Ulster sides hoping to bounce back in camogie championships

By Shaun Casey

ANTRIM will be keen to bounce back from last week’s round one defeat to Ulster rivals Derry when they host league leaders Kilkenny on Saturday afternoon.

The Ulster champions lost out to the Oakleaf County, who they beat in the Ulster final, by ten points in the end.

Both Róisín McCormick and Dervla Cosgrove rattled the net for the Saffrons, and they’ll need that firepower to shine once again in round two, but their concession of three goals at the other end of the field was ultimately their undoing.

Defensive cohesion will be key for Antrim when they come up against a Kilkenny side that posted an eye-catching 1-19 to 0-4 victory away to Limerick in the opening round, leaving them top of the group on score difference.

Derry are joined at the top of the table with Kilkenny and Tipperary and they take on the Premier County, who beat Waterford in round one, this Saturday afternoon at Owenbeg.

Down will also be looking forward to the chance of getting over a loss right away as they welcome Cork to Páirc Esler on Saturday afternoon, following their 11-point defeat at the hands of Clare last week.

The Mourne County were well in the game at half time, with Sophie McGrath’s goal keeping them in touch as they trailed 1-6 to 1-4 at the interval. The Ulster side only scored once after the turnaround however as Clare breezed to a comfortable win.

Down’s Intermediate side took a hefty beating as they faced Tipperary in their opening round clash, losing an incredibly one-sided affair, 9-24 to 0-0, but they have home advantage against Wicklow this weekend, who didn’t feature in the opening rounds.

Division 3A and Ulster Junior champions Armagh continued their fine form in the first round of their All-Ireland campaign as they overcame Tyrone by 16 points, but Sean Hughes’ side have a bye this weekend.

Tyrone, on the other hand, have a chance to pick up their first points of the competition as they take on Tipperary, but the defensive side of their game will have to be much improved if they are to get something from the encounter.

Armagh rattled off four goals against the Red Hands, and Tipperary showed against Down that they have a real eye for goal. Up front, Paul O’Grady’s side will look to the likes of Lára Devlin, Roisin O’Neill McKee and their goal scorer from the first round, Lauren Fitzgerald.

In the second section of the Junior Championship, Cavan suffered an 18-point defeat away to Laois in round one and they’ll hope things will improve this weekend, although they have another long journey to Mayo ahead of them.

Mayo, like their opponents, head into the game off the back of a defeat the first day out so both sides will be eager to get up and running with their first points of the campaign.

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