All-Ireland Ladies Club Football Final Previews
THE 2019 All-Ireland Ladies Club Football Champions will be crowned at the weekend.
The Intermediate and Senior Finals are down for decision on Saturday, while the Junior decider is pencilled in for Sunday. On Saturday, at Kingspan Breffni, Cavan (2.30pm), Naomh Pól from Antrim and Offaly opponents Naomh Ciarán get the weekend underway when they contest the Intermediate Final, a game that can be viewed live on the LGFA Facebook Page: http://bit.ly/2OvUJ2D.
Later in the evening, at 5pm at the LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick, it’s the turn of Senior Finalists Mourneabbey from Cork, the holders, and Galway’s Kilkerrin-Clonberne, who will grace this stage for the very first time. TG4 will provide live coverage of the Senior decider http://bit.ly/37oJ7a1.
On Sunday, attention switches to Duggan Park in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, where Cork club Donoughmore take on Mayo’s MacHale Rovers at 2pm, a game that can be watched live on the LGFA Facebook Page: http://bit.ly/2OvUJ2D.
Saturday November 23:
All-Ireland Ladies Senior Club Final – Kilkerrin-Clonberne (Galway) v Mourneabbey (Cork); Gaelic Grounds, Limerick, 5pm. LIVE TG4 http://bit.ly/37oJ7a1
For the third season in a row, reigning All-Ireland champions Mourneabbey will contest the Senior Club Final.
Mourneabbey, currently managed by Tipperary’s 2019 TG4 All-Ireland winning boss, Shane Ronayne, had lost Finals in 2014, 2015 and 2017 but they finally got over the line last year when seeing off Dublin outfit Foxrock-Cabinteely in the showpiece decider. Their opponents this time are first-time Finalists Kilkerrin-Clonberne, who have newly-crowned TG4 All Stars Nicola and Louise Ward, who are twin sisters, in their ranks. Kilkerrin-Clonberne can also call upon the talents of the Divilly sisters, Siobhán and Olivia, while they’ll also have the three Noone sisters, Hannah, Eva and Lynsey, who have been winning regularly at underage level with Galway, spearheading the Western charge.Between the sticks for Kilkerrin-Clonberne, Lisa Murphy is the Galway goalkeeper who earned a TG4 All Star nomination in 2019, while evergreen midfielder Annette Clarke was the county’s All-Ireland winning captain in 2004. And at full-back, Aisling Costello is sister of current Galway senior footballer, Shane Walsh. Mourneabbey are a battle-hardened outfit, however, with established Cork stars Eimear Meaney, Maire O’Callaghan, and the O’Sullivan sisters, Ciara and Doireann, in their ranks. There are four O’Sullivan sisters in the Mourneabbey team, with Róisín and goalkeeper Meabh joining Ciara and Doireann in the starting line-up. Niamh and Aisling O’Sullivan are also sisters, as are Maire and Síle O’Callaghan. Mourneabbey can also call upon the services of 2017 TG4 Senior Players’ Player of the Year Noelle Healy, a key member of the Dublin teams that have won the last three TG4 All-Ireland Senior titles. Both teams came through tough semi-finals to make it to the Gaelic Grounds, with Mourneabbey accounting for old foes Donaghmoyne, while Kilkerrin-Clonberne defeated Foxrock-Cabinteely. In 2015 and 2018, Mourneabbey and Kilkerrin-Clonberne met at the All-Ireland semi-final stage, with Mourneabbey winning on both occasions. For the first time since 1990, Galway will have a team contesting the All-Ireland Ladies Senior Club Football Championship Final. St Grellan’s lost on that occasion to Ballymacarbry from Waterford, while Galway Gaels contested successive Finals in 1981 and 1982, winning in 1981 before losing out a year later. In contrast, Cork clubs Mourneabbey, Inch Rovers, Donoughmore, St Enda’s, Watergrasshill and Newtownshandrum have won All-Ireland titles in various years.
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.
Mourneabbey: M O’Sullivan; A O’Sullivan, E Meaney, S Conroy; K Coakley, R O’Sullivan, E Harrington; M O’Callaghan, N O’Sullivan; C O’Sullivan, B O’Sullivan, N Healy; L Fitzgerald, D O’Sullivan, S O’Callaghan.
