Free-scoring Begley primed to fire Tyrone into All-Ireland final
Gemma Begley will shoulder a big burden of responsibility in the Tyrone attack when Sligo form the opposition in today’s All-Ireland Ladies Intermediate Football Championship semi-final at Fr Tierney Park, Ballyshannon (4.00).
Sharpshooter Begley helped herself to five points in the Red Hands’ fine 1-15 to 2-8 quarter-final win over Wexford and her experience, craft and shooting skills will certainly help to boost Gerry Moane’s side against a Sligo outfit that is keen to atone for losing to Kildare in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final.
While Begley’s fire-power is a key Tyrone weapon, the side is not without other influential players. Shannon Lynch is one of the best goalkeepers in the ladies’ game, Neamh Woods is an inspirational skipper, Christiane Hunter provides power and energy in the half-back line while Maria Canavan, Chloe McCaffrey and Niamh O’Neill provide valuable support for Begley up front.
Tyrone have recovered from a sluggish start to the season and although they were pushed all the way by a lively Wexford side in their last outing, their improved cohesion and sharper creativity helped to carry them through to the last four.
In an All-Ireland Intermediate championship shoot-out Fermanagh will play Longford today while tomorrow Cavan will take on Tipperary in a similar battle at Dolan Park, Virginia (1.00).
Both Fermanagh and Cavan have found it hard to achieve consistency this year and this has resulted in their shared battle to retain their current status.
While both teams include some extremely competent finishers — Cavan’s Aishling Doonan and Fermanagh’s Eimear Smyth are very much cases in point — it’s their ongoing tendency to leak too much at the back that has served to plunged both into the relegation zone.
Cavan lost to neighbours Monaghan by 2-15 to 0-15 in their last outing and will find Tipperary difficult opponents.
In an All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Championship semi-final today, Down will face Tipperary at Coralstown, Kinnegad (1.15).
Down have tended to make life difficult for themselves this year but their side still contains a strong core of experience. Skipper Paula O’Hagan, Fionnuala Carr, Niamh Mallon and Marie Higgins can provide the impetus for what is hoped will prove a significant victory.
But the Mourne girls will require to look more compact at the back this time out.