Cork and Kerry clashing as intermediate championship hots up
BY Jackie Cahill
Final slots in the TG4 Munster Senior and Intermediate Championships will be confirmed over the weekend – while semi-final positions are also up for grabs in the TG4 Leinster Intermediate Championship.
Age-old Munster rivals Cork and Kerry go head-to-head at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday in Round 3 of the Provincial Senior Championship, a fixture that is part of a double-header with the GAA at the city venue.
There’s also a double-header at Cusack Park in Ennis, where Clare meet Limerick for the right to face Tipperary in the TG4 Munster Intermediate decider.
The meeting of Cork and Kerry will determine the Senior Final pairing, with Cork favourites to advance and set up a clash with Waterford.
A Kerry win would throw the cat among the pigeons, and score difference would then be required to send forward two Finalists.
In the Leinster Intermediate Championship, Wexford have a bye to the semi-finals, and they’ll face the winners of Saturday’s clash between Longford and Kildare.
The winners of the Meath-Laois game will be pitted against the victorious team from the Wicklow-Offaly tie. Both of those games take place on Sunday.
Saturday June 1
TG4 Munster SFC – Cork v Kerry; Páirc Uí Rinn, Cork (5pm).
Cork served notice of their championship intentions with a big Round 2 victory over Waterford.
Bearing in mind that Waterford had beaten Kerry in their opening fixture, it was a statement of intent from the Leesiders and they’re in no mood to relinquish their provincial crown.
Cork have carried their excellent Lidl NFL Division 1 winning form into the Championship and will start as favourites to knock Kerry out of Munster.
Kerry have caused Cork some problems in recent years in the province but they need a huge improvement to compete.
Kerry lost the Lidl NFL Division 2 Final to Waterford, before falling to the same opposition six days later in Round 1 in Munster.
Now, they face a do-or-die clash with Cork in their quest to remain in the Munster Championship.
Victory for Cork will pit them against Waterford again in the Provincial decider but a Kerry win will mean that score difference will be required to determine the Finalists.
Cork are fielding a lethal inside line on Saturday, with Eimear Scally, Saoirse Noonan and Orla Finn all capable of posting big scores.
Cork have plenty of talent to call upon off the bench also, but Kerry have enough star quality in their ranks to be competitive.
With players like Sarah Houlihan, Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh and Anna Galvin in attack, there’s proven pace and scoring power in the Kingdom ranks.
This is a double-header alongside the GAA, with the Munster SFC semi-final between Cork and Limerick to follow.
Cork (v Kerry): M O’Brien; C O’Shea, E Meaney, M Duggan; S Kelly, A Hutchings, E Kiely; O Farmer, M O’Callaghan; C O’Sullivan, N Cotter, D Kiely; E Scally, S Noonan, O Finn.
Kerry (v Cork): L Fitzgerald; E Lynch, L Coughlan, C O’Brien; S Lynch, A O’Connell, C Murphy; L Scanlon, N Carmody; S Houlihan, A Brosnan, A Galvin; L Ní Mhuircheartaigh, E Dineen, A Foley.
TG4 Munster IFC – Clare v Limerick; Cusack Park, Ennis (5pm).
Both teams have already lost out to Tipperary in the TG4 Intermediate Championship – and now face a straight shoot-out to meet the Premier County again in the Final.
Following a straight line of form, Clare were far more competitive against Tipperary, and they’re pre-match favourites to see off Limerick, the 2018 TG4 All-Ireland Junior Champions.
Niamh O’Dea remains the star turn for Clare in attack, with Laurie Ryan a driving force from defence.
Limerick will need skipper Cathy Mee on top form, while 2018 All-Ireland Final star Rebecca Delee is listed at midfield.
This is another double-header alongside the GAA, with the Munster SFC semi-final between Clare and Kerry to follow.
Clare (v Limerick): C Harvey; E O’Dea, E O’Gorman, G Harvey; C O’Leary, L Ryan, S Ní Chonaill, A Reidy; E O’Connor; R Considine, T Kelly, S Bohannon; G Nolan, N O’Dea, C Callinan.