All-Ireland Ladies Intermediate Club Final – Naomh Pól (Antrim) v Naomh Ciaran (Offaly); Kingspan Breffni, Cavan, 2.30pm. LIVE on LGFA Facebook Page. http://bit.ly/2OvUJ2D
Both Intermediate Finalists are gracing this stage for the first time, and it’s also the very first time that clubs from each county have reached an adult national club final. Naomh Ciarán will hope to keep the Intermediate cup in Leinster for the third year in a row, following wins for Clontarf (Dublin) in 2018, and Dunboyne (Meath) a year previously. The last team from Ulster to lift the All-Ireland Junior crown was Lisnaskea from Fermanagh back in 2011, and a win for St Paul’s would bridge an eight-year gap for the province. In their respective semi-finals, Naomh Ciaran produced a stunning display to oust former All-Ireland Senior champions Inch Rovers after extra-time, while St Paul’s edged out St Nathy’s by just a single point. Dual star Kate Kenny has been in sensational form for Naomh Ciaran, earning the Player of the Match award in the Leinster Final before shooting 1-10 against Inch Rovers. Naomh Pól, meanwhile, will look to the attacking class of Kirsty McGuinness and Mairead Cooper as they aim to clinch the silverware on offer. Lara Dahunsi is a former Ulster Young Player of the Year but the absence of another Antrim county star, Saoirse Tennyson, is a blow. Tennyson underwent surgery on a cruciate knee ligament injury on Thursday, and faces a spell on the sidelines as her rehabilitation begins.
Naomh Pól: A Healy; C Stewart, E Kelly, L O’Neill; M Hanna, C Brown, L Wallace; S McCann, Á Tubridy; N Enright, C McGuinness, L Dahunsi; F Rocks, K McGuinness, M Cooper.
Naomh Ciarán: A Keena; A Spain, E Nally, A Grehan; R Ennis, E Flynn, F Boland; K Kenny, A Gavin Mangan; E Cahill, L Keena, K Rigney; A Corbett, R Cockram, E McEvoy.
Sunday November 24:
All-Ireland Ladies Junior Club Final – Donoughmore (Cork) v MacHale Rovers (Mayo); Duggan Park, Ballinasloe, H52K274, 2pm. LIVE on LGFA Facebook Page. http://bit.ly/2OvUJ2D
Two-time All-Ireland Senior Champions Donoughmore are looking to follow in the footsteps of Aghada in 2017 and Glanmire last year by bringing the Junior silverware back to Cork. This is the fifth successive year that a Cork club has contested the All-Ireland Junior Club Final, as Glanmire (2018), Aghada (2017), Kinsale (2016) and Bantry Blues (2015) all appeared on the big day in previous seasons. For Mayo Ladies Football, this is also a big day as it marks the first time since 2017, when Carnacon claimed Senior honours, that a team from the county has contested an All-Ireland Club decider. The CL MacHale Rovers team is graced by Rachel Kearns, who claimed a TG4 All Star award at the Citywest Hotel last Saturday night, while current Offaly manager John Maughan has four nieces in the starting team. No Mayo team has ever won the All-Ireland Junior Club Championship, although Knockmore did contest the 2008 Final. Donoughmore, in contrast, were Senior Champions in 2001 and 2003, while they also contested the 2009 Senior decider. A ten-year gap is bridged back to that last national outing for the Cork club, who have legendary dual star Rena Buckley pulling the strings at midfield. Another former Cork star, Aisling Barrett, is another survivor from those All-Ireland winning teams who’s still going strong at club level. Donoughmore defeated Navan O’Mahonys at the semi-final stage, while MacHale Rovers overcame the challenge of Edendork, with Kearns contributing 1-9 on the day.
Donoughmore: C O’Connell; Aoife Barrett, Aisling Barrett, L McCarthy; A Quigley, M Dilworth, D Dineen; R Buckley, C Keane; E O’Reilly, N Lohan, A Greene; J Brew Dinan, E Lyons, A Buckley.
MacHale Rovers: N Larkin; L Maughan, D Kelly, C Kelly; C Walsh, A Deane, G Murray; M Larkin, E Keane; K Maughan, S Maughan, E Murray; S Walsh, R Kearns, R Maughan.
Compiled by Jackie Cahill