London calling for Derrygonnelly as Ulster intermediate champions begin quest for All-Ireland glory
currrentaccount.ie All-Ireland Intermediate Club Championship quarter-final: Round Towers (London) v Derrygonnelly Harps (Fermanagh) (today, McGovern Park, Ruislip 12.30pm)
ULSTER champions Derrygonnelly enter new territory this afternoon in unfamiliar surroundings when they face All-Britain winners Round Towers, London in McGovern Park, Ruislip.
They will have enjoyed their first ever provincial success just two weeks ago, but quickly the thoughts of manager Garry Smith and his players will have turned to the All-Ireland competition and this trip across the Irish Sea to take on the first time All-Britain provincial champions.
Derrygonnelly will be keen to know how far they could potentially go on this All-Ireland trial.
With Eimear Smyth, who scored 2-9 of her side’s total in their 2-11 to 2-6 Ulster final victory over Cavan side Castlerahan/Denn, they have one of the best forwards in the country, capable of putting up an individual score similar to that every time she goes out as defenders struggle to contain her while oppositions will be punished via her accuracy from frees.
While, Smyth might do the scoring, however, it is the supply of ball into the full-forward that Round Towers will need to curtail. Those suppliers - Brenda Bannon and Rebecca Wallace in the half-back line, midfielders Emma Burns and Derbhla Duffy, Sarah Jane Jones, Aoibhinn Jones and Bronagh Smyth will been keen to get on as much ball as possible while at the back, led by captain Andrea Gordon along with Kiera Elliott, Ciara Leonard and Niamh Smyth, they need to chase down every ball like they did in the Ulster final especially when the game was in the melting pot.
Derrygonnelly will have done as much homework as they can but it will be also be the case of going into the unknown. The South London side have reached this stage with a 1-6 to 0-6 final victory over Dunedin Connollys, Edinburgh at the beginning of the month. At half-time in that game it was 1-1 to 0-6, corner forward Shauna Ryan’s goal on the brink of half-time proving crucial as they trailed by just two points.
Roisin Kelly hit five second half points, two from frees, to swing the game in Round Towers advantage while at the other end, they impressively held Dunedin scoreless for the entire second half, in challenging weather conditions. Goalkeeper Sinead Coyle denied the Scottish outside from the penalty spot with a super save.
The London champions have a tendency to fight back having overcome John Mitchell’s Liverpool in their provincial semi-final, overturning a 10 points just before half-time to win 4-9 to 3-11. That day their spread of scores came via goals from Lorraine Power, Jennifer Sheehan, Shauna Ryan and Niamh Foley while Tyrone native Eadaoin Devine hit two points. Another Tyrone native, Sperrin Og’s Emma Clarke lines out at wing half back for Round Towers.
Both sides have nothing to lose and will certainly go all out for a place in an All-Ireland semi-final.