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Tipp and Leitrim set for Play Off match.

Tipperary and Leitrim meet in this week’s Division 3 Play Off with the winner advancing to take on Armagh in the semi-final. Donal Barry gives us his view on the match and predicts the outcome.

Both Tipperary and Leitrim will have a lot at stake when they do battle next Sunday in Moate. The winner will get into the Division 3 semi-final, while the loser will have to be content that it will be their last competitive game before the provincial championships.

Leitrim’s recent form will be a worry heading into this clash. They have failed to win in their last 3 games and were it not for their good early form where they collected maximum points in their first 4 outings they certainly would not be in the hunt.

Tipperary on the other hand have found a rich vein of form of late, which has included  good recent wins over Down and Sligo and certainly they can be happy with their performance against table toppers  Armagh when losing by a point.

When their paths crossed earlier in the campaign Leitrim gave up an 11 point lead against Tipperary and still had enough in the tank to beat them by 3 points. However instead of kicking on from that they have found the going extremely difficult, especially when they have had to deal with teams that have more physicality. They found the going against Longford, Down and Armagh extremely difficult.

They have remained dependant on Aine Tighe to get most of their scores but as the campaign goes on more teams have certainly given Tighe more attention.

They will need more forward options next Sunday to stay with Tipperary. Deirdre Ward and Roisin Fowley have had good campaigns and will need them to be at their best again while in Mairead Stenson Leitrim have a true warrior at centre back but it will be their full back line of Mary Farrell, Enya McWeeney, and Sharon Kerrigan that will come under most pressure especially with the free scoring Edel Hanley back in form.

Sean O’Donavan of Tipperary has seen his side improve at a steady pace since he took over. There is no doubt that they missed Edel Hanley in their first 4 games but since she has returned they have been able to get up big scores. (5-11 v Down and 1-17 v Sligo)

In Samantha Lambert, Claire Carroll and Barbara Ryan they will have strong reserves in defence. While their recent mid field pairing of Jennifer Grant and Sheelagh Carew have been able to dominate teams.

Mairead Morrissey will not be found wanting for the Tipperary cause and she will certainly motivate her team mates around her while Shauna Ryan and Edel Hanley will take some watching.

This time last year Tipperary were been relegated out of Division 2 while Leitrim were on the cusp of getting into that Division. Going on form and momentum Tipperary should advance while Leitrim will have to wait another season.

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