TG4 All-Ireland Junior Football Championship
Sunday 8th November
Antrim v Derry- Augher [1pm throw-in]
By Kevin Herron
Antrim ladies manager Dee McConville insists that his side will misjudge Derry at their peril ahead of Sundays winner-takes- all clash in the TG4 All-Ireland Junior Football Championship.
A place in the last four is on the line when the Ulster rivals meet in Augher [1pm throw-in] and McConville has warned his side against under-estimating the threat from the Oak-Leaf ladies, pointing back to the Ulster final two-years ago when Derry claimed the title against the Saffrons.
“Derry have had the same run in the league as we had” believes McConville.
“Neither of us won a league game but we’ll misjudge them at our peril, it was something we done two years ago in the Ulster final. They weren’t going great guns and they came out against us and had a great game. In games at this level; with a wee bit of co-ordination, the girls pulling in the same direction and a bit of hear- you’d be surprised what could be achieved on any given day- especially in Championship. If we can get our ducks in a row and get all the girls pulling in the same direction hopefully we can get across the line on Sunday”.
Goal-scorer from last weeks game against Limerick [Meabh McCurdy] is a late fitness doubt for the Saffrons – having picked up a niggle in last Sundays defeat.
McConville is hopeful that McCurdy will occupy her role in the full-forward line and was impressed by a number of performances last week.
“Meabh [McCurdy] had a bit of a niggle mid-game but she’ll have a fitness test before hand to see if she’ll be available and fingers crossed she’ll come through” said the Saffron boss.
“The three girls that came back last week [Saoirse Tennyson, Ciara Brown and Meabh] had great games. I was very impressed with Grainne McLoughlin at wing-half forward, Niamh Enright- who wouldn’t be considered a wing-back- done very well. Anna McCann kept us in the game for as long as she possibly could. She saved two or three point-blank shots that should have been goals and kept us in it for long enough”.
“Limerick had a bit of a purple patch at the start of the second-half, they scored a goal and a few points and pulled away from us- up until that we were only two-points down at half-time. If we can keep our focus for a full sixty minutes and drive on then hopefully we will get the result on Sunday”.
McConville was pleased to be able to watch back the game from last week and analyse areas of improvement. He insists from their mistakes- especially on the free count.
“The good thing about the game being recorded was that we can watch it back and analyse it” McConville admits.
“Sometimes when you watch a match live on the side of a pitch you don’t get to catch an awful lot. I watched it back a couple of times and we have so much room for improvement. We have a smashing panel and a smashing squad and if we can get the girls firing on all cylinders then we can do great things with this bunch of girls”.
“Of terms in things we can improve on, our work-rate wasn’t on power with Limerick. They were very quick and out in front, our passing and completion rate could improve because we lost possession a lot. I thought we could have taken more chances and there were some lazy tackles. Things like that we need to pay more attention to. The most frustrating thing was scoreable frees that resulted from tackles gave them a tally of 1-03 and we got beat by 1-03 so we have to learn from that”.