Red Hands set for Smithboro showdown

MONAGHAN will be aiming to ambush Tyrone along the old track bed of the Enniskillen -Clones railway line at Smithboro on Sunday in the semi-final of the Ulster Ladies Intermediate Championship (throw-in 2pm).

While the Red Hands eased to a comfortable 3-12 to 2-8 victory in the league meeting back in February they are expecting a much sterner test this time around. Since then Darren Greenan’s side have made gradual improvement, winning two matches to avoid relegation.

Tyrone coach Barry Grimes has plenty of experience of competing with Monaghan sides and he’s understandably cautious about Sunday.

“Monaghan will have been planning quietly over the last four or five weeks for this game and will present us with a huge challenge. Being a home fixture for them is something they will be wanting to take advantage of too,” the Beragh clubman pointed out.

Monaghan will relish a crack at Tyrone again and could cause Sean O’Kane’s charges plenty of problems.

Several players from the successful Ulster minor winning squad have been added to the Tyrone panel, albeit for development purposes.

Grimes stresses that the mood in the camp has been upbeat in the aftermath of reaching the League Final at Croke Park last month.

“The mood has been really good within the group. Everyone is looking forward to the challenge of the championship. The start of the club league gave the girls something different to focus on after the trip to Croke Park.

“As for now, all focus is firmly on Monaghan. We have players stepping up and that’s the natural thing to do”.

That Croke Park trip on the back of promotion to Division One for the first time since 2016 has been shelved now and while they just came up short against Kildare it was still a positive outing for Tyrone.

Grimes added: “The League final result was disappointing of course but the performance wasn’t. We have a good indicator as to where we are and now, we have progressed with still plenty to work on going forward.”

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