Previews: this weekend's All-Ireland ladies club semi-finals
18 November 2016
Monaghan's Rosemary Courtney in action for her club Donaghmoyne.
The semi-finals of the Ladies All-Ireland club compeitions take place this weekend with some particularly interesting clashes set to take place.
Sunday, November 20th
LGFA Junior All Ireland Club Semi Finals
St. Maurs (Dublin) v Latton O’Rahilly (Monaghan), Arus Naomh Maur, 1:00pm (C. Dourneen)
St Maurs hope to continue what has been an historic season by booking an All-Ireland ladies junior club football final slot.
After winning the Dublin championship, St Maurs went on to Leinster glory, sealing an emphatic 2-12 to 0-9 provincial final victory over Kildare outfit Suncroft.
St Maurs then saw off Glasgow Gaels in Glasgow at the All-Ireland quarter-final stage and the midfield partnership of Dublin senior panellist Olivia Leonard and Eadaoin McGuinness has been central to their winning run.
Up front, Naomi Clare is a noted scorer and Megan Foley has the speed to trouble any opposition.
Latton O’Rahilly from Monaghan have been in good form themselves, landing the county title before claiming Ulster glory against Cavan’s Kingscourt.
Amelia Elliott has been in excellent scoring form for Latton while captain Lavina Connolly, Katie Duffy and Eileen Conlon can also fire in attack.
Kilmoremoy (Mayo) v Kinsale (Cork), Ballina Stephenites, 1:00pm (J. Niland)
This could turn into a shoot-out between respective county stars Sarah Rowe and Orla Finn.
Cork’s newly-crowned All-Star Finn has enjoyed a terrific season at inter-county level but also with her club, where she has been simply prolific en route to the All-Ireland semi-finals.
In the Munster final victory over Limerick outfit Broadford, Finn scored 12 points but Sadhbh O’Leary has contributed handsomely too, weighing in with some big hauls.
O’Leary is very much a player for the future but she's achieved plenty in her career already.
In this year's All-Ireland minor A decider, O'Leary scored five points from play as Cork saw off Dublin.
Goalkeeper Aisling Judge captains the Kinsale team and centre forward Jennifer Murphy is another player to watch out for.
At the other end of the pitch, Kilmoremoy will bank on another big performance from Mayo ace Rowe.
In the Connacht final victory over Galway’s St James, Rowe scored six of Kilmoremoy’s six goals.
But Rowe is not the only player with top-level experience in the Kilmoremoy ranks, as twin sisters Marie and Carol Hegarty are also established Mayo senior players.
LGFA Intermediate All Ireland Club Semi Finals
Shane O’Neill’s (Armagh) v Parnell’s (London), Páirc Sheain Ui Neill, 12:30pm (G. Corrigan)
Parnells are just two steps away from repeating their All-Ireland intermediate success of 2012 – and the feeling within the London-based club is that they have a panel that’s even better this time.
A 14-point victory over Leinster champions Naomh Ciaran (Offaly) in the All-Ireland quarter-final served as potential evidence of that and there are a number of survivors from the squad that went all the way four years ago.
Hannah Noonan will have a vested interest in both the intermediate and senior ranks as the English-born girl, player of the match in the 2012 national decider, spent time with Foxrock-Cabinteely in Dublin before returning to London.
Noonan also played for the Dublin senior team, an indication of her talent, while Parnells can also call upon experience in the form of Sligo’s Therese Marren and Monaghan’s Sinead McCooey, to name just two others.
Opponents Shane O’Neill’s from Monaghan are a force to be reckoned with but while they scored 8-7 against Fermanagh’s Kinawley, they also leaked 6-9 at the other end.
Aoibheann Jones and rising Armagh senior team star Aimee Mackin both scored hat-tricks in that game and this Shane O’Neill’s team is backboned by a host of Orchard County players.
Katie Daly is a dependable goalkeeper while Louise Kenny, Shauna Grey and Blaithin Mackin are other impressive performers.
Abbeyside (Waterford) v Annaghdown (Galway), Fraher Field, 1:00pm (S. Joy)
Waterford enjoyed an impressive season at inter-county level, landing the Lidl Division 3 League title before acquitting themselves well on their return to senior championship football.
And some of their main players have carried that good form into the club campaign, helping Abbeyside to county and provincial glory.
Maria Delahunty is blessed with the ability to land long range scores from placed balls while Roisin Tobin, Megan Dunford and Caoimhe McGrath are other well-known Déise representatives.
Delahunty was player of the match as Abbeyside beat Ballylanders of Limerick in the Munster final replay and while this All-Ireland semi-final is being played at nearby Fraher Field, visitors Annaghdown from Galway will have a big say.
They’re led by joint-captain Niamh Duggan, an All-Ireland senior medallist with the Tribeswomen in 2004, and Rachel King at full-forward is a lethal operator.
Gráinne Barrett is another forward that will need close watching while Erin Coyle and Nicola Burke at midfield are players well capable of surging forward to get on the scoresheet.
LGFA Senior All Ireland Club Semi Finals
Donaghmoyne (Monaghan) v Mourneabbey (Cork), Donaghmoyne, 1:00pm (N. McCormack)
In a repeat of last year’s final, Monaghan and Ulster stars Donaghmoyne will hope to make it back to next month’s showpiece decider.
But Mourneabbey are desperate to land the All-Ireland crown after losing the last two finals.
The Cork side came up short against Donaghmoyne last year and were defeated by Donegal’s Termon in 2014.
Donaghmoyne have been around the block many times, winning the competition on four occasions, and have both class and experience right down the spine of their team.
Sharon Courtney is a brilliant defender for Monaghan and will operate at centre half back for her club, with captain Amanda Casey and Cora Courtney holding down the two midfield slots.
Catriona McConnell was sorely missed by the county team after opting out this year and her attacking prowess can hurt Mourneabbey from play and placed balls.
In last year’s final, McConnell was Donaghmoyne’s leading scorer with five pointed frees. Mourneabbey certainly won’t lack for motivation and the O’Sullivans will lead their charge.
Ciara O’Sullivan has captained Cork to the last two All-Ireland titles while sister Doireann kicked some monstrous points in September’s victory over Dublin.
Goalkeeper Meabh O’Sullivan, Eimear Meaney, Bríd O’Sullivan and Róisín O’Sullivan were also on the 30-player panel for the Dublin win.
Foxrock Cabinteely (Dublin) v Carnacon (Mayo), Bray Emmets, 2:00pm (C. McManus)
Dublin and Leinster champions Foxrock-Cabinteely are looking to create history by qualifying for their first ever All-Ireland ladies senior club football final.
They fell to holders Donaghmoyne at the semi-final stage last year, losing by four points, but are determined to at least go one better this year.
But Foxrock-Cabinteely face the most formidable of challenges at the penultimate hurdle in the form of five-time All-Ireland senior winners Carnacon.
The Mayo and Connacht standard-bearers regained their provincial title this year and boast a star-studded outfit.
Ace forward Cora Staunton will need close watching, as always, while Carnacon have newly-crowned All-Star Fiona McHale driving her team forward from the middle of the field.
Fellow county stars Marie Corbett and Martha Carter are two-thirds of a rock-solid half-back line and alongside McHale at midfield is another Mayo senior, club captain Doireann Hughes.
But Foxrock-Cabinteely have plenty of class in their own ranks and should not be under-estimated.
Honoured with an All-Star last Saturday night, Sinead Goldrick will feature alongside another Dublin senior player, Niamh Collins, in the half-back line.
Up front, Amy Ring and Amy Connolly are dangerous inside forwards and both can call upon recent experience at the top level with Dublin.