Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship Quarter-Finals
Saturday August 4th, Páirc Uí Chaoimh
Tipperary v Waterford - LIVE ON RTE
Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 5.30pm, O Elliott (Antrim)
This is a mouth-watering prospect with Tipperary looking to go one step further than last year, when they fell at this hurdle without showing their best against Galway, and Waterford aiming to prolong what has already been a successful and history-making season.
It could easily be characterised as a battle between the Championship's top two scorers. Though that might be a trifle simplistic, it would not be inaccurate to say that curbing the influence of Tipp's Cáit Devane (3-37 from five games) and Waterford's Beth Carton (2-32 from four) would go a long way to neutralising the opposition.
Tight marking will be one aspect of that. Cutting out the supply another. And just as important will be keeping the concession of frees to the minimum as both Devane and Carton are pure strikers of the sliotar.
The first signs that Donal O'Rourke was working well with the Déise arrived during the League when they missed out on qualification to the Semi-Finals on score difference, losing only to Kilkenny but drawing twice.
Championship progress would tell all though and that has been achieved already, with Waterford winning two games for the first time since moving up to Senior in 2016 and securing a Quarter-Final berth.
If Carton is the talisman, O'Rourke has built a strong squad, with the likes of Shauna Kiernan and Áine Lyng impressive in defence and providing a strong launch pad for attacks, Minors Kaiesha Tobin and Annie Fitzgerald proving a thorn in any rearguard with their speed and elusiveness, and the experienced Niamh Rockett always good for a score.
Tipp are captained by dual star Orla O'Dwyer and along with Miriam Campion and Grace O'Brien, will want to provide scoring support to Devane. The experienced Mary Ryan is an inspirational figure for the Premier County crew, and Karen Kennedy a strong defender.
Meanwhile, the gifted Sarah Fryday might be expected to play some part having been back a month now after spending three weeks volunteering in Uganda.
The greater experience at this level of competition probably edges the odds in favour of Bill Mullaney's charges but given the upward trajectory of their Munster neighbours, a Waterford win would not be classed as a shock.
Galway v Dublin - LIVE ON RTE
Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 7.15pm, L Dempsey (Kilkenny)
Dublin were possibly the story of last year's Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship, having reached the Semi-Final for the first time since 1990, and it's 1984 since they secured the last of the county's 26 All-Ireland titles.
It was reasonable to assume that they would look to build on that achievement this year, with David Herity incorporating some fresh blood to augment an already strong group.
The Dublin manager has done just that but the turnover has been greater than he would have liked with the loss of at least seven players due to retirement, injury and opting out to go travelling. Key among the latter group were All-Stars full-forward Aisling Maher and All-Stars nominee Eva Marie Elliott.
That made their task far more difficult but it says much for the depth of their group that they have navigated the group stages well, although they will bemoan letting a lead slip to draw with Tipperary in the last group game. That denied them runner-up spot in Group 2 and means that it is Galway who stand in their way of another Semi-Final appearance.
Orla Beagan and Siobhán Kehoe have been scoring heavily, Eimear McCarthy is an inspirational midfield presence and Hannah Hegarty is continuing her form from last term alongside Laura Twomey, the captain who missed 2017 with a cruciate knee ligament injury.
Sadly, Twomey's younger sister Miriam suffered the same injury in the early minutes of that Tipp game and is ruled out.
Galway never seem to do things easily. A supremely talented squad, they always leave you thinking they should achieve more. Sarah Dervan is the type of captain anyone would follow into battle, while Lorraine Ryan remains a key leader, five years after lifting the O'Duffy Cup.
Niamh Kilkenny is as smooth a stickwoman as you could ever wish to see, while Ailish O'Reilly, Aoife Donohue and Niamh Hannify have all prospered this year, while the young prospect Carrie Dolan has contributed significantly from both placed balls and play. The McGrath sisters are in the mix too.
Having been on their fourth manager in four seasons, the players decided that another change was required at the end of the National League. Tony O'Donovan stood down and Cathal Murray came into the fold.
It started well for Murray as they won the Interprovincial Series representing Connacht and moved serenely through Group 1 until coming up against Kilkenny, with direct progression to the last four up for grabs. They failed to fire and though showing plenty of determination, never looked like getting the better of the argument.
They are still favourites to get over Dublin, but the Metropolitans are sure to provide stern opposition.
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