Provincial finals all over as biggest weekend of ladies club season nears
By Jackie Cahill
There's a huge weekend of Ladies Club Football fixtures in store, with Senior provincial finals in the four provinces taking centre stage on Sunday.
Connacht holders Kilkerrin-Clonberne (Galway) put their Senior title on the line against Roscommon outfit Kilbride, while Foxrock-Cabinteely from Dublin aim for a fifth successive Leinster title, in a repeat of last year’s Final with Laois side Sarsfields.
In Ulster, Monaghan stars Donaghmoyne will aim to retain their Senior title when they take on Termon from Donegal, with Munster and All-Ireland Senior Champions Mourneabbey from Cork aiming for six-in-a-row in the province, when they meet Waterford’s Ballymacarbry in a third successive Munster Final.
There are also crucial fixtures down for decision in the Junior and Intermediate grades, including All-Ireland Quarter-Final matches, with St Nathy’s (Sligo) and CL McHale Rovers (Mayo) facing trips across the water.
Sunday October 27
Kilbride (Roscommon) v Kilkerrin-Clonberne (Galway), SFC final, St. Croans, Roscommon 2,00.
When the sides met at the provincial semi-final stage last year, Kilkerrin-Clonberne ran out massive 8-19 to 0-3 winners against Kilbride.
For the Roscommon outfit to bridge the gap against a much-vaunted Galway side, there will need to be a vast improvement.
Kilkerrin-Clonberne, aiming to retain the Connacht Senior title, are a star-studded outfit, with the Ward sisters, Louise and Nicola, and the Divilly sisters, Siobhan and Olivia, in their ranks.
It’s a huge ask for Kilbride, but the likes of captain Rochelle Mullaney, Alice Kelly and Siobhan Tully can call upon plenty of inter-county experience.
The reward for the winners of this one is a home All-Ireland semi-final clash with Leinster winners Foxrock-Cabinteely or Sarsfields.
Kilbride: A Gavigan; A Feely, Y Creighton, J Fannon; S Tully, R Mullaney, A Kelly; E Fannon, C Gormley; B O’Beirne, T Taylor, S Clabby; A Hanley, F Tully, N Shanagher.
Kilkerrin-Clonberne: L Murphy; S Gormally, A Costello, S Fahy; C Dunleavey, N Ward, H Noone; A Clarke, L Ward; L Noone, S Divilly, C Miskell; E Noone, A Morrissey, O Divilly.
Saturday October 26
Foxrock-Cabinteely (Dublin) v Sarsfields (Laois), SFC final Coralstown/Kinnegad GAA Grounds, 3.00
Foxrock-Cabinteely go in search of a fifth straight Leinster Senior title – and they’re hot favourites to do it.
Their Final opponents, as they were in 2018, are Sarsfields of Laois, who lost out by 1-8 to 4-11 a year ago.
Fox-Cab or Sarsfields will face the Connacht champions in the All-Ireland semi-final, but that’s a game they’ll have to travel for.
TG4 Senior Players’ Player of the Year Sinéad Goldrick is named on the bench as she nurses a hand injury but Fox-Cab do have All Star nominee and Dublin All-Ireland winner Niamh Collins anchoring a solid defence.
Former Dublin player Amy Ring continues to be a constant threat in an attack that also contains Westmeath skipper Fiona Claffey.
Sarsfields will look to the likes of experienced Mags McEvoy up front and skipper Rosemarie Bermingham at midfield if they’re to spring a surprise.
Fox-Cab: A Tarpey; A Murray, S Quinn, C O’Riordan; E McDonagh, N Collins, L Fusciardi; L Nerney, H O’Neill; L Ahern, F Claffey, A Connolly; J Egan, K McNally, A Ring.
Sarsfields: L Peake; A Grehan, J McEvoy, A Lawlor; R Williams, A McEvoy, A Loughman; J Dunne, R Bermingham; L Maher, M McEvoy, M Dunne; C Conroy, L O’Sullivan, M Keating.
Saturday October 26
Donoughmore (Cork) v Galtee Rovers (Tipperary); Mallow, 2.30pm
Donoughmore were twice All-Ireland Senior Club champions in 2001 and 2003 and now they find themselves contesting a Munster Junior Club Final.
Cork’s decorated dual star Rena Buckley has been in stunning form for her club, as they look to claim the provincial title against Galtee Rovers from Tipperary.
Inch Rovers (Cork) v Templemore (Tipperary); Mallow, 4pm
In the Munster Intermediate decider, it’s another Cork v Tipperary clash as Inch Rovers take on Templemore.
