RUGBY: City of Derry Ladies target semi-finals spot

City of Derry Ladies, pictured celebrating their title success last year, make a return to All Ireland action this weekend when they play host to Rathdrum in the quarter-finals of the Plate.
City of Derry Ladies, pictured celebrating their title success last year, make a return to All Ireland action this weekend when they play host to Rathdrum in the quarter-finals of the Plate.

City of Derry women will make a return to All Ireland action this weekend when they host Rathdrum in the quarter-finals of the Plate competition.

The Judges Road woman earned their place in the tournament after winning the Ulster Championship earlier in the season.

They’ll be well schooled, the ladies game in Leinster is a lot stronger than it is in Ulster so we’re expecting the standard to be a lot higher than what we are used to but the Derry ladies are ready to rise to the challenge.

Mickey O’Kane

However, the step-up to compete at All Ireland level has proved challenging for Derry so far with the side suffering a heavy defeat to Ulster rivals Cooke in the first round.

It was a similar story for Rathdrum with Railway Union defeating the county Wicklow side 6-34 in their corresponding fixture.

Derry coach Mickey O’Kane says they’re expecting a similar challenge on Sunday: “It’s a massive game for us, to have reached the quarter-finals in an All Ireland tournament and to be flying the flag for the locality is a huge achievement.

“They’ll be well schooled, the ladies game in Leinster is a lot stronger than it is in Ulster so we’re expecting the standard to be a lot higher than what we are used to but the Derry ladies are ready to rise to the challenge.

“The ladies are up for the challenge and they know they’ve worked hard to earn it.”

A win on Sunday would earn Derry a home semi-final against either Tralee or Thurles in March.