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Star attacker Ursula Jacob is bracing herself for a massive challenge this weekend as she leads WIT out against UUJ in the first of this year’s Ashbourne Cup semi-finals at Cork IT on Saturday.

The Wexford girl, an All-Ireland winner in 2007 racked up a personal tally of 2-8 in her side’s quarter-final win over CIT and will be relied upon to spearhead a vaunted WIT side which also includes Kilkenny’s Anne Dalton, Katie Power and Young Player of the Year, Denise Gaule. UUJ will face a mammoth challenge against the Ashbourne holders and will be looking for big performances from Derry’s Meabh McGoldrick, Antrim’s Sharon Graham and the Down trio of Karen Gribben, Paula Gribben and Sara Louise Carr if they are to book their place in the final.

Former Down manager Ross Carr will be an interested spectator on Saturday as daughter Fionnuala lines out for UCC against UCD in the second of this year’s semi-finals. Fionnuala, a four-time Ashbourne All-Star recipient and inter-county star with Down joins an impressive UCC outfit which includes Cork’s Orla Cotter and Tipperary’s Aoife McLoughney.

If UCC are to progress the cohesive attacking power of UCD, which racked up 5-12 in their quarter-final victory over NUI, Galway. 

A little piece of history will also be made this weekend as it is the first time that both Ashbourne and Purcell Cup are being jointly hosted. IT Tralee face Garda College in their Purcell Cup semi-final while DIT face Mary Immaculate.

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