Compiled by Jackie Cahill
DUBLIN boss Mick Bohan has named six of the team that started last September’s TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship Final for Sunday’s Lidl National League Division 1 opener at home to Tipperary.
The Sky Blues welcome the Premier County to Ballyboden St Endas (2.0) for a fixture that will be streamed live on the LGFA Facebook Page http://bit.ly/2OvUJ2D.
Goalkeeper Ciara Trant will captain the side, and she’s joined in the starting line-up by Martha Byrne, Niamh Collins, Lauren Magee, Jennifer Dunne and Carla Rowe, who all lined out when the Sky Blues defeated Galway to claim a third successive TG4 All-Ireland Senior title last year.
In defence, Laura McGinley and Leah Caffrey both return to bolster Bohan’s options after they went travelling in 2019 and missed last season.
Aoife Kane’s sister Laura from Kilmacud Crokes is new to the panel and gets the nod at right half forward while Sarah McCaffrey, sister of Dublin star Jack, is named on the left wing, and she’s back in the squad for the first time in two years.
At full-forward, Niamh Sweeney is another new addition, with left corner forward Rebecca McDonnell given the nod after recovering from cruciate knee ligament damage.
Opponents Tipperary have gone with ten of the team that started against Meath in the 2019 TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate Final win for this ‘Battle of the Champions.’
Goalkeeper Lauren Fitzpatrick and the entire defence are included in Shane Ronayne’s starting team again, with 2019 TG4 Intermediate Players’ Player of the Year Aishling Moloney spearheading the attack.
Ava Fennessy and Caoimhe Condon are the other two players who began last September’s victory over the Royal County, as Tipperary regained Senior Championship status.
Tipp are without Aisling McCarthy in Australia, while Anna Rose Kennedy is recovering from surgery on a knee ligament injury.
On Saturday, Lidl NFL Division 1 Champions Cork get the chance to play at Páirc Uí Chaoimh for the very first time, in an historic fixture against Westmeath (4.0).
There are eight survivors from the team that landed the 2019 crown against Galway at Parnell Park, with goalkeeper Martina O’Brien, Hannah Looney, Melissa Duggan, Maire O’Callaghan, Shauna Kelly, Aisling Hutchings, Orlagh Farmer and All Star forward Orla Finn all named to start.
Cork have been boosted significantly by the return of Roisin Phelan to their starting line-up, after the former All-Ireland winner and All Star missed the 2019 season due to work commitments in Dublin.
Westmeath will be captained by Fiona Claffey for the trip to Páirc Uí Chaoimh and the Lake County know that they will have to battle hard to remain in the top flight, after suffering relegation to the Intermediate Championship ranks for 2020.
Returning to Sunday, and Galway have named six of the team that lined out against Dublin in the 2019 All-Ireland Senior Final for their opening League fixture of 2020.
Sarah Lynch, Shauna Molloy, Olivia Divilly, Sarah Conneally, Tracey Leonard and Roisin Leonard are all in the team to face newly-promoted Waterford in Corofin (2.0).
Life for Waterford without recently-retired Michelle Ryan begins for the Déise with a tough fixture away to Galway, who were also 2019 Lidl NFL Division 1 runners-up.
Also on Sunday, Mayo host Donegal at Swinford Amenity Park (2.30pm), with Mayo boss Peter Leahy without the Kelly sisters, Niamh and Grace, and Sarah Rowe in attack, with all three in Australia.
TG4 All Star Rachel Kearns, who was brilliant for CL MacHale Rovers in the All-Ireland Junior Club Final before Christmas, will lead the Mayo attack from the full-forward line.
A youthful Donegal side make the trip to Swinford with Emer Gallagher and Deirdre Foley providing experience in defence, while ace attacker Geraldine McLaughlin is listed at centre half forward.
Cork (v Westmeath): M O’Brien; M Ambrose, R Phelan, C O’Callaghan; S Kelly, A Hutchings, M Duggan; M O’Callaghan, H Looney; L Cleary, B O’Sullivan, O Farmer; S O’Leary, Á O’Sullivan, O Finn.
Westmeath (v Cork): L McCormack; R Dillon; K McDermott, L Power; F Coyle, F Claffey, A Roche; J Maher, V Carr; A Jones, L Archibold, L McCartan; J Draper, S McCormack, A Dolan.
Dublin (v Tipperary): C Trant; M Byrne, N Collins, L McGinley; L Caffrey, M Ní Scanaill, L Collins; L Magee, J Dunne; L Kane, C Rowe, S McCaffrey; O Whyte, N Sweeney, R McDonnell.
Tipperary (v Dublin): L Fitzpatrick; L Spillane, M Curley, E Cronin; B Condon, S Lambert, C Kennedy; O Winston, R Daly; A Fennessy, A Moloney, L Dillon; C Condon, E Morrissey, N Hayes.
Galway (v Waterford): D Gower; S Lynch, N Connolly, S Molloy; C Crowe, C Cooney, F Cooney; A Davoren, O Divilly; L Coen, S Conneally, R Ní Flahartha; L Hannon, T Leonard, R Leonard.
Waterford (v Galway): K Moroney; M Dunford, R Dunphy, R Casey; M Wall, K McGrath, M Ryan; E Murray, C Fennell; R Tobin, A Baumann, A Wall; K Murray, L Devine, A Murray.
Mayo (v Donegal): L Brennan; N Moran, D Caldwell, Ciara McManamon; K Sullivan, Clodagh McManamon, C Whyte; A Duffy, S Cafferky; M Cannon, L Cafferky, M Reilly; F Doherty, R Kearns, N Gaughan.
Donegal (v Mayo): A McColgan; A Logue, E Gallagher, D Foley; N Carr, K Keeney, A Nee; N McLaughlin, E McGinley; A Boyle Carr, G McLaughlin, K Ward; N Gordon, E McCrory, C Sharkey.
The Allianz Football and Hurling Leagues are back this weekend and so is the Hogan Stand Match Tracker. Join us on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon for live score and updates from the opening rounds.Tweet