Ulster will be strongly represented in today’s Semi-Finals of the All-Ireland Ladies’ Junior Football Championship when Antrim face Carlow at Lann Liere, Dunleer (Co. Louth) and Fermanagh cross swords with Limerick at Kiltoom (Co Roscommon) with both games getting under way at 1.30pm.
Both counties have been to the fore at this level in recent seasons and today they get the opportunity to set up what would be an attractive all-Ulster Final.
Neither side, though, is taking anything for granted. Both have turned in some impressive performances to date and Antrim in particular need no reminding of the challenge that Carlow will offer given that the Saffrons only managed to beat them by 3-22 to 3-18 in their last Championship meeting.
Antrim captain Cathy Carey, though, feels that the bond within the side has strengthened and that this can stand to each of the players today.
“We are very committed as a unit and this is proving a big help,” states Carey.
“We have been gaining in experience as we moved along and while we know that Carlow will be extremely difficult to counter, nevertheless we would like to think that the extra experience we have gained will help us when the heat is on.”
As well as skippering the side, Carey is also a proficient scorer and in this context she is joined by Orlaith Prenter, Aine Tubridy and Grainne McLaughlin.
Fermanagh have made good progress in the ladies’ sector and today they will come up against a Limerick outfit that has been in fine form of late.
Limerick are a mix of youth and experience and have shown themselves to be a resilient, robust side indeed who like to play on the front foot.
But Fermanagh will be undeterred.
In Eimear Smyth and Blaithin Bogue, they have two top-class finishers who are capable of helping to sustain their team’s momentum by picking off scores.
Smyth in particular has been in fine form yet again but like her colleagues she is taking nothing for granted.
“Every game is a new test and we will be taking it cautiously. Obviously it would be great to reach the All-Ireland Final and we hope to give it everything in trying to achieve this,” says Smyth.