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Derry, Armagh, Antrim and Cavan all have sights set on All-Ireland Camogie Finals at variety of levels


Aine McAllister will be hoping to fire the way ahead for Derry

Aine McAllister will be hoping to fire the way ahead for Derry

©INPHO/Ken Sutton

Aine McAllister will be hoping to fire the way ahead for Derry

No fewer than four Ulster counties face the inviting prospect of making it into All-Ireland Camogie Finals this weekend.

Derry perhaps face the most difficult task when they confront Cork in an Intermediate Championship Semi-Final at Nowlan Park, Kilkenny (4pm) today.

In the Premier Junior Championship Semi-Finals, Armagh will meet Cavan at O’Connor Park, Tullamore (1pm), while in the other last-four clash on what is an attractive double bill, Antrim will take on Clare (3.30pm).

Fresh from their emphatic Quarter-Final win over Dublin, Derry are preparing to lift their game another notch against a Cork outfit that is laced with experience.

Yet in Aine McAllister, Sinead McGill and Mairead McNicholl, Derry have proficient finishers who are well capable of creating problems for the Cork defence. In overcoming the Dubs by 1-23 to 1-10, the north west side revealed the kind of finishing power and tenacity that could stand them in good stead today.

Cork’s team is a mixture of youth and experience, and their ability to counter-attack at considerable pace can discomfit opponents, but Derry’s rearguard is primed for a big test.

In the Premier Junior Championship, Armagh may have a head start on Cavan in terms of experience. The Orchard County can look to ace scorers in Ciara Donnelly, Michelle McArdle, Rachel Merry and Leanne Donnelly, all of whom have been displaying consistent form of late.

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Cavan, though, have made steady progress and manager Phil Brady is hoping his side can get into their stride quickly.

“We know Armagh are a very experienced team at this level but we don’t fear anyone. I think the way we have played in our games to date this year is proof of that but we definitely need to put our best foot forward in this particular tie given what is at stake,” insisted Brady.

Antrim, meanwhile, look to be in fine fettle for their clash with Clare. The Saffrons have been totting up some fine performances with Dervla Cosgrove, Megan McGarry, Caoimhe McNaughton, Fionnuala Kelly, Orlagh Laverty, Brid Magill and Maria McLarnon to the fore. Indeed, their team’s three victories in the round-robin group stage have helped to breed confidence and stability within the side.

Antrim joint-manager Mark McFadden is hoping his side can reach what he thinks could prove “a great all-Ulster Final” irrespective of whether they meet Armagh or Cavan.

In the Senior Camogie Championship Semi-Finals, Cork will meet Waterford today at Croke Park (3.15pm), while Galway will face Kilkenny in the other clash on what is an alluring Croke Park double bill (5.15pm).

Waterford have shot to the fore having beaten Limerick by 3-16 to 1-12 and in Beth Carton, Niamh Rockett and Lorraine Bray they have players who can pose problems for the Leesiders’ defence.

Galway, though, will be missing a few key players for their game against Kilkenny, who will look to Denise Gaule, Miriam Walsh, Sophie Dwyer and Mary O’Connell for inspiration.

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