All-Ireland Intermediate Championship
It feels like a lifetime since Louth started their Lidl NFL campaign in Belfast but nine months later so much has changed as Louth travel to Clones for a meeting with Longford in Group 2 of the All-Ireland Intermediate Championship.
Louth were flying in Div 4 with four wins from four outings prior to the Covid-enforced shutdown of the League.
They will want to make sure they maintain that good form against a youthful Longford team who suffered a heavy defeat to Westmeath last Sunday
Louth have a couple of injury concerns for Sunday, but will be able to call on last year’s captain Kate Flood who missed the NFL campaign having spent the winter with Freemantle in Australia.
Manager Wayne Freeman will have twelve of last year’s All-Ireland Final starting team available, with Susan Byrne, Ceire Nolan (Injury) and Deirbhile Osborne (Australia) all missing. The Monasterevin man has called up a number of last year’s All-Ireland winning U16 panel among others.
Louth had a chance to study both Westmeath and Longford when they met in Cavan last Saturday. Having lost that match Longford will know nothing less than a win over Louth is needed to keep their slim championship hopes alive when they make the journey up to St. Tiernach’s Park.
In Mullahoran last weekend Longford came up against a very experienced Westmeath team and found the going very tough in almost all positions on the field. Heading to Clones on Sunday next the management know that only a win against last years All-Ireland junior champions will keep Longford’s slim hope alive of progressing to the 2020 TG4 Intermediate championship semi-final.
Longford have a new look and young panel which team manager Enda Sheridan has assembled. It includes a number of young players who were members of the Longford U-16 and minor All-Ireland sucess’s in 2019. However it still includes experienced players such as team captain Michelle Farrell, Clare Farrell, Aoife Darcy, Emer Heaney, Eimear O Brien and Aisling Green.
This will be the fourth Championship meeting between the counties, the first being the 1996 Leinster Junior Final, with the side’s meeting again in both the 1999 and 2000 Senior Championship with the last and most recent tie the 2017 Intermediate clash in Kenagh in a midweek fixture with Longford emerging winners on a 3-09 to 1-07 scoreline. (Preview by Dermot Woods)