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Steelstown trio out to inspire Derry into All-Ireland decider

 

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On form: Megan Devine of Derry

On form: Megan Devine of Derry

On form: Megan Devine of Derry

The Steelstown club may not bask in the public spotlight too often, but tomorrow the thriving north Derry side will be very much to the fore when the county's ladies' football team bids to book a place in the All-Ireland Junior final.

The Oak Leaf girls will confront a strong Louth side at the Aghaloo club's impressive complex in Aughnacloy (1pm), and Steelstown trio Megan Devine, Emma Doherty and Ciara McGurk will spearhead the drive to secure a place in the final against Limerick or London.

Derry's loss to Carlow in their qualifying section sparked the belief that they might have missed the boat in terms of remaining in the title hunt, but a narrow win over Limerick revived optimism and now the girls are fired up to test themselves against a Louth side that looked impressive in overcoming London in their last outing.

Devine has been hitting the high spots because of her scoring feats with Derry, while Doherty and McGurk bring considerable skill to the table. Rachel Glasgow, Danielle Kivlehan and Cait Glass, along with Ciara Moore, are other key players in the side.

Moore, though, sustained an injury against Limerick and it is thought that she remains a fitness doubt.

Louth, meanwhile, possess two potential match-winners in Kate Flood and Lauren Boyle, who have been impressive this term and are likely to ask big questions of the Derry defence.

In today's All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-final at Dr Hyde Park, Roscommon (2.45pm), Donegal face a stiff test against Cork.

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The north west side have charted a steady course to date with players such as Yvonne Bonnar, Geraldine McLaughlin, Eilis Ward and Karen Guthrie underpinning their progress, but in Cork they will be facing a side that boasts a formidable Championship pedigree.

Donegal, though, will take heart from an impressive 4-11 to 2-3 victory over Cork in the group stages of this year's league campaign - but Cork were already through to the knockout stages by then.

From the outside looking in, Donegal appear to have tailed off slightly following their impressive cruise to the TG4 Ulster Championship.

They had to work hard to achieve qualifier victories over Kerry and Tipperary, and were run to three points by Armagh in the All-Ireland quarter-final.

Manager Maxi Curran is an astute tactician, though, and is hoping that his steam can peak for what will be their biggest match of the year to date.

"It's a first All-Ireland semi-final for Donegal and we could hardly be coming up against stronger opposition, but the players are relishing this challenge," maintained Curran. "This is where they want to be after all. We need to be at our best."

Caption: Shooting star: Megan Devine can fire up Derry.


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