Dowd Cup underway in Ulster

Caitlin Grant reports

DOWD Cup holders Monaghan got the defence of their title off to a winning start with a 5-21 to 1-3 victory over Fermanagh at the weekend. There were also wins for Tyrone who beat Down 5-11 to 1-10 and for Queen’s who had a comprehensive victory over St Mary’s at the Dub.

In Scotstown, Monaghan were well in control at the break leading 2-9 to 0-1 against a Fermanagh side missing their All-Ireland Club Intermediate winning Lisnaskea players. Catriona McConnell grabbed Monaghan’s two first half goals while sharp-shooter Caoimhe Mohan continued where she left off last season with two goals and Roisin McKenna the other. Aisling Moane finished with 1-2 for Fermanagh. Monaghan fielded a mixed side of youth and experience, young players like the 2011 Ulster Young Player of the Year Ciara McDermott getting  a run out with Amy Murray and Roisin McKenna while panel members from 2011 including Barbara Ward, Niamh Lynch and Joanne Courtney also played alongside Catriona McConnell, Caoimhe Mohan, Ciara McAnespie and Isobel Kieran.

Goals were the difference at the end of the day between Tyrone and Down in Trillick. The Red Hands led 3-6 to 1-6 at half-time, hitting 1-2 within the first five minutes and another 1-2 between the 17th and 21st minutes and yet another 1-2 in the last three minutes of the half while Kyla Trainor grabbed Down’s major, Kelly O’Hagan, Aileen Pyers and Eliza Downey adding the points. Down did reduce the deficit to four points after the resumption but 2-2 midway through the second half effectively killed off the Down challenge and Tyrone pushed further ahead with a couple of pointed frees. Despite defeat for the visitors manager Benji Ward was happy enough with his side’s performance particularly as Down only recently began training and there were a good number of younger players lining out with the county for the first time.

New Tyrone manager Gerard Moane was equally pleased with how his team performed, singling out the fullback line of Maria Donnelly, Carol McGlinchey and Tory McLaughlin.Gemma Begley, Cathy Donnelly and debutant Fiona McCarney grabbed Tyrone’s majors. With 14 Tyrone players ‘cup-tied’ with the colleges’ Moane will continue to use the Dowd Cup as an opportunity to see a lot of players in action. The next round of games will take place on Wednesday night and sees St Mary’s host UUJ, Fermanagh entertain Tyrone and Armagh welcome Monaghan.

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