Louth manager Darren Bishop is expecting a tough test when his table-topping side take on Derry at Clan na Gael Park on Sunday 7th April at 2:00pm.
Louth’s win over Carlow last weekend virtually assures them of a place in the league semi-finals but the Wee County will be anxious to maintain their recent good form which has yielded victories in their last four outings.
The Oak Leaf girls have had a poor league campaign and are second from bottom in the table. They have beaten Kilkenny and drawn with Antrim but have lost their other four games. When they met in last year’s league in Ballymauigan, Paul Crozier’s side pushed Louth all the way and subsequently went close to beating Louth in the All-Ireland semi final in Aughnacloy.
Monaghan native Darren Bishop in his first full season as Louth boss is pleased with how his team is taking shape;
“I am very pleased with the player’s attitude and commitment. The five week layoff hasn’t impacted our preparation and training has been quite intense. This division is extremely tight and Derry will provide a tough challenge on Sunday. But you want to be pushed and tested to be made into a better side.”
Carlow certainly tested his side in the first half last Sunday but after the change over Louth turned on the style and cruised to a comfortable 12 point win. The return of former Cooley Kickham’s star Sarah Quinn to her native county after a stint with London has brought a calm assurance to the backline while Derbhile Osborne appears to have shaken off the leg injury which hampered the Naomh Fionnbarra player for most of last year. Michelle McMahon has formed a strong midfield pairing with Eimear Byrne with the latter young St Mochta’s star also showing her attacking capabilities notching 1-2 in the win over Carlow.
Up front the likes of Lauren Boyle, Niamh Rice and Rebecca Carr have performed exceptionally well to date and should have too much firepower for the northern county and set up a meeting with Fermanagh a week later to determine who finishes top of the league.
Louth v Derry
Clan na Gael, Dundalk
Sunday 7th April, 2:00pm