Hurling and camogie

Derry will need to dig deep to make latter stages of All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Championship

The return of Aoife Ni Chaiside (right) should boost Derry's campaign for the All-Ireland intermediate championship
Seamas McAleenan

Glen Dimplex All-Ireland Intermediate Championship

The Glen Dimplex All-Ireland Intermediate championship has 12 teams, divided into two groups and operating similar to the senior in relation to semi-final and quarter-final qualification as well as relegation. The winners are promoted to the senior championship, unless it is a second team from a senior championship county.

The groups are:

Group One: Westmeath, Carlow, Laois, Kerry, Galway II & Dublin II

Group Two: Derry, Meath, Kildare, Kilkenny II, Cork II and Wexford II.

Westmeath came down from Division One last year, while Meath has also had recent experience of playing at the top level.

However the expectation is that the teams that Antrim beat in the semi-final and final last year, Galway and Kilkenny, will battle it out in Croke Park. Galway should top their group with Westmeath in second spot, while Kilkenny should top the other group with either Cork or Derry in second spot.

If the draw lines up Galway and Kilkenny in the semi-final, there is a pathway to Croke Park for Derry.

The Ulster challenge

DERRY

EXPECTATION may have risen above potential for Derry after they took Down to the last few minutes of extra-time in the Ulster senior semi-final just after Easter.

New manager Martin Coulter with his assistants Danny McGrellis and Paddy Downey seem to have been able to pull together most of the top players in the county although some may argue that they would be in a better position if they could call on more than four from perennial club champions Slaughtneil.

Only one of that quartet, Clíodhna Ní Mhianáin, was available against Down. Aoife Ní Chaiside was on holiday while Sinéad Mellon should be on the way back from injury some time during the group games.

Róisín Cassidy was also an absentee for the Down game, while little can be read into Derry’s form during the National League as they were missing both the Slaughtneil and Eoghan Rua contingent.

The sequence of the games should help Derry to build momentum. By the time they meet last year’s beaten finalists Kilkenny on June 11, they should already have two group wins while another win against newly promoted Wexford is almost assured in the final game.

The ties away to Kilkenny and then home to Cork will decide whether they have the potential to repeat the feats of Down and Antrim before them.

Verdict: Derry to make the semi-final, but they will need to dig deep to go further.

Derry panel: Niamh McQuillan, Rebecca Kirkpatrick, Maria Mooney, Megan Kerr, Shannon O’Doherty capt., Gráinne McNicholl, Rebecca Bradley, Anna Cassidy, Aoife Ní Chaiside, Dervla O’Kane, Anna McAllister, Clíodhna Ní Mhianáin, Aoife Shaw, Shannon O’Connor, Maria Rafferty, Máiréad McNicholl, Dara McGuckin, Caoimhe Glass, Róisín Cassidy, Niamh Gribben, Therese Mellon, Sinéad Mellon, Áine McGill, Sinéad Magill, Eimear Mullan, Rachel Downey.

Fixtures

May 28: Meath (a)

June 4: Kildare (a)

June 11: Kilkenny (a)

June 25: Meath (h)

July 2: Wexford (a)

Glen Dimplex All-Ireland Premier Junior championship

The Glen Dimplex All-Ireland Premier Junior championship features 10 teams. Only the top two teams in each group progress to the semi-finals.

Group One: Armagh, Roscommon, Antrim II, Down II & Limerick II

Group Two: Cavan, Mayo, Tipperary II, Clare II & Waterford II.

ARMAGH won the 2020 competition that did not include second teams from the stronger counties. Last year they came up short against Wexford II in both league and championship finals.

Wexford have moved up to Intermediate this year, but Cavan and Antrim II are capable of preventing Armagh making it through to a third successive decider.

Cavan won the Division Three league in April, going through the competition unbeaten, albeit that a number of those games were close encounters including the wins over Armagh and Antrim.

Since then Antrim II went to Ballinagh and beat them in the Ulster Intermediate semi-final. However Armagh handled them well in the final and were comfortable enough winners.

