With less than a week to go until the Irish Daily Star National League Semi-Finals take place we look ahead to the Division 1 clashes.
Irish Daily Star National League Division 1 semi-finals preview
Galway topped their group by virtue of a draw between themselves and Limerick after both teams finished on the same amount of points. Galway opened their 2015 League campaign with a 0-6 a piece draw against Limerick. They were then left in uncertainty with a by-week and were reserved in their dominance of a tightly contested group, beating Tipperary and Offaly by only 5 and 3 points respectively. It wasn’t until the last group game last weekend that the Tribeswomen revealed their firepower with a 2-23 to 0-9 victory against a Wexford side who were still in contention and had it all to play for. This was, mentally, a huge win for Galway and no doubt they’ll have a skip in their step looking ahead to Kilkenny in the Semi-Final.
Kilkenny finished runners-up in their group yet they won’t feel too demoralised at that, having lost only to a dominant and thus far unbeaten Cork side. Much like their opponents, Kilkenny started their 2015 campaign slowly with that 4 point loss to Cork. However, having only managed to score 5 points in that game, nobody would have guessed that this Kilkenny side would end up being by far the highest scoring team in Division 1 with 76 points over 4 games. The Cats bounced back after their opening loss with a vengeance, putting up 4-17 against Derry, winning convincingly against deflated Dublin and tallying another 4-15 against Clare. No doubt the 2014 League winners will be full of confidence heading into the Semi-Final and eager to get a shot at retaining their title.
Cork v Limerick
Cork were dominant throughout the group stages, managing four wins from four, all relatively comfortably. However, it would appear that unlike Kilkenny, they have ruled the group stages with their defence as opposed to their attack. This is exemplified by their early clash against Kilkenny in which they only managed 9 points themselves but confined and limited the high flying Kilkenny attack to only 5 points. The Rebels conceded only 11 points in their first two games before allowing 1-8 in their win over an energetic Dublin before ending their campaign in their clash with Derry last weekend, conceding 1-6. These low scoring affairs have left Cork as the only team in Division 1 to win every game. Their stellar defence is clarified by their ‘Points Against’ total of only 31. That means conceding less than 8 points per game on average and is the best record in Division 1. They face fellow Munster side Limerick in the Semi-Final and having won the All-Ireland Championship in 2014, this Cork side will be confident they can win both League and Championship in 2015.
Limerick finished as runners-up in their group behind Galway by virtue of a draw. Since drawing with Galway in their League opener, the Shannonsiders have never looked like losing with relatively convincing wins over competitive Tipperary, Wexford and Offaly.. Looking ahead to a seemingly indestructible Cork side in the Semi-Final, Limerick will be quietly confident as they have the second best defensive record in Division 1 with just 34 points conceded. Similarly to Cork, Limerick will take solace in the fact that they too are undefeated thus far in the league, with only the draw against Galway preventing them from the 8 points from 8 that only Cork can boast.