By Kieran Lynch
DIVISION 1B sides Antrim and Down will be looking at this weekend as an opportunity to build on wins they gained last week.
Antrim claimed their second win in as many Division 1B games, as they defeated Limerick 2-17 to 1-11 away from home, whilst Down picked up their first win of the campaign, overcoming Offaly 0-13 to 0-9.
This weekend, Antrim will be hopeful of making it three wins on the spin as they face Offaly, who remain pointless, whilst Down travel to Wexford, who lost by 12 points away to Waterford.
For Antrim against Limerick, Caitrin Dobbin was in inspired form, as she notched 1-7 for her side. The first half was nip and tuck, and after playing against a strong breeze, Antrim put themselves in a strong position as they led by a point, owing to an Aine Magill goal which had them 1-6 to 0-8 ahead.
They then used the wind to their advantage in the second half as they began to run away with the game. The Saffrons dominated the third quarter of the game as they outscored their hosts 1-7 to 0-2 in that crucial phase, and Limerick never threatened a late comeback.
Elsewhere in Division 1B, Down bounced back from their opening day loss to Antrim by battling to a four-point win over Offaly. Star forward Niamh Mallon was once again in top form, scoring 0-8.
The Mourne girls raced into a strong start and led 0-7 to 0-3 with just under 20 minutes on the clock, but Offaly’s Siohan Flannery, who scored eight of their nine points, was keeping the Leinster side in the game, and the sides went in with just three points between them at the break.
However, Down held their nerve in the second half, and saw out the game in style as late points from Ciara Fitzsimons and Mallon put the game beyond Offaly’s reach.
In Division 2A, Derry are in hot form, and they will be looking to make it three wins from three this weekend when they travel to Laois.
Derry claimed their second win in a row, as they defeated Westmeath 1-9 to 0-7 at TEG Cusack Park, which followed on from their opening day 2-13 to 1-7 triumph over Cavan.
Speaking of Cavan, they were able to bounce back from that loss with an impressive 2-6 to 0-10 victory over Laois to claim their first win of the campaign. Up next, they have a long journey down to Kerry, who have a win and a draw on their record.
In Division 3A, Armagh and Tyrone begin their seasons this weekend, as Armagh host Mayo and Tyrone welcome Kildare to Killyclogher.
Finally, in Division 3B, the Antrim juniors won their league opener, as they defeated Limerick 0-10 to 1-5 away from home.
Cara O’Boyle led the way for the Saffrons with 0-5, whilst Dervla Cosgrove, who scored four goals in last year’s Junior All-Ireland final, finished with a more modest personal tally on this occasion, as she hit 0-3.
Antrim are away to Offaly this weekend, who suffered a 32-point hammering at the hands of Dublin in their first game.