Down II would appear to be well off the pace at this level.

It looks very possible that an Ulster team will reach Croke Park from this grade and every chance that there could be an all-Ulster final. Armagh and Antrim II should qualify from Group One as long as they are both careful against Limerick.

In Group Two Cavan’s most challenging games should come from the second teams from the stronger counties. The Ulster semi-final defeat will have put them on their guard and they will not take any team for granted.

The Ulster challenge

Armagh: Ciarraí Devlin, Méabh Lenehan, Nicola Woods, Eimear O’Kane, Gemma McCann, Eimear Hayes, Tierna Maguire, Michelle McArdle, Leanne Donnelly, Ciara Hill, Ciara Donnelly, Ellie McKee, Corinna Doyle, Jennifer Curry, Hannah Duffy, Catherine Beagan, Méabh Callaghan, Katie Comiskey, Orlagh Curry, Elaine Duncan, Aoife Forker, Niamh Forker, Ellen Lavery, Áine Maguire, Rachel Merry, Bernadette Murray, Caitlin Murray, Caoimhe O’Kane, Sinéad Quinn, Eimear Smyth.

Verdict: Should certainly qualify for a semi-final and a third successive final appearance is very much in their own hands.

Fixtures

May 21: Limerick (A)

May 28: Down (h)

June 11: Roscommon (h)

June 25: Antrim (a)

Antrim II: Áine Graham, Megan McGarry, Eilís Kearns, Enya McShane, Emma Laverty, Katie Laverty, Maria McLarnon, Claire Kearney, Anna McNeill, Caoimhe McNaughton, Dervla Cosgrove, Fionnuala Kelly, Nuala Devlin, Sinéad Cosgrove, Orlagh Laverty, Orla Donnelly, Bronach Magill, Cassie McArthur, Brid Magill, Tara O’Neill, Brogan Abram, Caitlin Heggarty, Ellen Leech, Lisa McConville.

Verdict: Should certainly qualify for a semi-final. As long as they do not lose players to the senior squad, they can even make Croke Park

Fixtures

May 21: Roscommon (a)

June 11: Down (a)

June 25: Armagh (h)

July 2: Limerick (h)

Down: Danielle McCourt, Kate McAleenan, Catherine O’Hare, Jessica Rushe, Aimee Mallon, Aoife Savage capt., Nicola McCabe, Aoife McDowell, Colleen McConnell, Gerra McGrattan, Katie McGilligan, Frances Toner, Toni Casement, Orlaith McCusker, Eva Gallagher, Megan O’Boyle, Danielle Higgins.

Verdict : They will have done well if they avoid heavy defeats and finish off the bottom of the table

Fixtures

May 28: Armagh (a)

June 11: Antrim (h)

June 25: Limerick (a)

July 2: Roscommon (h)

Cavan: Jenny O’Rourke, Áine Finnegan, Eirinn Galligan, Nomanda Majola, Aideen Coyle, Rosie Crowe-McKeever, Lorraine O’Rourke, Hannah Fitzsimons, Emer Fitzpatrick, Clodagh Keenaghan, Aislinn Keenaghan, Josephine Maguire, Carmel Fay, Shanise Fitzsimons, Eimear Brady, Tina Reilly, Niamh Keenaghan, Suzanne Cusack, Aisling Collins, Laura Bambrick, Eimear Cahill, Katie Fitzpatrick, Aoife Brady, Kerrie McQuillan, Aoife Crowe, Meghan Shields, Áine Corcoran, Emma Mulvanney, Ciara Fitzpatrick, Róisín O’Keefe, Ciara Finnegan.

Verdict : Their league campaign could be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the players will have gained confidence, but now everyone else is alert to their potential. If Shanise Fitzsimons does not keep delivering goals, they will struggle for results. However if they beat Waterford, they should reach the semi-finals.

Cavan games:

May 21: Tipperary (a)

May 28: Waterford (h)

June 18: May (a)

July 2: Clare (h)

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