McAleese points the way ahead for Antrim
When Antrim were unable to field a side in order to fulfil their recent game against Tipperary, it was felt that their prospects of completing their itinerary in group two of the All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Championship had been seriously diminished.
But the side gave the best possible answer to the cynics by turning in a commanding performance to overcome Kildare by 4-17 to 1-12 at the weekend and set the scene for what could prove another fruitful exercise against Westmeath on Saturday week.
While the Saffrons had, of course, earlier missed the boat in terms of being in contention for honours, the revival against the Lilywhites has served to inculcate fresh optimism within their camp.
A Roisin McCormick goal helped to underpin Antrim's 1-10 to 0-8 interval lead and when the same player helped herself to another goal shortly after the resumption Antrim gained appreciably in confidence.
If McCormick's brace of major scores proved important, then the 10 points which the consistently accurate Katie McAleese contributed did even more to cement the team's renaissance.
Aishling McFadden, Charlene McCarry, Maebh Kelly, Kirsty McKendry and Amy Boyle were other Antrim players who stepped up smartly to the mark.
Donegal, meanwhile, have booked a place in the last eight of the All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship following a hard-earned 0-17 to 0-14 victory over a plucky Tipperary side.
Donegal looked to be coasting into the next stage of the competition when they led by 0-14 to 0-8 at one stage but Tipperary staged a resolute comeback and the Ulster champions had to look to their defensive efficiency to come out on top in the end.
Geraldine McLaughlin scored 10 of their points with Yvonne Bonner, Eilis Ward and Karen Guthrie other players to impress.
Donegal join Dublin, Cork, Galway, Kerry, Westmeath and Mayo who have already made it through to the last eight with the remaining slot set to go to either Armagh or Monaghan.
Although Monaghan are still in the frame, they slipped up badly at the weekend when they were on the receiving end of a 7-7 to 1-9 drubbing from Cork, but Cavan fared a little better against Dublin to whom they lost by 5-15 to 2-13.
Monaghan's defeat came as a major shock as they had been hoping to make an impact against Cork having drawn against Armagh in their opening match and manager Annemarie Burns now has the difficult task of attempting to restore morale as the championship reaches a critical juncture.
She still has a raft of experienced players at her disposal, though, and this could prove key to a Tyrone recovery mission.