Huge weekend for Ulster camogie sides

By Niall McCoy

All-Ireland Senior Camogie

Championship relegation play-off final

Down v Westmeath

Saturday, Inniskeen, 1.30pm

DOWN have one last shot of playing in the top tier in 2022, and they will fancy their chances against Westmeath.

In saying that, they felt that they had a great chance against Offaly in the first play-off last weekend but Siobhan Flannery’s incredible 4-4 tally put paid to those ambitions. Down’s defence was hit by Covid issues and injuries and it showed.

It had been competitive for three quarters of the contest, but the Faithful hit two goals in a minute just before the second-half water break to take control. It was particularly harsh on Niamh Mallon who was once again excellent for Derek Dunne’s side.

While Down have been losing narrowly throughout the championship, Westmeath have looked somewhat out of their depth. The closest they got to an opponent in the group stages was a six-point loss to Clare.

Manager Darren McCormack will be happy with some of what he saw in their last game against the Banner though. They trailed by 10 points early on but rather than ship a hammering, they reduced the arrears with Megan Dowdall’s free-taking brilliant as usual.

Still though, this is a great opportunity for the Mourne county, and they probably do deserve to remain in the top flight.

Verdict: Down

All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Championship quarter-finals

Antrim v Kerry

Saturday, St Rynagh’s, 3pm

IF Antrim are to return to the Intermediate final then they will have to do it through the quarter-final route having finished second in their group.

They weren’t far off having lost out to Kilkenny on scoring difference, and another 1-1 tagged on in the rout of Kildare last time out would have earned a semi-final spot.

The Ulster side were good after a slow start against the Lilywhites, who actually played in black. They trailed 1-2 to 0-4 at the first-half water break but didn’t look back from there. Caitrin Dobbin (2) and Katie McAleese found the net in the 3-16 to 1-7 win.

Maeve Kelly and Amy Boyle missed out through injury and if they are fit, then the task gets even bigger for the Kingdom.

The Munster outfit earned wins over Tipperary and Laois in the group stages, but the way they were dismantled by Derry suggests that Antrim will be well fit to progress.

Verdict: Antrim

All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Championship quarter-finals

Derry v Meath

Sunday, Inniskeen, 1pm

DERRY can feel somewhat aggrieved to be in the quarter-finals as they are the only group winners involved at this stage.

These sides met at this stage in last year’s competition and it was the Royals who ran out victors by double scores – 1-13 to 0-8.

The Oak Leafers actually moved a point ahead early in the second half, but they would only raise one white flag from there with Meath tagging on 1-7.

Derry have lost five of the Swatragh contingent from that game last year – four starters and Dara McGuckin who came off the bench – but you wouldn’t have known by their group performances as they eased past Laois, Kerry and Tipperary.

Dual star Aine McAllister, Therese Mellon, Aoife Shaw and Dervla O’Kane continue to score heavily and they can gain some revenge at Grattan Park.

Verdict: Derry

All-Ireland Premier Junior Camogie Championship quarter-finals

Armagh v Limerick

Saturday, Coralstown Kinnegad, 3pm

ARMAGH’S hopes of an automatic semi-final spot were ruined by their bogey team Wexford last weekend.

It was the third time Mattie Lennon’s side have met the Model county this year and all three have ended in defeat.

The combined losing margin over the fixtures was eight points, so who knows, maybe they’ll get another shot at revenge.

Ciara Donnelly missed a penalty when Armagh were in the ascendancy early on, but she did chip in with seven points. Bernie Murray, Ciara Hill, Eimear Hayes and Ashlinn Harvey were other players who performed well.

The holders can expect a stiff examination from a Limerick side that eased past Cavan and Down in the group, scoring five goals in the process. It should be close, but the Orchard county can get the job done.

Verdict: Armagh

All-Ireland Premier Junior Camogie Championship quarter-finals

Cavan v Roscommon

Sunday, TBC, 2pm

CAVAN went on a memorable run to last year’s final after claiming the Nancy Murray title, and they have been very competitive again in 2021.

After losing out to a strong Limerick outfit, they responded with a 1-11 to 1-3 win over Down to book their spot in the quarter-finals.

Conditions were not ideal, but Jimmy Greville’s side just always looked that little bit sharper with Elaine Brady scoring 1-1 and Clodagh Keeneghan 0-4.

Roscommon scored 2-26 against Kildare but then lost narrowly to Clare. They may have too much firepower for the Breffni county.

Verdict: Roscommon

Nancy Murray Cup semi-final

Tyrone v Wicklow

Saturday, Inniskeen, 5.30pm

THESE sides met in the league back in May and Tyrone recorded a 4-15 to 2-10 win, so they should be confident of returning to the final once again.

Declan Sherlock’s side hit 8-31 against a reformed Donegal in the Nancy Murray group stage, but they did lose out to Mayo by nine points last weekend.

Wicklow have actually only played once as their scheduled tie with Monaghan was cancelled. They did hammer Louth by 24 points but Tyrone will be a considerable step up in class.

Verdict: Tyrone

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