SUNDAY DEC 6TH
Athenry, Galway –v- Cashel, Tipperary, Clarecastle GAA Pitch, Co. Clare, 2pm. Extra time if necessary. Referee: Fintan McNamara, Clare
Athenry and Cashel travel to Clarecastle to decide the destiny of this year’s All Ireland senior club final after the disappointment of last weekend in Newbridge when the fixture was cancelled due to a waterlogged pitch. The overriding desire now is that the weather be kinder this time, thus allowing two of the best clubs in the country battle for the Bill Carroll Trophy.
Rivals from 2007 when Cashel won the title for the first and only time, Athenry will vie for All Ireland glory they last claimed over 30 years ago. Therese Maher and Regina Glynn are their big names, but expect huge games from Sarah Donohue and Laura Linnane around the middle. Noreen Coen, Brenda Kerins and Katie O’Dywer will provide the power in attack.
The Tipp side is sprinkled with inter-county stars all over. A quick glance shows Una O’Dwyer, Paula Bulfin, Philly Fogarty, Julie McGrath, Jill Horan, Claire Grogan and Emily Hayden – just a few of the players who have donned the Blue and Gold with distinction. Should all of that class come to the fore, Cashel will be hard to beat.
Lavey, Derry –v- St. Anne’s, Dunhill, Waterford, Donaghmore Ashbourne, Co. Meath, 2pm. Extra time if necessary. Referee: Mike O’Kelly,
It is back to Ashbourne for these teams after the Meath grounds were unplayable last Sunday. Whoever produces the winning performance here will be a new name on the Phil McBride Cup. Neither Lavey nor St Anne’s have tasted All Ireland success. Both teams, however, will feel they have earned the right to the title.
Lavey will be hoping to put the disappointment of last year behind them when they lost to eventual champions The Harps in the semi-final, and captain Siobhan Convery admitted the pain of that defeat drove them on in their comprehensive victory over Four Roads of Roscommon at the penultimate stage a few week ago.
St Anne’s took their own big scalp in The Harps. Last Sunday trainer Michael Kearney was faced with a dilemma as he was involved with the Ballygunner hurling squad, so he will be glad of the reprieve. St Anne’s top attacker Karen Kelly was also a valued member of the Desie team that lost out in the All Ireland junior final to Offaly.
This will be a close fought encounter, which could go down to the wire.