Six Ladies All Ireland Club Football Semi Finals take place this Sunday at Junior, Intermediate and Senior levels and there are some potentially brilliant matches ahead.
Ladies Senior All Ireland Club Championship Semi Finals
Mourneabbey (Cork) v Kilkerrin/Clonberne (Galway), Venue: Mourneabbey GAA, 1:30pm (C. McManus)
This is a match that really promises to deliver a brilliant encounter between two teams that have emerged in recent years and have the potential to establish a rivalry reminiscent of that of Donaghmoyne and Carnacon.
Mourneabbey were the runners up in the 2014 All Ireland Final, a defeat suffered at the hands of a Geraldine McLaughlin inspired Termon side. A lot of lessons have been learned by the two in a row Cork and Munster champions. All Ireland winning Cork captain, Ciara O'Sullivan, is joined in a dangerous looking attacking unit by her sister, Doireann. Indeed there are 6 Cork senior stars in the Mourneabbey team with several more on the extended Cork panel. Meabh O'Sullivan is a solid goalkeeper with a wonderful kick out and having her sister, Róisín to aim at in the half back line will make her job much easier. Mourneabbey are also very strong around the middle of the field where Máire O'Callaghan and Bríd O'Sullivan will expect to win plenty of possession.
It has been a meteoric rise for Kilkerrin Clonberne of Galway who won their first Connacht title in 2014 by defeating Carnacon despite having only been promoted from the Intermediate ranks. Again this year Cora Staunton and Carnacon have been defeated by a single point. Much of Kilkerrin Clonberne's success has been down to the emergence of excellent young players like the Ward twins, Dilvilly sisters and Sarah Gormally. Galway legend, Annette Clarke will supply the experience around the middle of the field.
This game should be a real ding dong battle between two very strong clubs. There are some key duels that will decide who is to win these games; Róisín O'Sullivan will probably be detailed to curb the influence of the excellent Louise Ward whilst Annette Clarke will have to be at her best against a very strong midfield pairing. Nicola Ward will be expected to pick up Bríd O'Sullivan who is the main creator for the Cork club whilst Galway corner back, Sarah Gormally, will need to keep a close eye on Doireann O'Sullivan. It is a long journey for the Galway club which might help Mourneabbey to edge the game but whoever does win this will not do so by much.
Donaghmoyne (Monaghan) v Foxrock Cabinteely (Dublin), Venue: Donaghmoyne, 1:30pm (G. Carmody)
Donaghmoyne and Foxrock Cabinteely will meet for the first time in the All Ireland club championship on Sunday. Donaghmoyne are no strangers to this stage of the competition whereas this is a new experience for Foxrock Cabinteely who are going into the semi final for their first time ever.
Donaghmoyne hold an advantage in terms of experience at this stage of the competition having been finalists 5 times since 2005 winning on 3 occasions with the most recent being in 2012. Cora Courtney is their chief playmaker as she works tirelessly all around the pitch, she is a three time All Star and will be the player to watch. Sharon Courtney is one of the best defenders in the country and she will be the rock at the back for her club. Caitriona McConnell will be the player that they will look to for the majority of their scores whilst Eileen McElroy and Amanda Casey are as experienced as a midfield pairing can be.
Foxrock Cabinteely made their own piece of history by claiming their first Leinster championship against Mountmellick Sarsfields. However, the Dublin championship is one of the most competitive around and Foxrock have been the strongest team in that county in recent years. Sinead Goldrick won her fourth All Star last weekend and is the spearhead for this team, she is expected to operate in an extremely strong half back line along with Sinead Brophy and fellow Dublin star Niamh Collins. Hannah Noonan and Fiona Claffey are a potentially brilliant combination in the middle of the field but all eyes will be on their extremely dangerous inside full forward line where Amy Ring and Amy Connolly will be a constant threat.
Although Donaghmoyne hold the edge in terms of experience and home advantage there can be little doubt that Foxrock Cabinteely will be their toughest challenge to date.
Ladies Intermediate All Ireland Club Championship Semi Finals
Cahir (Tipperary) v Glenelly (Tyrone), Venue: Cahir, 1:30pm (N. McCormack)
Cahir will look to their youth in this match. Aisling Moloney is one of the most exciting talents in the game and she lines out at midfield, her understanding with fellow Tipperary minor, Roisín Howard could be essential and Aisling McCarthy at centre forward is also a great young talent. Glenelly will also be looking to a young talent to provide them with the inspiration for success. Siobhan Sheerin scored an amazing hattrick (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIbaRy4PNIM) in the Ulster championship final and will need to produce similar heroics again in their semi final.
Milltown (Westmeath) v Glenamaddy/Williamstown (Galway), Venue: Milltown, 2:00pm (B. Rice)
Milltown will expect a huge home crowd to help them get through this very tricky semi final. Kelly Boyce Jordan and Jennifer Rogers form a very strong half back partnership whilst Ruth Kearney and Tracey Dillon will expect to win enough primary possession for their dangerous inside forwards. Glenamaddy Williamstown will be more than capable of upsetting the home side especially with players like Johanna Connolly, Noelle Connolly, Eilis Gannon and especially their lethal young forward Mary Fahy, who is a real rising star.
Ladies Junior All Ireland Club Championship Semi Finals
Bantry Blues (Cork) v Steelstown (Derry), Venue: Bantry, 1:30pm (J. Murphy)
Any side from Cork will always fancy their chances of winning a semi final and with home advantage this Bantry Blues team is no different. This side boasts a wealth of underage talent with players like Ann Coakley, Libby Coppinger and Seadna O'Sullivan having won All Ireland titles with Cork at under 21 grade and Emma Spillane has won multiple minor titles. Former Fermanagh player, Edel McGovern will add experience to the defence. Steelstown are something of an unknown quantity as the Derry side make the long journey South to Bantry. The young Derry club showed plenty of resolve when they overturned a big half time deficit to win the Ulster Championship and they are especially well lead by their captain Emma Doherty.
Maigh Cuilinn (Galway) v Dunboyne (Meath), Venue: Maigh Cuilinn, 1:30pm C. Dourneen
This will be a brilliant game between two sides that will be expected to progress through their respective county grade to the senior ranks in the coming years. Maigh Cuilinn will host the Meath and Leinster champions in West Galway in a game that is very tough to call. Dunboyne have been in brilliant form all year and had to overcome a very strong Skerries side in the Leinster final which will give them plenty of confidence as they travel West.