by Jackie Cahill
With the dust settled on the 2019 Lidl National League campaign, thoughts immediately turn towards the TG4 Championship, with opening fixtures down for decision in Munster and Connacht over the weekend.
In Munster, there are two glamour double-headers to look forward to at Cusack Park in Ennis, and Thurles venue Semple Stadium.
Six days after they clashed in the Lidl NFL Division 2 Final, Kerry and Waterford renew acquaintances in the Senior Championship, with a 5pm start in Ennis.
In Thurles, it’s the meeting of Tipperary and Limerick in the TG4 Munster Intermediate Championship, while there’s Intermediate action in Connacht on Sunday morning, when Sligo host Leitrim.
Saturday, May 11th:
TG4 Munster SFC – Kerry v Waterford; Cusack Park, Ennis (5.0).
Waterford ran riot against Kerry at Parnell Park last Sunday, scoring 5-13 to land the Lidl NFL Division 2 crown.
It was a significant psychological blow struck by the Déise ahead of the TG4 Championship start and the big question now is can they replicate that?
Kerry will have been hurting all week and surely desperate for the chance to make swift amends.
It’s not often that sport presents the opportunity to right the wrongs of defeat to a previous opponent within a matter of days – but that chance has come for Kerry.
Defensively, the Kingdom will have to tighten up beyond all recognition, as Waterford’s majestic interplay in attack cut them open time and time again last weekend.
They’ve made two changes following last Sunday’s chastening experience, with goalkeeper Kayleigh Cronin and Sophie Lynch coming into the team ahead of Robyn White and Sarah Murphy respectively.
For Waterford, there’s just the one change, with Aisling Mullaney coming in for Megan Dunford, a substitution that was made during last Sunday’s tie.
Kerry (v Waterford): K Cronin; T Breen, A Desmond, C O’Brien; S Lynch, A O’Connell, M O’Keeffe; L Scanlon, A Brosnan (capt.); C Murphy, A Galvin, N Carmody; S Houlihan, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh, H O’Donoghue.
Waterford (v Kerry): R Landers; A Mullaney, C McGrath, R Casey; Kate McGrath, Karen McGrath (capt.), R Tobin; E Murray, K Murray; K.A. Hogan, C Fennell, M Delahunty; E Fennell, M Ryan, A Wall.
TG4 Munster IFC – Tipperary v Limerick; Semple Stadium, Thurles (5.0).
Aisling McCarthy is back to give Tipperary a significant championship boost.
The Cahir star spent the Spring with the Western Bulldogs in the Australian Women’s AFL, but will pull on the Tipperary shirt for the first time in 2019 when the Premier County tackle Limerick in Thurles.
This first round TG4 Munster Intermediate clash pits Tipp, who were relegated from the senior ranks last year, against Limerick, who earned promotion to the Intermediate grade after landing the All-Ireland Junior crown.
Limerick will aim to consolidate in the Intermediate grade in 2019, while Tipp will start as one of the hot favourites to win the All-Ireland crown outright.
Limerick (v Tipperary): M Lyons; R Daly, A Hartigan, J O’Malley; K Reidy, N Ryan, C Mee; L Hanley, M O’Shea; C Ní Cheallaigh, M Kavanagh, O Giltenane; O O’Donoghue, C Davis, C Hickey.
Tipperary (v Limerick): L Fitzpatrick; L Spillane, S Lambert, E Cronin; B Condon, M Curley, C Kennedy; A.R. Kennedy, A McCarthy; R Daly, A Moloney, C Condon; C Lonergan, A Carey, A Fennessy.
Sunday, May 12th:
TG4 Connacht IFC – Sligo v Leitrim; Tourlestrane (11.0).
Sligo suffered defeat to Meath last weekend in the Lidl NFL Division 3 Final.
The Yeats County now face a quick turnaround as they gear up for their championship opener with Leitrim.
A slot in the Final is on offer for the winners here, and while Sligo have some injury concerns, including goalkeeper Noelle Gormley and captain Jacqui Mulligan, they’ll still start as favourites.
Leitrim will present dangerous opposition, however, and they’re back in Championship action this year after opting out in 2018.
Sligo reached the last four of the All-Ireland series last year, but they’ll hope to first of all wrestle back the Connacht crown from holders Roscommon.
Leitrim (v Sligo): M Monaghan; C Owens, L Maguire; K Connolly; A Heslin, S O’Rourke, A Gilmartin; E O’Dowd, L O’Dowd; C Le Guen, M Heslin, E Kelly; C McGovern, V Egan, B O’Rourke.
Sligo (v Leitrim): N Gormley; A Morrisroe, M McNamara, J Mulligan; N Brennan, B Byrne, A.M. Coleman; R Goodwin, S Regan; L Boles, C Gorman, S Naughton; K Walsh, E Keavney, L Casey.Tweet