The first of this year's All Ireland Ladies Senior and Intermediate Semi Finals will be played as a double-header at Semple Stadium, Thurles tomorrow with Meath, Tipperary, Dublin and Kerry all in action.
Saturday 26th August 2017
TG4 All Ireland Intermediate Championship - Semi Final - ET if Necessary ***live on TG4
Meath v Tipperary, 4.45pm, Semple Stadium, Thurles, Tipperary, (G McMahon)
Meath were something of a surprise package as they defeated Wexford to claim the Leinster Intermediate Championship. They were again the underdogs when they faced Clare in the Quarter Final and they overcame the odds to edge out last year's TG4 Intermediate All Ireland Finalists. Meath will again be underdogs as they take on the much fancied Tipperary team in this Semi Final. Tipperary have not lost a game in 2017 but they have been more than tested as they required a replay to defeat Wexford in the Lidl NFL Division 3 Final replay, then they edged Clare in the Munster final by a single point and required extra time to defeat Wexford in their Quarter Finals.
Niamh O'Sullivan will be the focal point of the Meath attack again after her goal scoring performance against Clare. Emma Troy is their best man marker and will likely be dedicated to picking up Mairead Morrissey. Vikki Wall will anchor the defence from centre back and Máire O'Shaughnessy and Kate Byrne will expect to secure enough possession in the middle of the field for O'Sullivan and Stacey Grimes to thrive off. Aishling Moloney is named on the bench to start but, fitness allowing, expect her to play a big role in proceedings. Aisling McCarthy is a vital free taking presence in the middle of the field along with the hard working Jennifer Grant. Mairead Morrissey will hope to have a big influence at centre forward but watch out for Róisín Howard at corner forward who has a great eye for goal. There is little between these teams but, after seeing the Royals progress throughout the year, there is little doubt that Tipperary will take nothing for granted.
TG4 All Ireland Senior Championship - Semi Final - ET if Necessary ***live on TG4
Dublin v Kerry, 6.30pm, Semple Stadium, Thurles, Tipperary, (S McNulty)
Dublin are within a single game of returning to the TG4 All Ireland Final for the 4th year in a row but they must face a rejuvenated Kerry team who are playing fantastic football this season. Dublin cruised through their Leinster Championship campaign before facing Waterford in the Quarter Final. Despite putting up a good fight Waterford could not stay with Dublin when they hit top form in that encounter. Kerry reclaimed their Munster Championship crown against Waterford before taking on Armagh in a shootout in their quarter final before pulling clear in the second half.
Dublin have been boosted again by the return of 5 time All Star, Sinead Goldrick who is drafted into the half backline. Nicole Owens and Sinead Aherne will look to repeat their scoring heroics from their quarter final victory but Dublin will look for a greater spread of scores having only had 3 scorers in that victory. Niamh McEvoy is named to start at full forward but she is likely to drift between there and midfield leaving room inside for the likes of Noelle Healy. Kerry have given a start to their teenage sensation, Hannah O'Donohue, who scored 1-04 from play against Armagh although she is likely to be man marked from the start of this match. Aislinn Desmond will hope to subdue Sinead Aherne while the strong half back line for the Kingdom will be looking to keep Dublin on the back foot. Anna Galvin's surging runs from centre forward were a feature of the win over Armagh but there is little doubt that all eyes will be on the dangerous inside trio of Houlihan, Ní Muicheartaigh and O'Donohue who must perform if Kerry are to win.
Dublin have progressed through the championship relatively untroubled to date and are likely to face their biggest test to date against Kerry. If Kerry are to win they will need Aislinn Desmond to keep Sinead Aherne quiet and they must also match the dangerous Dublin half back line. Dublin will hope to employ their impressive swarm defence again to keep Kerry's full forward line quiet. Kerry will need to hit top form if they want to defeat this talented and experienced Dublin squad.
TG4 All Ireland Junior Championship - Group A Round 3- Result on the Day
Kilkenny (H) v Carlow, 6.30pm, Clara, Kilkenny, (B Redmond)
Kilkenny will have home advantage when they face a Carlow side that they have not yet recorded a win against in their previous meeting this season. Kilkenny will enjoy home advantage but Carlow will feel confident that they can maintain their momentum.
Sunday 27th August 2017
TG4 All Ireland Junior Championship - Group B Round 3- Result on the Day
Antrim (H) v Derry, 2.00pm, Musgrave Park, Belfast, (K McKeever)
Antrim were comprehensively beaten last time out but they will feel confident that they can get their season back on track against a Derry side that they have held the upper hand against in recent meetings.
TG4 All Ireland Intermediate Championship - Relegation - Round 2
Limerick v Longford, 3.00pm, St Rynaghs, Banagher, (P Burke)
This vital match up will decide who will join Louth in the TG4 Junior Championship in 2018. Longford were big winners over Louth in the previous round and have made significant strides since winning the Junior Championship last year. Limerick have struggled throughout this season as they were relegated to Division 4 of the Lidl NFL with Longford going the other way. Limerick will have to produce a big performance if they hope to retain their status in the Intermediate grade.