By Shaun Casey
TYRONE and Donegal picked up opening day wins in Division Two as Monaghan and Cavan suffered first round defeats in a mixed weekend for Ulster sides.
Youngster Emma Conroy and Maria Canavan slotted home three-points as the Red Hands saw off Westmeath.
Sean O’Kane’s side will once again enjoy the comforts of home advantage in round two as they welcome Tipperary, who saw off Cavan by five points last weekend, to O’Neill’s Healy Park in Omagh.
Like Tyrone, Cavan are back on home turf and hoping to make better use of it this time around. They only scored twice against Tipperary in their 1-4 to 0-2 defeat, so a better outcome in front of the posts will be their main objective.
They take on a Laois side that reached the Division Two league final last season and just missed out on promotion. Laois are also looking to get off the mark, having lost to Donegal by four points last week.
In a low scoring contest, which John McNulty’s side edged 0-7 to 0-3, Susanne White top scored with 0-5 while Katy Herron and Ava Gallagher also chipped in with points. They take on Kildare. who enjoyed a four-point victory over Monaghan in the opening round.
A Kildare goal in the first few minutes meant Monaghan were always facing an uphill battle and they couldn’t pull that major back, but they will be hopeful of gathering their first points of the campaign on Sunday against Westmeath. Down’s promotion charge may have taken a hit last weekend when they lost out to Roscommon in Division Three, but the reigning All-Ireland Junior champions will be keen to bounce back.
Peter Lynch’s side fell 0-7 to 0-1 behind at the interval and although they had the wind in their favour after the break, they couldn’t drag themselves back into the game. They will enjoy home advantage this weekend however when they take on Wexford.
Antrim’s introduction to Division Three football was a foul one as they lost out to Louth on the opening day, but the Saffrons can take heart from their performance and hope to go one better against Offaly on Sunday.
Fermanagh let two points slip away last weekend when Carlow mounted an incredible comeback to earn a draw having trailed by 14 points. The Erne County will be eager to earn a first win this weekend against Wicklow.
Derry, likewise, will be targeting a first win when they take on Leitrim having lost to Limerick in round one while Armagh make the long journey south to Cork following their opening day triumph over Waterford.