O’Kane wants to maintain promotion push

AHEAD of what will be one of their toughest tests so far in the National League this Sunday against Donegal at Ballybofey, Tyrone ladies senior manager Sean O’Kane is delighted that his side is well placed in the Division Two table approaching the run in.

The Red Hands sit in second spot with ten points on the board from four games, after three victories and a draw from their last outing against Laois. The way things stand, a win against third-placed Donegal this weekend could tee up the side for a date at Croke Park.

O’Kane is happy where they are sitting at this juncture and jokes that no relegation worries makes for a pleasant change.

“We are in a good position and exceeding expectations at this stage of the league. It’s nice to be at the top end of the table for a change.”

Emma Conroy and Aine Strain returned from injury at Aghaloo against Laois a fortnight ago and overall there’s no major injury concerns for the trip to Ballybofey.

O’Kane admits that there is room for improvement after the outing against Laois.

“Laois are a strong team although the table doesn’t reflect the quality that they have. They’re playing Senior Championship and we suffered defeats the last two outings against them. A draw was probably fair result on the day given we didn’t play in the first half. We are focused now on the games ahead.”

A new look Donegal side under John McNulty drew with Monaghan last time out having beaten Laois and Westmeath. A stiff Ulster derby against one of the Senior Championship sides will allow O’Kane and his management team to assess where their team are.

Five points down on two occasions against Laois, Tyrone were unlucky in the end not to win the game. They showed character after a poor first half – scoring just three points – and the strong belief in the squad has been evident this season.

There is a positive mood in the camp.

The players have gelled together well and there is a healthy competition for starting places.

O’Kane continued: “Competition for places is helping the buzz at training and the girls are putting in the effort. Hopefully we get a few more results over the next weeks to keep building for the championship.”

Before that Intermediate Championship semi-final against Monaghan in early May, Tyrone could yet make the league final. The next three games will certainly have a bearing on the top two positions.

Kildare are favourites for a spot in the Division Two decider at headquarters. They face Laois this weekend before travelling to Beragh for what could well be a top spot decider with Tyrone.

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