Munster rivals Cork and Tipperary renew acquaintances in Ballincollig at 2.30pm with the prospect of a direct route to the quarter-finals in store for the winners, with the losers availing of one final chance on July 28th against Clare.
Cork have held the upper hand over their near neighbours the last number of years, but Tipperary’s consistent displays in this year’s championship will have them in high spirits coming into Saturday’s tie. Their ability to come from behind to snatch vital wins, particularly against Kilkenny and Offaly will be another boost and with Nicole Walsh, Jill Horan and Joanne Ryan in fine form for the Premier County, Cork need to be on their guard. The Rebels avail of home advantage for Saturday’s tie and boast a clean bill of health and buoyed by major wins in their last two championship ties, they will be in confident form. Jennifer O’Leary and Katrina Mackey have been their main score getters and much of the same will be expected on Saturday
The meeting of Kilkenny and Offaly again throws up another intriguing encounter involving provincial rivals and also two youthful teams. Both have had challenging campaigns to date and Saturday’s fixture offers both the chance to revive their championship charge. Elaine Dermody has been instrumental for John Troy’s team and the Drumcullen club-woman will be the key figure. Kilkenny will need to keep tabs on Dermody and the experience of Catherine Doherty and Elaine Aylward will be crucial. The winners of this tie head to the quarter-finals with the losers left to negotiate the challenge of Dublin on July 28th.
Meanwhile its business as usual in the All Ireland Intermediate championship with the meeting of group one leaders Galway and Tipperary, along with that of group two leaders Derry and Waterford, catching the eye this weekend. Similarly so in the Premier Junior as group leaders Meath face Roscommon while second placed Kildare face third place Leinster neighbours Laois. Westmeath will be aiming to join Dublin at the top of the table in the Junior A championship when they take on Tyrone while in the Junior B Carlow and Kerry met in another top of the table clash.
This year’s All Ireland U16 semi-finals take centre stage on Sunday afternoon with Galway facing Cork and Kilkenny taking on Dublin. Kilkenny powered through their group stages, hitting eight goals in their three round robin games and their ability to bag three pointers will be vital when they face a Dublin outfit that are also adept at racking up huge scores. An intriguing encounter is in store, as is the meeting of Cork and Galway. The Westerners enter the semi-final having won all of their round robin games while Cork finished second in their respective group. Cork’s defence will need to be in top form to contain Galway who possesses a scoring average of 34 points over two games. Action is also taking place in the U16B championship Group two stages with a top of the table clash between Antrim and Cork one of the key ties while there is a full schedule of opening rounds games in the U16C grade