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Derry to take on Monaghan in under-17 curtain-raiser

 

By Declan Bogue

The Ulster Championship summer gets off this weekend - or at least a version of it - when Derry meet Monaghan in the new Under-17 grade Championship that has replaced the Minor Championship.

Derry have been very strong at the previous minor level of Under-18, so much so that, after they reached the All-Ireland final last September, manager Damian McErlain landed the senior job.

Now, this group is managed by former Donegal full back Paddy Campbell of the Glenties, who has been involved in Derry football since throwing his lot in with Steelstown in 1999, managing them to a county Intermediate final in 2010.

Monaghan are managed by Seamus McEnaney, a man who needs no introduction after his spells at the helm of his native county, that game taking place on Saturday at 6pm.

In ladies' football, Armagh are out in the Division Two semi-final this weekend when they face All-Ireland Intermediate champions Tipperary in Kinnegad on Sunday with a 1pm throw-in time.

With their new management team of Lorraine McCaffrey and Fionuala McAtamney, they appear to be a step above this standard and will be looking to make an instant return to Division One after dropping down last year.

They come into this one with a bit of form behind them, having accounted for Clare last time out 2-18 to 1-10, with Aimee Mackin top-scoring with 2-6, going some way to contributing towards Armagh being the most prolific side at this level with a total of 168 points from seven games.

There may be question marks over the availability of Caroline O'Hanlon, who followed up her Commonwealth Games heroics by playing a league game for her club Manchester Thunder earlier in the week.

When these two met in the league, Tipperary shaded a close win 2-12 to 2-10.

The other semi-final features Cavan, who are meeting Waterford in Birr on Sunday with a 1pm throw-in.

In Division Three, Down square off against Meath in Inniskeen at 1pm. Manager Ryan McShane will be wary of the tallies the Royal girls are running up this season, along with the 4-13 to 2-2 defeat they shipped in the league.

Elsewhere, Antrim face Wicklow in the Division Four semi-final, taking place in Inniskeen, also at 3pm.

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