Tyrone Ladies Footballer Hughes has a point to prove

National Football League Division two round three

Tyrone v Clare

Saturday, Drumragh, 3.15pm

The old buzz was back in the Tyrone dressing room on Sunday after they edged a two-point win over Armagh in their second national league clash of the season.

It was a far cry from the gut-wrenching eight-point loss at Meath the previous week.

Tyrone had been off the boil on the opening weekend despite a decent build up.

Dungannon’s Niamh Hughes was smiling too, though she said she found the going tough the previous week.

The tight 3G pitch didn’t suit us down there.

We didn’t reach our potential against Meath so it was good to prove to ourselves that the hard work and training is paying off.

Last Sunday was important too.”

She was critical of her own display on the opening day.

It was a questionable performance from myself and not at the standard expected by me. I knew that I had to step up last weekend.”

Niamh certainly did return to form at the weekend and played a pivotal role in the win at Armagh. She created a handful of scores and was also on target with three fine points of her own.

The win was as much a confidence booster as it was a massive three points in what is a hugely competitive Ulster dominated league.

Look every game is now so important. Regardless of who we are playing we cannot afford any more slip ups. Last week proved to ourselves we are good enough so it’s about ensuring each game is played with high intensity and desire to win.”

The Red Hand girls, who had led by four points at the break, were reeled in by the home side who levelled things by the 36th minute before Hughes and co pulled away again for a first win in the league over Armagh in 24 years.

That win over Armagh was great, not only was it was needed after the previous week against Meath but we have been getting closer to Armagh over the last number of years. It was a win we all felt we were well capable of.”

Manager Gerry Moane was happy at the response from his players after that loss.

The level of workrate, performance and creativity was back to what it should be. We won by two but could have won by more.

The defence was back to its best. There were some excellent individual displays, good scores but overall it was a quality performance and we go into this first home game with plenty of positives.”

Tyrone have three home games, the first of those this Saturday with Clare the visitors to Drumragh’s Clanabogan Park.

The Munster side travel North still in search of first league points this term but they are a capable outfit. Tyrone manager Gerry Moane watched them last week against Monaghan and expects them to be tricky.

They beat Tyrone by a single point at Doonbeg last season and, of course, Neamh O’Dey is a big scoring threat.

Niamh Hughes hit two points in that league loss last year and is looking forward to the home games this season.

There are two more to come at Healy Park against Wexford and Cavan. For now the focus is on Clare

I’m looking forward to a home fixture this week for sure. Home games are a boost. Armagh had big support last week I hope we can get a similar turn out on Saturday at Drumragh. Home games encourage support and that in turn provides extra motivation to the players to perform well and get a result, the result this weekend is vital if we are to push on from last week.”

National Football League Division two

Cavan v Wexford

Sunday, Denn, 2pm

A late Meath rally last Sunday wasn’t enough to see off Cavan in what turned into an entertaining score filled tussle. The Breffni girls bounced back after an opening day loss and will now face point-less Wexford at home this weekend full of renewed confidence.

Cavan hit three goals last weekend, Aisling Gilsenan, Roisin O’Keeffe and Catherine Dolan all finding the net and there was some quality football played against a Meath side who came North on the back of an eight-point thumping of Tyrone.

Emma Duggan’s late goal had closed the gap in last weekend’s game but Cavan were well organised and will start favourites for full points again. They will need them too in a very competitive and tight second division.

National Football League Division two

Meath v Monaghan

Sunday, Pairc Tailteann, 11.45am

Two wins on the bounce and Monaghan are sitting in prime position at the top of the table on score difference. The Farney side are eager to make a swift return to the top flight eased to an 11-point win over Clare at Clones last Saturday. That’s 8-38 scored in two games and they will certainly relish the trip to Meath.

The Royals, though are keen to play teams on 3g, they done a job on Tyrone a fortnight ago and it’s likely they will attempt to halt the Monaghan run ahead of a week off. Emma Duggan and Katy Walls remain their key players but there’s a freshness about Monaghan. Several older hands are back and mixed with some of the younger players who broke through last year they are confident of promotion.

Cora Courtney and Casey Treanor bagged the goals last weekend as Monaghan turned up the heat in the second half.

National Football League Division two

Kerry V Armagh

Sunday, Austin Stack Park, noon

Kerry thumped Wexford last week, they hit five goals on route to back to back wins and they are really taking things to the next level in the Kingdom. They had this Sunday’s opponents Armagh watched as they lost by two to Tyrone last Sunday. The previous week the same Dublin-based scout caught up with the Red Hands and Meath.

What the scout will tell them is that Tyrone improved and Armagh were well beaten by the Red Hands. Blathin Mackin and Kelly Mallon kept the scoreboard ticking over but they need more from other players, it can’t all be left to Caroline O’Hanlon and a couple of others. This will be a tricky away day for Ronan Murphy’s side who still sit third in the table.

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