Lidl Ladies NFL previews: final places up for grabs in Division 3 and 4

April 14, 2017

The Lidl Ladies National Football League Division 3 and 4 semi-finals are on the agenda this Easter weekend as Tipperary, Offaly, Roscommon, Wexford, Longford, Carlow, Wicklow and Fermanagh all battle it out.

 

Saturday, April 15th

Lidl National Football League Division 4 Semi Final

Longford v Carlow, Kinnity, 2:00pm (G. McMahon)

Longford have been the form team in Division 4 since the League got underway in January as they became one of only 2 teams across all 4 divisions to maintain a 100% record throughout their campaign. James Daly is a manager with huge amounts of experience from his time with Armagh and he immediately set about growing his panel and unearthing new talent. However, he has retained an experience core group of players with 7 of the players that started last Septembers TG4 Junior All Ireland victory and a further 3 who came on as subs all set to start. Their midfield pairing of Jacinta Brady and Mairead Reynolds are particularly impressive performers who will expect to dominate proceedings in the middle of the field. Carlow will be right up against it on Saturday in Kinnity when they face their Leinster rivals. There can be no doubt but that this has already been an encouraging campaign for Carlow who have acheved their aims by reaching the semi finals. Bart Gilmartin's side will feel they have nothing to lose against the favourites for the title but they will need to produce a huge performance if they are to do so.

 

Sunday, April 16th

Lidl National Football League Division 4 Semi Final

Wickow v Fermanagh, Stabannon Parnell's, 2:00pm (A. Gallagher)

Wicklow will go into this match as favourites but that will give them very little comfort having been in a similar situation in 2016 only to be dumped out at the semi final stage. Michael O'Rourke has put together a strong unit that showed great form throughout the league stages losing only once, and that was narrowly to Longford. Jackie Kinch is still their inspirational midfield star but it is up front where Emily Mulhall, Laura Hogan and Ciara Byrne will present a great attacking threat. Fermanagh are a team in transition and their early form certainly suggested that they had a long way to go but wins over Louth and Carlow suggest that a corner has been turned and that they may be finding some form. Although Wicklow will be expected to win they will be very wary that Fermanagh could maintain their recent form and spring a surprise.

Lidl National Football League Division 3 Semi Final

Tipperary v Offaly, Clane, 12:30pm (J. Mullins)

There is little doubt but that Tipperary will be expected to keep up their wonderful form and progress through to the Lidl NFL Division 3 Final this weekend. However, that is a dangerous state of mind for Tipperary and one that Shane Ronayne will be very wary of. Tipperary are undefeated in the League after winning every match to date with relative ease. In Samantha Lambert, Jennifer Grant, Gillian O'Brien, Siobhán Condon and Mairéad Morrissey they posess a very experienced group of players but alloed to that are young, up and coming talents like Aisling McCarthy and Aishling Moloney making this Tipperary team a very balanced group. Sinéad Commons and her Offaly team have nothing to lose against the red hot favourites. However, this Offaly group have some incredibly talented players in their group including Aoife Norris, Ellee McEvoy and the excellent half forward duo of Róisín Egan and Mairead Daly. Indeed there are few better forward in the country than Daly who is more than capable of getting the scores necessary to beat Tipperary. That said, it is still expected that Tipperary will win this clash but Offaly should not be written off.

Lidl National Football League Division 3 Semi Final

Roscommon v Wexford, Clane, 2:15pm (G. Corrigan)

This has the potential to be a truly cracking contest between two sides that have performed very well to date. Roscommon have been developing well in recent years and they will be especially pleased to have finished ahead of a Leitrim team that have been their bogey side in recent years. They have leaders all over the field including Carol Manning, Gillian Dufficy, Joanne Cregg and Jenny Higgins. Wexford have found an extra gear this year and that can probably be traced back to Bernie Breen's transfer from Kerry. The Kingdom midfielder would get her place on any team in the country and she has helped to make Wexford an even stronger unit. Mary Rose Kelly is one of the best keepers in the business whilst players like Clara Donnelly, Kellie Kearney and Ellen O'Brien have been performing very well in recent times. There isn't much between these teams which gives this match the potential to be one of the best of the weekend.



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