Ladies football final set for a showdown between the game's two in-form forwards
Dublin and Kerry have both named unchanged starting teams for Sunday’s TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship Final – the 50th in LGFA history.
Kerry will continue to monitor the fitness of Hannah O’Donoghue until throw-in, after she went off injured in the semi-final victory over Mayo.
The Finalists have met twice already this year in competitive football and now Dublin and Kerry will do it all over again on the biggest day of all – TG4 All-Ireland Finals Day.
Back in February, Kerry produced a powerful display in Division 1 of the Lidl National League to claim a 3-15 to 1-10 victory in front of the TG4 cameras at Austin Stack Park, Tralee.
That was an early indication that Kerry would be a force to be reckoned with in 2023 and they would finish the League campaign as Division 1 champions, having captured the Division 2 title in 2022, while also contesting a TG4 All-Ireland Senior Final against Meath.
Fast forward to Parnell Park in June and the two sides played out another fascinating encounter, with Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh contributing 1-6 as Kerry claimed a 2-8 to 1-9 win.
Given the quality on show that day, there was a feeling that these two sides might meet again in Championship 2023 – and so it proved.
As the Championship has progressed, Dublin and Kerry have both grown in stature and confidence – and now they will meet for the very first time in a TG4 All-Ireland Senior Final.
Alongside Cork, with 11 titles each, Kerry have won this competition more times than any other county.
But the Kingdom haven’t tasted Brendan Martin Cup success since 1993, while Dublin, five-time winners, go in search of the silverware for the first time since 2020, when they defeated Cork.
For Dublin, this is a first Final since the 2021 defeat to Meath, as Kerry prepare for their second successive Final.
It promises to be something special and only a brave punter would predict a winner following the recent performances of both teams.
Dublin reigned supreme in Leinster, while Kerry lost out to Cork in Munster, and having come through the group phase of the All-Ireland series, Sunday’s Finalists have built up considerable heads of steam.
Dublin powered past Donegal at the quarter-final stage, as Kerry ended Meath’s three-in-a-row hopes and gained revenge for the 2022 Final loss.
In the semi-finals, Kerry’s excellent first half paved the way for victory over Mayo, as Dublin overwhelmed Cork.
The two teams appear to be peaking at the perfect time and now the scene is set for a potential classic.
Ní Mhuircheartaigh comes into the Final in a rich vein of form, the recently-crowned Croke Park / LGFA Player of the Month for July and scorer of 1-10 in the semi-final against Mayo.
She’s amassed 2-24 in the All-Ireland series and is the TG4 Senior Championship’s top scorer, with Dublin captain Carla Rowe, on 4-13, hot on her heels.
Sadly, team captain Síofra O’Shea misses out for Kerry and she’d been motoring so well before injury struck in advance of the semi-final.
In her absence, Ní Mhuircheartaigh took up even more scoring responsibility but Kerry will need contributions from other players to get the job done.
For Dublin, Hannah Tyrrell has chipped in with 1-13 and is a real threat, along with the likes of Kate Sullivan, Jennifer Dunne and Orlagh Nolan, while the return of former captain Sinéad Aherne has been another fillip for the Sky Blues, who have reached the Final despite being in something of a transitional mode.
These are two teams very much here on merit, the best two Senior teams in the land at this point on time, but only one can prevail.
So, a 12th title for Kerry to put them out on top on the all-time honours list, or Dublin’s sixth?
All will be revealed over what promises to be a memorable 60 minutes.
DUBLIN: A Shiels; N Crowley, L Caffrey, A Kane; L Magee, M Byrne, N Donlon; J Dunne, E O’Dowd; C O’Connor, O Nolan, K Sullivan; H Tyrrell, C Rowe, J Egan.
KERRY: C Butler; É Lynch, K Cronin, C Murphy; A O’Connell, E Costello, C Lynch; L Scanlon, L Galvin; N Carmody, N Ní Chonchúir, A Galvin; H O’Donoghue, D O’Leary, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh (capt.).