Limerick (v Clare): M Lyons; R Daly, O Giltenane, K Reidy; M O’Shea, N Ryan, C Mee; L Hanley, R Delee; R Ambrose, M Kavanagh, C Ní Cheallaigh; E Ryan, C Davis, C Hickey.
TG4 Leinster IFC Quarter-Final – Kildare v Longford; St Conleth’s Park, Newbridge (3pm).
A Leinster semi-final clash with Wexford is the prize on offer for Kildare and Longford on Saturday.
With the Slaneysiders receiving a bye to the last four, they can sit back and look on with interest as their potential opponents battle it out at St Conleth’s Park in Newbridge.
This one is going to be tight and when the sides met in the opening fixture in Division 3 of the Lidl National League, it was a late smash and grab from Kildare that secured a 3-10 to 2-10 win.
Longford edged out Kildare in the battle for semi-final slots, however, before falling to eventual winners Meath.
Kildare (v Longford): C Malone; R Cribbin, S O’Sullivan, S Kendrick; C Sullivan, L Gilbert, T Duggan; S Munnelly, G Clifford; L Curran, C Wheeler, A Rattigan; E Dowling, N Dooley, M McKenna.
Longford (v Kildare): E Esler; R Farrell, L Keegan, L Gallagher; M Moore, E O’Brien, N Darcy; J Brady, M Reynolds; E Heaney, M Farrell, K Shannon; A Greene, A Darcy, A Barry.
Saturday June 1
TG4 Leinster IFC Quarter-Final – Meath v Laois; Páirc Tailteann, Navan (2pm).
This could be one of the games of the weekend as Laois, relegated from Division 2 of the Lidl NFL, face Meath, who will replace them in the second tier in 2020.
Laois went down without a point from Division 2, while Meath were hugely impressive in their march to Division 3 glory, and look like a team very much on the rise.
Laois are reigning Leinster Intermediate Champions, however, while Meath suffered a surprise loss to Wicklow at the quarter-final stage last year.
But with silverware under their belts, Meath will fancy their chances of going deep into the championship, and getting back to Croke Park.
They were beaten TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate Finalists against Tyrone last September – and are tipped to go far again.
Meath (v Laois): M McGuirk; K Newe, S Powderly, O Duff; A Cleary, S Ennis, N Gallogly; M O’Shaughnessy, K Byrne; M Thynne, E Duggan, O Byrne; S Grimes, K Nesbitt, V Wall.
Laois (v Meath): F Kelly; M Cotter, C Dunne, M Young; A Healy, E Healy, A Halberlin; L Nerney, J Moore; E Fitzpatrick, C Simms, S Cullen; M Nerney, A Kehoe, E Lawlor.
TG4 Leinster IFC Quarter-Final – Wicklow v Offaly; Aughrim (4.30pm).
Wicklow contested a Leinster Final last year and would dearly love to get back there again.
It’s a tough route to the decider, however, as they’ll have to get past Offaly first before facing Meath or Laois in the last four.
Wicklow will be expected to negotiate their opening fixture, however, as opponents Offaly were relegated from Division 3 of the Lidl National League.
When the sides met in the League, Wicklow were 5-16 to 1-5 winners, with the likes of Laurie Ahern, Jackie Kinch and Sarah Delahunt presenting plenty of problems to the Faithful County.
Wicklow (v Offaly): K Connors; E Mulhall, S Hogan; A Gillen; L Fusciardi, J Nolan Byrne, A Maher; A Gorman, J Kinch; S Miley, L Ahern, M Deeney; S Delahunt, L Hogan, C Fox.
Offaly (v Wicklow): L Dunne; A Carey, A.M. McCormack, E Nally; N Byrne, A Gavin Mangan, A Kehoe; E Maher, T Dunne; M Byrne, J Byrne, R Ennis; A Stafford, D Hannon, S Cummins.