The most famous day in the history of Inch Rovers was back in 2010 when they lifted the All-Ireland Senior crown.
Annie Walsh played then and Cork’s eight-time All-Ireland Senior medallist is still going strong for her club.
Sunday October 27
Ballymacarbry (Waterford) v Mourneabbey (Cork); Cahir GAA Grounds, 3pm
All-Ireland Champions Mourneabbey put their Munster crown on the line against Ballymacarbry once again.
This will be the third successive year that the clubs have met in a provincial decider, as Mourneabbey look to make it six-in-a-row.
Seven points separated the sides in 2017, before Ballymac cut the gap to four last year.
Ballymac enjoyed a big victory over Clare outfit Kilmihil in the Munster Senior B Final, which has given them another crack at star-studded Mourneabbey, who have Dublin star Noelle Healy in their ranks.
The home-grown Mourneabbey players include Cork’s inter-county sisters Ciara and Doireann, while Eimear Meaney and Maire O’Callaghan are other Rebel stalwarts.
Mourneabbey won’t underestimate a Ballymac side with an impressive looking forward division, with county stars Aileen Wall, Kelly Ann Hogan and evergreen Michelle Ryan all capable of hurting the pre-match favourites.
Michael Ryan didn't want the @BallymacLGFC job. He said he'd do it for a year back in 1982.
25 years later, he had transformed the club and @WaterfordLGFA into the most successful team in the land.
Now, they've won 38 county titles in a row.
Michael Ryan is still involved. pic.twitter.com/RXWqO293F3
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) October 11, 2019
Ballymac: L Fitzpatrick; T McGrath, M McGrath, M Ryan; M Wall, K McGrath, L Mulcahy; S Ryan, L Ryan; A Wall, K.A. Hogan, A Dalton; S Kenrick, M Ryan, L Guiry.
Mourneabbey: M O’Sullivan; A O’Sullivan, E Meaney, S Conroy; K Coakley, R O’Sullivan; A Ryan, M O’Callaghan, N O’Sullivan; C O’Sullivan, B O’Sullivan, N Healy; E Jack, D O’Sullivan, S O’Callaghan.
Saturday October 26
Kinawley (Fermanagh) v St Paul’s (Antrim); Emyvale, 2.00.
Fermanagh captain Joanne Doonan lines out for Kinawley before jetting off to Australia a few days later, to link up with Carlton.
Kinawley lost out to Monaghan’s Emmet Óg in the provincial final 12 months ago, but they’ll face stiff opposition from an impressive St Paul’s outfit.
St Paul’s have won eight-in-a-row in Antrim and cruised through to the Ulster Final with minimum fuss.
Sunday October 27
Edendork (Tyrone) v Naomh Muire (Donegal); Killyclogher, 1pm
Naomh Muire and Edendork will provide the appetiser ahead of the Senior Provincial Final but this promises to be a cracking game in its own right.
Both clubs have made it through to a first Ulster Final, and Edendork will be hoping to keep the trophy in Tyrone following Trillick’s win last year.
Donaghmoyne (Monaghan) v Termon (Donegal); Killyclogher, 3pm
Monaghan outfit Donaghmoyne are preparing to contest a 16th successive Ulster Senior Final – a quite remarkable record.
They’ve won the competition 11 times, and are now aiming for two-in-a-row, and a fourth crown in five years.
But Donaghmoyne will recall that Sunday’s opponents Termon put them to the sword in the 2014 Final, just a year after losing heavily to the same opponents.
Geraldine McLaughlin is undoubtedly Termon’s go-to player and Donaghmoyne will be keen to put the shackles on Donegal’s senior ace.
Donaghmoyne have a solid defence while midfielder Amanda Casey/Finnegan has been rolling back the years, having returned to the club fold just seven months after having her fourth baby.
Donaghmoyne are also five-time All-Ireland Senior champions and are hoping to make it back to another semi-final, where the Ulster winners, whoever they may be, will take on the Munster representatives, Mourneabbey or Ballymacarbry, on November 10.
Donaghmoyne: L Martin; J Geoghegan, F Courtney, H Kingham; J Courtney, S Courtney, E Traynor; A Casey/Finnegan, C Courtney; L Garland, R Courtney, L Kerley; A Garland, C McConnell, N Callan.
Termon: M O’Donnell; C Gorman, N McLaughlin, O McCafferty; M McDaid, E Gallagher, N Friel; E McGinley, M Alcorn; L O’Flynn; B Gallagher, J McFadden; E Alcorn, G McLaughlin, S McLaughlin.