By Therese O’Callaghan
Liberty Insurance All Ireland semi-final and quarter-final places up for grabs
Saturday July 22, 5.30pm
Clare v Galway, Cusack Park, Ennis. Referee Liz Dempsey (Kilkenny)
Clare: Having been defeated 1-22 to 0-6 in their opening round of the Littlewoods Ireland Division 1 league earlier this year by Galway, Clare will be hoping for better fortune when they welcome back their near neighbours to Cusack Park in Ennis. Boosted by their recent drawn game with All Ireland champions Kilkenny, they will be looking for a similar performance. Amy Barrett dislocated her knee against the Cats and will be marked absent, otherwise Trish O’Grady has a full selection to pick from. Clare minors got the week off to a great start with a win over Cork in the Munster semi-final on Wednesday night (2-6 to 2-5). Aine O'Loughlin, Ciara Doyle and Ciara Grogan all came through injury free.
Galway: report a clean bill of health. Mark Dunne has the same panel available as last weekend. The Maroon and White will be looking to bounce back from their defeat to Kilkenny. Interesting in this match is that Chloe Morey is leading championship scorer with 29 points, just two ahead of Galway’s Ailish O’Reilly on 2-21. Will this change after Saturday?
Kilkenny v Dublin, Tom Ryall Park. Referee Owen Elliott (Antrim)
Kilkenny: Ann Downey’s team is unbeaten in this championship. Two wins and a draw sees them top of Group 2. Their most recent success was against Galway a fortnight ago. Anne Dalton and Katie Power remain key players and were crucial in gaining a result against the westerners. They report no fresh injury worries as they welcome former Kilkenny hurler David Herity and his Dublin team to Kilmanagh.
Dublin: Following triumphs over Clare and Waterford, they will also be encouraged by their Leinster championship form when they lost in extra time, 0-15 to 1-9, to Kilkenny. David Herity will have Áine Woods back in the squad having been unavailable for the Waterford game and there are hopes that Alison Maguire will be 100 percent fit again having suffered an arm injury in their opening round victory over Clare. Dublin last beat Kilkenny in the championship in 2012 – Gráinne Quinn, Mairi Moynihan, Ali Twomey, and scorer of the match-winning point Arleen Cushen are the survivors from that day in Portlaoise.
Limerick v Wexford, Bruff. Referee Cathal Egan (Cork)
Limerick: John Tuohy’s charges are seeking to qualify for the knock-out stage for the first time since their return to the senior ranks. In their last outing against Tipperary three weeks ago, Niamh Mulcahy hit 15 points and Orla Curtin came off the bench to register 1-2. They also welcomed back Caoimhe Lyons to attack. Notably, they have a wider range of scorers this year. Limerick beat Wexford in a league game in Bruff in 2015.
Wexford: The Slaneysiders are second in their group with six points. Matty Flynn O’Connor Flynn and John Kelly are reporting all players to be fit and well ahead of their journey Shannonside. Last week Chloe Foxe shrugged off any injury worries to help her team past Tipperary.
Offaly v Tipperary, St Brendan’s Park, Birr. Referee Eamon Cassidy (Derry)
Offaly: Tina Hannon is available to Paddy Kirwin this weekend. The 2016 All star nominee is now playing her club camogie with All Ireland senior club champions Slaughtneil in Derry, and makes the regular journey to the Faithful County. Aisling Brennan picked up a finger injury in their narrow loss to Cork last Saturday, the hope is that she will have regained fitness.
Tipperary: It has been a disappointing championship for Brian Boyle’s squad, the results haven’t gone their way. They have lost all three games but to be fair to them – nine points against Cork, two against Limerick and five against Wexford – suggests they are competitive but successful outcomes are just evading them. Their minor team was in superb form midweek securing a 3-13 to 1-10 provincial semi-final victory over Limerick. The seniors will be looking to follow suit when they travel up to Birr.