Ladies previews: Munster and Leinster finals on the agenda this weekend
07 July 2017
Wexford ladies footballers race onto the field ©INPHO/Donall Farmer.
The Ladies Munster and Leinster football championship finals take place across the weekend with a novel pairing in the southern province's senior decider while Dublin chase a six-in-a-row of provincial titles.
Saturday, July 8th
TG4 Munster Intermediate Championship Final
Clare v Tipperary, Mallow Gaa Complex, 1:15pm
In 2016 Clare and Tipperary produced one of the best games of the championship as the Banner Ladies produced a scintillating performance to deny the championship favourites in the All Ireland Semi Final. Hopes will be high in Clare that they can again produce a big performance to deny their rivals. Niamh O’Dea has been one of the marquee players for Clare in recent years but, with question marks over her availability for the final, it will put a serious dent in their title ambitions. Tipperay are favourites for both the Munster and All Ireland Intermediate championships, but they were favourites in 2016 too but watched on as Clare stepped out in Croke Park on All Ireland Final day. However, this Tipperary side have shown great mental toughness as can be seen in their comeback against Wexford in the Lidl NFL Division 3 final and they produced a similar performance in the replay of that fixture. Their forward axis of Aishling Moloney and Aisling McCarthy is a key component of this Tipperary side, if they produce big performances it could be the boost they need to avenge their All Ireland Semi Final defeat to Clare in 2016.
TG4 Munster Senior Championship Final
Kerry v Waterford, Mallow GAA Complex, 3:15pm *** Match will be streamed live on https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=3h7mGWcYJrg****
There is a huge sense of anticipation ahead of the Munster Senior Championship Final as Kerry and Waterford provide a novel pairing in the absence of Cork who were handed a very tough draw versus Monaghan in the All Ireland Qualifiers last night. Kerry have been in Munster finals in recent years and have shown that they are more than capable of rising to the occasion whereas, for this Waterford group, Munster Senior Final day is a totally new occasion. Kerry will look to their experienced campaigners to provide the leadership in what will surely be a frenetic encounter. Aislinn Desmond will provide leadership from full back behind team captain and centre back, Caroline Kelly. Emma Sherwood and Lorraine Scanlon will expect to control the game from the middle of the field but their inside forward line of Louise Ní Muircheartaigh, Sarah Houlihan and Laura Rogers looks to be the most potent weapon in their armory. Watch out also for young star, Fiadhna Tangney, who has been their standout young player at underage level and has the potential to be one of the best in the game in the future. Waterford have continued their stunning development of recent years by recording victories over both Cork and Kerry in the Munster Championship. Their excellent performances to date have been based on a strong defence, good organisation and a ruthless counterattack. Their full back line of Dunford, Caoimhe and Kate McGrath have been outstanding with Karen McGrath provinding cover and leadership from centre back. Mairead Wall and Emma Murray will hope to break even in the middle of the field but their scoring threat will be carried by Karie Murray, Aileen Wall and Michelle Ryan. Any indiscipline will be punished by the unerring deadball accuracy of Maria Delahunty who has emerged as one of the real shining lights of Ladies Gaelic Football. There is little to choose between these two teams which makes for a fantastic encounter.
Sunday, July 9th
TG4 Leinster Junior Championship Final
Carlow v Kilkenny, Netwatch Dr. Cullen Park 12:00pm
The Leinster Junior Championship Final will see an improving Carlow side take on a Kilkenny team that are something of an unkown quantity following their return to championship football after a prolonged absense in recent years.
Carlow will be very pleased with their progress throughout their Lidl NFL Division 4 campaign that saw them reach the knockout stages. Kilkenny are at the very early stages of development and whilst they might struggle against a more experienced Carlow side they will be determined to give a good account of themselves.
TG4 Leinster Intermediate Championship Final
Meath v Wexford, Netwatch Dr. Cullen Park 2:00pm
The meeting of Meath and Wexford could provide one of the better matches this weekend. Meath have improved since they returned to the Intermediate ranks this season and they will feel that they are more than capable of coming away with the Leinster Championship. There is some pressure on Wexford ahead of this final as they will be expected to come away with a win after their unbeaten Leinster campaign to date. Clara Donnelly has been one of the form players in the country this season and with forwards like Fiona Rochford and a strong midfield including Bernie Breen and Kellie Kearney Wexford will feel that they are in a good position to capture their first silverware of the season and perhaps have an eye on even greater prizes on offer later this Summer.
TG4 Leinster Senior Championship Final
Dublin v Westmeath, Netwatch Dr. Cullen Park, 4:00pm ***This match will be streamed live on https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=v5_2iOh8Aaw***
Westmeath now stand in the way of a 6th TG4 Leinster Senior Championship title in a row for Dublin. Westmeath have enjoyed a great season to date as they recorded an emphatic Lidl NFL Division 2 Championship win after a replay against Cavan. They have shown some great improvement this season and have developed a great cutting edge up front where Ciara Blundell, Leona Archibold and Laura Lee Walsh are all very capable of taking any scoring chances that come there way. Maud Annie Foley and Karen McDermott will hope to control the action in the centre of the field to ensure that their dangerous forwards will have enough possession to get those vital scores. Dublin showed their class as they easily disposed of a good Laois team in their Leinster Semi Final. The defending Champions will not take anything for gratned though as they face a difficult proposition against Westmeath. The return to fitness of Sinead Goldrick has been a massive boost to her county and she should help improve an already strong defensive unit for whom Olwyen Carey has been particularly impressive. Dublin’s forward unit have yet to hit their top level of performance but with dangerous players like Sinead Aherne, Carla Rowe, Nicole Owens and Noelle Healy in their ranks they are sure to cause Westmeath plenty of problems. The performance of Niamh McEvoy could be a key factor for Dublin, when the ball winning forward performs well then Dublin tend to perform well, should she produce a big performance on Sunday it could be a magificent 6 for the champions.