Derry manager Joe Baldwin confident ahead of trip to Tipp

KEY PLAYER: Karen Kielt will be asked to provide leadership in a Derry side missing 10 players for the clash with Tipperary in Thurles this afternoon
Niamh Archibald

Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Championship: Tipperary v Derry (today, The Ragg, 2.30pm)

DERRY will begin their All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship quest with a difficult away assignment in Tipperary this afternoon.

When the two sides met in Swatragh in the competition last season, it was the Ulster side who came away with a famous 2-12 to 1-9 victory and Derry manager

Joe Baldwin believes it is once again a game they can take points from.

“We earned a victory over them last season with a fine performance in Swatragh and we certainly feel that we can get something from the game this time round,” said Baldwin.

“Having said that I’m sure that Tipperary will be feeling the same.

“It would be great if we could take points from the game and I am confident that if we perform the way we have so far this season we can get a result.”

The Oak Leafs have been in impressive form, claiming the Ulster title, but it will be a much changed team that takes to the field tomorrow as they will be without 10 members of that provincial title-winning side.

“We have lost several players through travel,” said Baldwin.

“Players like Megan Kerr and Maria Mooney are unavailable. Megan really shone in this fixture last season marking Cáit Devane, while Maria has been in great form since moving from the backline into the half-forward line and her link-up play with Mary Kelly in the Ulster final was fantastic.

“We also have a couple of injuries. Grainne McNicholl is out with a broken foot, although she is progressing well and we are hopeful that she will be able to play some part in the Championship campaign.”

Yet, with so many stars missing, the opportunity is there for other players to make their mark, and Baldwin has faith in their ability to do so.

“We have the likes of Louise Duggan, who recently won the Poc Fada, back and Dania Donnelly, who was part of the Ulster-winning side, will get game-time,” he said.

“Caoimhe Rafferty and Aoife Shaw have been brought up from the minors and Dervla McSwiggan is also back with the panel.

“I am not too sure that there are many sides out there who could still field a strong side capable of competing despite missing so many key players, but such is the strength of Derry camogie at the minute.”

Baldwin will look to Karen Kielt and Meabh McGoldrick to provide experience and leadership.

Both players have been stand-out performers for their side this term.

With their ability to read the game they can quickly turn defence into attack and Derry will need this quick movement if they are to unlock a Tipperary defence marshalled by Ann Eviston and Ciannait Walsh.

Aine McAllister has shone in the middle of the park for Derry and while she will face a tough test against Julieanne Bourke and Joanne Ryan, Baldwin is confident the young Ballinascreen star will more than hold her own.

“Aine has really stepped up this season and has proved that she is more than capable of playing at this level,” he said.

“We have players of real quality throughout the side and I am confident we will be competitive and if we play to our abiity I believe we can come away with the win.”

Tipperary have real firepower with Cáit Devane, Megan Ryan and Sarah Fryday all capable of proving a real threat to the Derry defence, which has been solid so far this season.

Ulster U16 Championship Cup: Antrim v Down (tomorrow, Loughgiel, 2pm)

ANTRIM and Down will battle it out for Ulster U16 glory in Loughgiel tomorrow.

Down were in impressive form as they saw off Armagh in the semi-final, while Antrim showed great character to come from behind and book their spot in the final with a five-point win over Derry.

Antrim joint-managers Sean Paul McKillop and Karen McCormick will hope that Aine Donnelly, Emma Jo O’Neill and Niamh Quinn can once again put in big performances, and with Caoimhe Wright, Emily Falloon and Tori Edgar up front, they will aim to test the Down defence.

Down hit the ground running against Armagh and manager Sean Savage says his side are targeting a similiar start tomorrow.

“We got off to a great start, and hopefully we can repeat that and maintain the performance for the entire game,” he said.

“The girls are really up for the game. Our aim is to go out and perform to our ability and if we do that hopefully we will get the result.

The Mourne girls will hope that key players Katie Gilmore, Katie McGilligan, Lauren Clarke and goalkeeper Lauren Savage can influence the game, while their midfielders, Longstone’s Orinna McCorey and Portaferry’s Frances Toner, can display the same level of leadership and understanding as they did in the semi-final.

“Orinna and Frances were magnificent for us in the middle of the park,” said Savage.

“They played with a great understanding, as if they had been playing together for years.

“We only started training in May but the attitude of the girls has been fantastic and they have bonded really well.”

Camogie Sidelines

IN Group One of the All-Ireland Senior Championship this weekend, Limerick will be hoping to build on their four-point victory over Offaly last week when they take on reigning All-Ireland champions Cork. Wexford, meanwhile, will begin their campaign against Offaly.

In Group Two, Kilkenny will aim to remain at the top on the table when they face Clare, while in the Junior ‘A’ Championship, Clare will take on Meath.

THE upcoming round three games in the Liberty Insurance Championship involving the Dublin and Wexford senior teams have been confirmed as double-header ties with the All-Ireland SHC Qualifier games next Saturday.Dublin will travel to Portlaoise to play Tipperary at 5pm. Their game precedes the meeting of Dublin and Laois in the hurling Qualifier at 7pm.

Wexford will face Limerick at 5pm in Wexford Park, while their male counterparts take on Cork at 7pm. 




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