Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Final, Cork v Galway, Sunday, Sept 13th, Croke Park, 4.00pm, Ray Kelly (Kildare)
Cork began the defence of their All-Ireland crown without a host of seasoned players, including Jenny O’Leary, Anna Geary and Joanne O’Callaghan. Despite this change in personnel, the Leesiders have booked their place in this year’s final.
Whilst their round-robin games were lacklustre, they showed their real mettle in their defeat of Kilkenny in the senior semi-final and when the pressure comes on, Paudie Murray’s charges are able to respond accordingly.
Much will depend on Ashling Thompson in midfield, Orla Cotter at wing-forward and the performance of Amy O’Connor and Katriona Mackey upfront.
Galway have defeated Cork twice this season (Division One League final, opening round of championship) but their tendency to fade in the latter stages of games, may be their Achilles heel.
Niamh McGrath at centre-forward, Shauna Healy at centre-back and midfield dynamo Niamh Kilkenny, who also captains the side are crucial for Tony Ward’s charges. Cork, chasing their second title in-a-row and the opportunity to equal Dublin in the roll of honour of Senior titles (26) may edge this one, but only slightly.
CORK:A MURRAY, P MACKEY, L TREACY, L O’SULLIVAN, R BUCKLEY, G O’CONNOR, M CAHALANE,J WHITE, A THOMPSON, O COTTER, O CRONIN, H LOONEY, B CORKERY, A O’CONNOR, K MACKEY
GALWAY:S EARNER, T MANTON, S DERVAN, H COONEY, S COEN, S HEALY, L RYAN, N KILKENNY, C McGRATH, A DONOHUE, N McGRATH, E KILKELLY, C FINNERTY, M DUNNE, A O’REILLY
Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate Final, Waterford v Kildare, Sunday Sept 13th, Croke Park, 2.00pm, Jenny Byrne (Dublin)
Waterford have been knocking on the door for a number of years without reaching a final, while Kildare have made it to the decider at just the second attempt.
Trish Jackman is one of the country’s premier players, be it at centre-back or midfield, while Beth Carton is an operator of huge promise, despite not sitting her Leaving Cert until next June. There is a nice blend of experience and youth that has flourished under Sean Fleming.
Kildare’s road has been longer, as they began 2010 in the Junior A championship. Now, in only their second intermediate campaign, they are an hour away from senior camogie. They lost to Waterford in the group stages, as they did in the Division 2 league semi-final, with the Déise girls going on to bag the silverware in that competition.
The Lilies were magnificent against Cork in the semi-final with the defence in particular, in which Carol Nolan is a powerful presence, completely on top. Emer Reilly contributed handsomely from play while Susie O’Carroll is a constant threat.
KILDARE:R O’CONNELL, C FLANAGAN, C NOLAN, F TRANT, A LYONS, R GORMAN, C FARRELL, C FORDE, O BAMBURY, S HURLEY, N EARLEY, L KEATLEY, E REILLY, S O’CARROLL, M LYONS
WATERFORD: D BRENNAN, K McMAHON, C WHYTE, V FALCONER, C RAHER, J SIMPSON, I HEFFERNAN, P JACKMAN, L BRAY,C McGLONE, N MORRISSEY, B CARTON, A POWER, N ROCKETT, D POWER
Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Premier Junior Final, Roscommon v Laois, Sunday Sept 13th, 12noon, Gráinne Coulter (Down)
Laois have been operating in the fashion of a team on a mission this year, having fallen at the final hurdle in this championship the last two seasons to Kildare (2013) and Down (2014).
Sarah Ann Fitzgerald remains an inspiring figure for David Cuddy’s crew while Louise Mahony’s finesse from placed balls is crucial. Niamh Dollard, Laura Marie Maher and Eimear Delaney are other key performers.
Roscommon are pursuing the county’s first title at this level and the manner in which they ground out a four-point victory over Dublin in the semi-final was impressive.
The defensive unit confined Dublin to just a goal and five points while Athleague sharpshooter Kelley Hopkins kept the scoreboard ticking over with seven points. A goal from club-mate, Niamh Farrell gave the Rossies vital breathing space. They face a tough task against a team determined to make up for All-Ireland heartbreak. Laois to shade it.
LAOIS:L DUNNE, M BURKE, R BERMINGHAM, A BURKE, E MAHONY, E DELANEY, S CREAGH, O PARKINSON, S-A FITZGERALD, N DOLLARD, L MAHONY, A O’DEA, A LOUGHMAN, L. M MAHER, A BURKE
ROSCOMMON:C CONNAUGHTON, C KILLEEN, S COYLE, A BYRNE, S SPILLANE, E DALY, J BEATTIE, N COYLE, R FITZMAURICE, K HOPKINS,A McGEENEY, R BRENNAN, C CURLEY, N FARRELL,F CONNELL-JONES