All-Ireland Junior Championship Round One
Cavan v Fermanagh
Sunday, Lannleire, 3pm
By Niall Gartland
CAPTAINCY – it’s usually an honour bestowed on the more experienced members of a team, but that certainly isn’t the case for the Fermanagh ladies.
Andrea Gordon is 35 years old, but remarkably never played nor even really countenanced playing intercounty football until this year.
Not only was she drafted into the squad by new team manager James Daly, but she was handed the captain’s armband.
She’ll lead her side into Sunday’s All-Ireland Championship group stage opener against Cavan, and she’s glad to do so.
The Derrygonnelly player said: “I don’t know what notion came over me – it wasn’t really on my radar to play county football.
“When the management rang me, I thought ‘if I don’t go now, I could look back with regrets’ so I thought I’d see how it goes and so far, so good.”
She continued: “I’m not sure how the process worked in previous years, I was never approached and I didn’t think to go out on my own bat either, but it’s worked out well for me this year.”
She was disappointed to miss out on lifting the Ulster Junior Championship trophy – they lost the final by a point to Antrim – but the All-Ireland Championship has sharpened minds.
They won the All-Ireland Junior title two years ago and are back in the same ranks after last year’s relegation.
Gordon said: “The girls have done really well. I think they were unfortunate when they moved to Intermediate as they lost games here and there by a point or two, so everyone’s very optimistic.
“We’d a good run in Ulster this year, we’re still feeling a bit hard done by, losing by a point to Antrim, but we’ve picked ourselves up again and are hoping to give the All-Ireland a good rattle.”
Their upcoming opponents Carlow had a dreadful league campaign, failing to pick up a single point, so Fermanagh are strong favourites for this one. Gordon points out that League and Championship form don’t necessarily correlate
“I honestly don’t know too much about hem but I’m sure the management are looking at match-ups and things like that through their video analysis.
“We haven’t met them in a couple of years, we’re probably different to the last time we played them and vice-versa.
“You can’t judge by the league too much. Training is ramped up for championship, sometimes girls come in late in the season, and I’m sure they’ll be a tough outfit. At the same time we’re confident we can get a result.”
All-Ireland intermediate Championship Round Two
Louth v Down
Sunday, Dundalk, 2pm
THIS is a must-win game for Down ladies after they lost their opening round fixture to Clare at the weekend.
There are only three teams in Down’s group, so they only have two opportunities of advancing and they must defeat Louth to qualify for the quarter-finals.
The Banner County took the long journey to Páirc Esler and secured a 1-17 to 0-8 victory, but it should be a closer contest this weekend against Louth. Down secured a four-point win over the Wee County when they met earlier in the season. They can take a big step forward in the championship if they win this weekend.