SportLadies Football

Fixtures for the weekend - Two to watch!

Ladies Football
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By Cliona Foley
Dublin's Lyndsey Davey will be involved in one of the big games
Dublin's Lyndsey Davey will be involved in one of the big games

Here are the fixtures for this weekend's All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship

Which games should you watch this weekend? This week there are two games you need to see.

Saturday, August 27

TG4 All-Ireland Ladies SFC Semi-final

Dublin v Mayo, Kingspan Breffni Park, 6.30pm, B Rice. * Live TG4

TG4 All-Ireland Ladies IFC Semi-final

Kildare v Sligo, Kingspan Breffni Park, 4:45pm, M Farrelly.* Live TG4

Saturday September 3

TG4 All-Ireland Ladies SFC Semi-final

Cork v Monaghan, Gaelic Grounds (Limerick), 5pm, G Carmody.
TG4 All-Ireland Ladies IFC Semi-final

Clare v Tipperary, Gaelic Grounds, 3.15pm, G McMahon.

TWO TO WATCH!

TG4 All-Ireland Ladies SFC semi-final

Dublin v Mayo, Kingspan Breffni Park, Cavan, 6.30pm, B Rice. * Live TG4

THIS is the female equivalent of Dublin/Kerry this weekend…a hugely anticipated clash of the old and new in women’s football and a rivalry that already has plenty of legs.

In the blue corner are Dublin; five in-a-row Leinster champions who are loaded with talented youngsters who have won all before them at underage but lost the last two All-

Ireland senior finals and have just a few survivors from their only senior title in 2010.

In the red and green corner are a resurgent Mayo, back in their first semi-final since 2010 and hoping that their blend of youth and experience can get them to their first final since 2008 and rekindle their spirit and form of 1999-2003, when they won four All-Irelands in five years. Dublin cruised through Leinster so their first big test came against Donegal in the quarter-finals and the way they pulled through for that 1-13 to 2-7 victory gave some clues as to what Mayo can expect.

Sinead Aherne, as always, led from the front and defenders like Olywen Carey, Sinead Goldrick and Sinead Finnegan were outstanding when Donegal had them on the back foot. Substitutes like Siobhan Woods, Molly Lamb and Muireann Ni Scanaill also showed the sort of bench depth they can call upon to pull themselves out of tight corners.

It was Ni Scanaill’s first game back after a foot injury, yet the former full-back star is still waiting in the wings as relative newcomer Deirdre Murphy holds onto the number three jersey for this big clash. Reaching the Lidl Division 1 final proved that Mayo are on the comeback trail and, while they lost it to Cork, that gave invaluable big-day experience to a team with so many young players.

They had to dig deeper than many expected in their 2-10 1-11 quarter-final defeat of Westmeath when a bit of individual brilliance from Cora Staunton helped swing the game their way. But they had other standouts that day, not least Sarah Tierney who did a huge marking job on Laura Walsh and will be looking to do the same now on Aherne.

Centre-back Martha Carter, who suffered a broken bone in her hand in the Connacht final, was also heroic, and in Niamh Kelly and Fiona McHale they have two more tireless leaders. Kelly’s sister Grace also did well off the bench last time out and now starts at half-forward.

Dublin’s midfield struggled against Donegal and they also looked vulnerable to high balls into their goalmouth, but Olwen Carey did a brilliant marking job on Yvonne McMonagle and will likely be given the same role on Staunton. If Staunton is held tightly the rest of Mayo’s forwards badly need to step up. Against Westmeath, and also in the league final, far too many of their forwards were wasteful.

Both sides looked extremely ring-rusty in their quarter-finals after long layoffs but they’ve no excuses now. Shooting accuracy and the midfield battle will be paramount.

Dublin’s dogged defence  and their superior spread of scoring and experience should edge it.

DUBLIN – C Trant; O Carey, D Murphy, L Caffrey; S Goldrick, S Finnegan, N Collins; L Magee, S Furlong; N Healy (Capt), N Owens, C Rowe; S McEvoy, S Aherne, L Davey.

MAYO – Y Byrne; L Ryder, S Tierney (Capt), N O’Malley; M Corbett, M Carter, O Conlon; F McHale, C McManamon; G Kelly, A Gilroy, D Hughes; S Rowe, C Staunton, N Kelly.
Verdict: Dublin.


TG4 All-Ireland Ladies IFC semi-final

Kildare v Sligo, Kingspan Breffni Park, 4:45pm, M Farrelly.* Live TG4

Can Sligo topple Kildare’s bid to make a second final in-a-row?

The Lilywhites may have struggled in the league but have bounced back impressively since, reclaiming their Leinster title and then knocking out highly-rated Leitrim in their quarter-final. They’re powered by stalwarths like Aisling Holton, Maria Moolick and Aisling Savage and have two rising stars in Eadaoin Connolly and Ellen Dowling.

Goalkeeper Mary Hulgraine has also been outstanding and was especially heroic against Leitrim considering she broke a bone in her foot ahead of the Leinster final. Sligo have a goalkeeping star also in captain Noelle Gormley who, like midfielder Sinead McTiernan, was part of the Lidl Division 2  ‘team of the league’ this year.

Jacqui Mulligan, Stephanie and Elaine O’Reilly are three more key figures and they’ve got excellent strength on their bench, including soccer international Emma Hansberry.

They won when these two met in the league this year but that’s far too long ago to be of import now. For Kildare, losing last year’s All-Ireland final to Waterford, is a huge motivation and they have great goal-scoring threats. Their big problem is that they tend to concede almost as many, but if they can tighten up at the back, their dream to avenge 2015 will stay on course.

KILDARE – M Hulgraine; T Duggan, P Keatley, R Cribbin; S Kendrick, A Savage, R Reidy; E Burke, A Holton (Capt); R Byrne, M Moolick, E Connolly; M McKenna, N Earley, E Dowling.
SLIGO -  N Gormley (Capt); AM Coleman, R Goodwin, E Flanagan; L Boles,  E Codd, J Mulligan; B Byrne, S McTiernan; LA Laffey, S O’Reilly, D McGrath; E Kevany, E O’Reilly, C Gorman.

Verdict: Kildare.

The Ladies Football Championship Final will take centre stage September 25th. Be there to show your #SeriousSupport.

 

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