Football

Tyrone and Monaghan meet in first Ulster derby of Division Two campaign

Armagh look for third straight Division One win as Galway come north

Monaghan manager Darren Greenan
Darren Greenan Monaghan manager Darren Greenan knows his side face a battle to stay in Division Two after losing their first two games (David Fitzgerald / SPORTSFILE)

LIDL LADIES’ NFL

SUNDAY (2pm)

DIVISION ONE

Armagh v Galway (the BOX-IT Athletic Grounds)

ARMAGH will hope to keep their shoulder to the wheel and continue their unbeaten start to the season with victory over Galway.

The Orchard County have settled back into Division One seamlessly with two wins from two, including a superb win away to Cork last weekend. That leaves them at the top of the table with Kerry and Meath.

Galway have yet to register any points after losing to Cork and Mayo and on Armagh’s current form the Tribe could be looking at a third straight defeat.

However, the margins between winning and losing are fine, especially in the top division, and Armagh know Galway, who were league finalists last year, are not to be taken for granted.

Other games

Sunday (2pm) Mayo v Dublin (Ballina); Waterford v Meath (Fraher Field)

Monday Kerry v Cork (Austin Stack Park, 3pm, live on TG4)

DIVISION TWO

Tyrone v Monaghan (Moortown)

Tyrone host Monaghan in the first all-Ulster Division Two clash of the season and their respective starts could not be more contrasting.

Sean O’Kane’s Red Hand side find themselves joint-leaders, unbeaten after two rounds, while Darren Greenan’s Monaghan are at the opposite end, still looking for their first win and points.

Tyrone opened their campaign with a win over Westmeath and they followed that up last weekend in Healy Park with victory over Tipperary.

Monaghan lost to Kildare, who are joint-leaders with the Red Hands, the first day out, then last week, they fell short against Westmeath despite a late charge.

Greenan admits if he could swap places with Tyrone he would, but feels, that despite the results, his side, who are still in the early stages of forming as a new-look group and in the rebuilding process, are heading in the right direction.

“We are very early in our development process but in saying that it’s a results game and people are looking at the scores and to see if you have won games or if you have lost games, but there is a lot of good stuff going on in the background,” said Greenan.

“We are seeing improvement from game to game. The first game [against Kildare] was a tough game, especially with the weather, but we showed real character, which is the most important thing, we are showing a real desire, a will to win.

“There are fine margins between winning and losing, especially in ladies’ football. A couple of goals can make a big difference. We scored 2-13 against Westmeath, that was a big score and come away with nothing. Fifteen scores would get you over the line in a lot of games. “I suppose we just need to tighten up a bit in our defensive structure and that is probably the difference in the first couple of games, because we are going well otherwise.”

When it comes to league games between the two, Monaghan have always had the upper hand. The only points Tyrone have collected over the last decade came two years ago, when the sides drew in their 2022 league encounter.

Greenan is expecting another huge battle tomorrow but knows that if they can make some more small improvements that will help them in their overall performance.

“Monaghan and Tyrone will always be a battle when they play each other. I wouldn’t be expecting too much different,” he said.

“Tyrone have had a great start to the league, two wins from two, and they are probably looking towards the upper end of the table in terms of promotion, whereas we are probably looking at the opposite direction and have our eyes there.

“We have been performing reasonably well, we if can click on another couple of things, improve on another couple of small things. I think the team is good enough to stay in Division Two and operate at the upper end of it.

‘’We are probably on the back foot now. I wouldn’t argue otherwise, If I was offered to swap positions with Tyrone in the morning I would, but we are up for the fight.

‘’We have shown great character in the games, it’s not as if we have lay down or rolled over, and we definitely have character and good leaders in our group and they have been standing up, there is a hunger to win and succeed and hopefully we can keep that up.”

Donegal v Westmeath (O’Donnell Park)

DONEGAL will look to return to winning ways against Westmeath when they meet in Letterkenny.

Both sides have one win from two, so this is a crucial game before they head into a break between rounds three and four next weekend.

Donegal lost to Kildare last day out but know it was a game they could have won, although managing just a single point in the second half was never going to be good enough.

Westmeath held on against Monaghan for their first win, after losing to Tyrone, and they face Ulster opposition for the third successive week.

Cavan v Kildare (Belturbet)

CAVAN got their first league points with a win over Laois last weekend that will certainly give Mickey O’Rourke and his players a huge boost in confidence as they get ready to face leaders Kildare.

The Lilywhites are top of the table alongside Tyrone. They are unbeaten so far and will be favourites to make it three from three, but Cavan, after their three-point victory over Laois, will know they have nothing to fear.

Laois v Tipperary (Crettyard)