team, headed by Paul O’Grady, will have warned against that.

In fairness, the team probably got their own warning in that group game against Wicklow after leading by 2-8 to 0-2 at the break.

Even though Cara Little increased that lead with a goal and a point early in the second half, the Leinster side hit back with a sustained 20 minutes of pressure to eventually lose by just six points.

The Knockananna club side that contested a couple of All-Ireland junior club finals since Covid backbone the Wicklow challenge. They haven’t always made themselves available to the county so early in the season, preferring to take a break after a long club season.

This year more have filtered in earlier in the league campaign and there was never a chance that they wouldn’t provide final opponents for Tyrone, although they were well pushed by Mayo in a low-scoring semi-final. Wicklow won that game by 1-7 to 0-6.

Tyrone won the title last year with a confident performance in the final, shooting 0-18 against Mayo’s 2-9.

This year they seem to be goal-hungry, with 19 in their four games so far, Wicklow the only team to contain them to four green flags.

Last year’s very young forward line is much the same this year, except that they are a year older and many of them have gained more experience playing for third-level colleges.

There should be goals in them and that doesn’t augur well for Wicklow, who will need three or four goals to put themselves in a position to overturn the result in the group game.

Verdict: Tyrone’s to lose.