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Ulster sides beaten in qualifiers

By Damien Donnelly

Donegal and Antrim failed to clear first round hurdles in the All-Ireland ladies' football qualifying competition over the weekend.

Antrim lost to Leitrim by 3-20 to 2-15 in a high-scoring intermediate round one contest and Donegal fell to Westmeath on a margin of 1-15 to 1-7 in the senior championship grade.

Donegal had staged a decent enough show against subsequent title winners Monaghan in the Ulster semi-final but the Tir Chonaill girls could not produce their best as Westmeath ran out convincing victors.

Westmeath established an interval advantage of 0-7 to 0-2, although Donegal rallied well in the third quarter to register points courtesy of Rose Boyle, Karen Guthrie and Eilish Ward.

Roisin Curran was unlucky to see a goalbound shot strike the Leitrim post but Curran did find the net not long after and brought Donegal within a point of their opponents.

The Leinster side, though, shifted through the gears again and a Karen Hegarty goal heading into the last 15 minutes provided a platform for her side to win.

Fiona Leavy finished with seven points to her name for Westmeath, Donegal's overall scoring list comprising 1-1 for Roisin Curran, Eilish Ward(0-3), Karen Guthrie (0-2) and Rose Boyle (0-1)

Meanwhile, Clare Timoney, Catherine Mullan, Emma Kelly and the Antrim camp put together a solid national league campaign earlier this season but they were unable to get past the championship challenge of Leitrim despite chalking up 2-15 on the day.

The All-Ireland qualifiers in the early part of August will feature some interesting round two games, including Armagh v Cork and Tyrone v Clare in senior football circles.

Intermediate contenders Down, Fermanagh and Cavan plus Derry (junior championship) carry Ulster hopes while Monaghan are already into the All-Ireland last eight pool.

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