By Mark Casserly
Munster Ladies Football Championship Final
Cork v Kerry in Cork IT at 2PM
Connacht Ladies Football Championship Final
Mayo v Galway in Castlebar at 4PM
Cork v Kerry
Kerry are looking to bounce back from a disappointing league campaign which saw them relegated to Division 2 after a final round defeat at home to Westmeath coupled with being deducted points for fielding an ineligible player. They started in a positive way with a 2-16 to 1-06 win over Waterford in Killarney in the Munster semi-final and will be hoping to improve even further ahead of Saturday’s final. Sarah Houlihan starred in the 13 point win over Waterford as she scored 1-9 , including a penalty, after she had been fouled. Andrea Murphy 1-2 and Lorraine Scanlon 0-3 were also among those to impress as the Kingdom recovered from losing star forward Louise Ni Mhuircheartaigh to a shoulder injury on 14 minutes to earn a comfortable win.
Cork finished 2nd in the Division 1 league standings but were narrowly defeated by Mayo in the semi-finals s there bid for 6 league titles in a row ended. The Rebelettes booked their place in Saturday’s decider with a hard-fought 2-12 to 1-10 win over Tipperary in Ardfinnan as goals from Bríd O’Sullivan and Hannah Looney (penalty) proved decisive. Cork will be looking for players such as Orla Finn and Libby Coppinger to fire them to glory.
Both sides met in the league with Cork claiming a 2-17 to 0-9 away win. Things should be closer this time but Cork should still have to much for Kerry.
Mayo v Galway
On Sunday Mayo take on Galway in what will be an intriguing encounter.
Mayo finished 3rd in the league and earned a place in the league final with a thrilling semi-final win over Cork. However they were once again beaten in a final by Dublin but will take encouragement from their league displays without the services of legendary forward Cora Staunton. The Carnacon woman is now available again for her 21st successive championship campaign after returning from Australia and gives manager Peter Leahy a brilliant option, whether from the start or as a substitute. Forwards Niamh and Grace Kelly and Sarah Rowe shone during the league with full-back Sarah Tierney and midfielder Aileen Gilroy also consistent performers.
Galway finished 2 points behind Mayo in the league standings in 4th place and were also defeated by Dublin, in the semi-finals. However, Stephen Glennon’s side made it much tougher for the Dubs than Mayo did, and only lost by 3 points, 2-7 to 1-7. Attacking wing-back Sinèad Burke was Galway’s best player during the league and with the help of Tracey Leonard , Leanne Coen and Mairead Seoighe will be hoping to follow in their male counterparts footsteps by winning the Connacht championship.
Mayo earned a 3 point win over Galway in the league and things such be just as close on Sunday, with Staunton, if involved, possibly proving the difference once again.
Listen to the new Sportsgirls podcast to hear Deniese O’Flaherty’s predictions