Busy weekend for Ulster ladies teams

By Niall Gartland

WE’RE all set for a hectic weekend on the ladies front with all nine Ulster teams set to take to the pitch on Sunday.

The sole Division One team from the province, Armagh, travel to Ashbourne to take on Meath ladies, who happen to be managed by former Orchard boss Shane McCormack.

Both teams have won their three matches to date so this is a top of the table clash but Armagh will be mindful they’ve lost their previous three matches against Meath.

Tyrone are riding the crest of a wave in Division Two. They’ve been in sparkling form and have a 100 per cent record as they head into their fourth round clash against bottom-placed Laois. It would be a considerable surprise if Tyrone slip up given their contrasting fortunes but they can’t afford to get complacent.

Then there’s the all-Ulster clash between Monaghan and Donegal, both of whom are under new management this season and have endured a considerable transition in personnel.

The Farney have had some good performances so they can count themselves somewhat unfortunate to be pointless after three games, while Donegal are tipping along nicely with two wins to their names. They returned to winning ways a week ago with a deserved 1-9 to 1-3 victory over Westmeath and their push to achieve promotion back to Division One will gather pace if they can pick up another win against Monaghan on Sunday.

The fourth Ulster team operating at Division Two, namely Cavan, have done okay so far but sit a fairly uncomfortable third from bottom after three matches. They’ve been a little toothless up front, average a shade under five points a game, so they’ll be hoping for better when they take on Westmeath this Sunday.

Then in Division Three, Antrim are bidding to pick up their first win at the fourth time of asking when they take on Down. They’ll have to fare without Therese Mellon, who received a red card in their gut-wrenching defeat to Wexford last weekend. Down have done a little better in their campaign so far but last year’s All-Ireland Junior champions will be disappointed if they don’t win this one, especially with so many key Antrim players unavailable from last year.

Finally in Division Four, Derry have struggled, losing all four of their matches, and they’ll be hoping for the fillip of a badly needed win when they host Longford. Fermanagh, by contrast, are joint-top and they’re a sure bet to get the better of Kilkenny.

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