Tyrone manager Gerry Moanes has questioned the structure of the championship ahead of his side’s meeting with Clare in the All-Ireland Intermediate Ladies Football quarter-final this evening.
It’s been seven weeks since Tyrone’s last outing with Fermanagh native Moanes critical of the long lay-off and his lack of access to players due to club commitments. “Two months almost is far too long and while I understand the clubs had football to play in the championship but it meant we didn’t have those girls the way we would have wanted, something would need to be done about such a big delay but for now we can only focus on a Clare team that will be very strong”.
Captain Neamh Woods and Cara McCrossnan are expected to return having missed their provincial final victory over Down. The Ulster side are treating the All-Ireland phase as a new competition. “This will be a new competition for us now and it’s always hard to get that first win in a new contest but that’s what we will try and do, we have had a long lay-off though, Clare were out recently as they beat Limerick and they will be hitting the ground running on Saturday, we know that and will have to try and match them in all sectors of the park, they look physically strong and have some clinical finishers.”
They suffered relegation from Division 1 of the League earlier on in 2016 but despite the losses endured Gerry feels it was a learning experience for all involved. “Everyone is working well though and are in really good shape , that has been a boost for us and we will make the best of it. We learnt a lot from the national league campaign, playing tough opposition week in week out, we didn’t get the results but we had our moments, we have had game plans and stuck to them, in the main they have worked, we will have a plan for the weekend too”.
St Lomans GAA club in Mullingar hosts the last eight clash today with throw-in scheduled for 3:45pm. While plotting for the game Moanes and his management have identified Niamh O’Dea as a player whose influence needs to be limited. “Clare lost the final narrowly to the intermediate championship favourites Tipperary, they beat Limerick in the qualifier and they look to be a strong physical side that have a couple of quality players about them. Niamh O’Dea is a player that can win ball and get scores, she has to be well marked and of course she is one of several very experienced players they can call upon”.