The Lidl Ladies National Football League Division 1 and 2 semi-finals take place this weekend as holders Cork renew their rivalry against familiar opponents Dublin in Kilkenny on Saturday.
Saturday 22nd April 2017
Lidl NFL Division 1 Semi Final - ET if Necessary
SF2: Cork v Dublin, 3.30pm, Nowlan Park, Kilkenny, (N McCormack)
There are fewer teams that know each other better than Cork and Dublin who have locked horns regularly in the League and Championship in recent years. They renew their rivalry this weekend in the Lidl Division 1 National Football League semi final where a cracking contest is expected in Nowlan Park.
Cork, under Ephie Fitzgerald, have continued to introduce new names into the panel and this weekend several of those players are being given a chance to impress in knock out football. Emma Spillane, Melissa Duggan and Niamh Cotter are amongst the new names with players like Jess O'Shea and Bríd O'Sullivan being given a chance to stake a claim for a more regular starting spot having been on the periphery in recent years. Bríd Stack makes her return to the starting line up as she lines out at centre half back and she is joined by fellow multi All Ireland winner Annie Walsh who also makes her return. What looks most impressive about Cork is their list of substitutes including Orlagh Farmer, Doireann O'Sullivan, Ashling Hutchings, Rhona Ní Bhuachalla and Grace Kearney amongst others.
Saturday presents another opportunity for Dublin to finally get the victory that they have chased for so long against their great rivals. Dublin have flattered to deceive throughout the League but they find themselves in a semi final with an opportunity to set out their stall for the rest of the season. Noelle Healy has reverted back to her more familiar role at centre forward from where she will spearhead the attack and it does look like a particularly potent attacking unit. The inside forward line of Sinead Aherne, Niamh McEvoy and Siobhan Woods are more than capable of running up a match winning score. Much like Cork there are some real game changers on the Dublin bench as Lyndsey Davey, Nicole Owens and Sarah McCaffrey are all being held in reserve whilst long term injury victim, Sinead Goldrick, returns to take her place as a substitute.
Dublin will be determined to get the victory that they so desperately want after so many close calls against Cork but, as always, the Rebellettes will be confident of victory and with their extra strength in depth they will feel like they can answer the questions that Dublin will inevitably ask.
Cork Team: 1. Martina O'Brien (Clonakilty), 2. Marie Ambrose (St. Val's), 3. Roisín Phelan (Aghada), 4. Emma Spillane (Bantry Blues), 5. Melissa Duggan (Doheny's), 6. Bríd Stack (St. Mary's),7. Shauna Kelly (Araglen Desmonds Buí), 8. Niamh Cotter (Beara), 9. Jess O'Shea (Inch Rovers), 10. Libby Coppinger (St. Colum's), 11. Bríd O'Sullivan (Mourneabbey), 12. Annie Walsh (Inch Rovers), 13. Eimear Scally (Éire Óg), 14. Ciara O'Sullivan (Mourneabbey), 15. Orla Finn (Kinsale)
Dublin Team: 1. Ciara Trant (St. Brigid's), 2. Fiona Hudson (Fingallians), 3. Sinead Finnegan (Fingallians), 4. Sinead O'Mahony (Skerries Harps), 5. Martha Byrne (Cuala), 6. Olwen Carey (Thomas Davis), 7. Leah Caffrey (Na Fianna),8. Lauren Magee (Kilmacud Crokes), 9. Niamh Collins (Foxrock Cabinteely), 10. Rebecca McDonnell (Clanna Gael Fontenoy), 11. Noelle Healy (St. Brigid's), 12. Carla Rowe (Clann Mhuire), 13. Sinead Aherne (St. Sylvester's), 14. Niamh McEvoy (St. Sylvester's), 15. Siobhan Woods (Raheny)
Sunday 23rd April 2017
Lidl NFL Division 1 Semi Final - ET if Necessary
SF 1: Donegal v Galway, 2.00pm, Markievicz Park, Sligo, (G Carmody)
Donegal and Galway have a great rivalry in recent times but it has been the Donegal girls that have enjoyed the upper hand of late. It was Donegal that knocked Galway out of the TG4 Championship last season and they also enjoyed victory in the League stages earlier this year.
Donegal topped the table after the League stages after putting together a string of extremely impressive performances culminating in their final round defeat of Mayo to secure first place. Much of their success has been built on a strong defence lead ably by Ciara Hegarty. Their midfield partnership of Glenfin pair, Katie Herron and Karen Guthrie, is arguably the best around whilst their dynamic duo in the full forward line of Geraldine McLaughlin and Yvonne McMonagle are two of the most potent attackers playing the game.
Galway never found a level of consistency throughout their campaign which is why they were left waiting for a favourable result in the delayed League match between Donegal and Mayo before their semi final place was confirmed. However, now that they are in the semi final they have the potential to go all the way. Their half backline of Conneally, Cooney and Burke is very strong but they will look to Olivia Divilly, Megan Glynn and Barbara Hannon to find the improved performances that the Tribes will need. Róisín Leonard has been their main attacker throughout the season and she will carry much of the attacking threat but with Tracey Leonard back amongst the substitutes there is huge scoring potential in this attack.
Donegal have been the most impressive team in the country throughout the league stages and should they maintain that form they will feel that a second Lidl NFL title in a row is within their grasp.
Donegal Team: 1. Aoife McColgan (Malin), 2. Treasa Doherty (Carndonagh), 3. Emer Gallagher (Termon), 4. Nicole McLaughlin (Termon), 5. Therese McClafferty (Termon), 6. Ciara Hegarty (Moville), 7. Kate Keeney (Four Masters), 8. Katie Herron (Glenfin), 90 Karen Gutherie (Glenfin), 10. Gráinne Houston (Glenfin), 11. Niamh Hegarty (Moville), 12. Shannon McGruddy (Termon), 13. Roisin Friel (Termon), 14. Geraldine McLaughlin (Termon), 15. Yvonne McMonagle (Glenfin)
Galway Team: 1. Dearbhla Gower (Corofin), 2. Caitriona Cormican (St. Gabriel's), 3. Áine Seoighe (Corofin), 4. Noelle Connolly (Glenamaddy/Williamstown), 5. Geraldine Conneally (Dunmore McHales), 6. Fabienne Cooney (Claregalway), 7. Sinead Burke (Ballyboden St. Enda's), 8. Lisa Gannon (Kilkerrin Clonberne), 9. Dora Gorman (Salthill Knocknacarra), 10. Olivia Divilly (Kilkerrin Clonberne), 11. Megan Glynn (Claregalway), 12. Barbara Hannon (Dunmore McHales), 13. Emma Reaney (Caltra Cuans), 14. Róisín Leonard (Corofin), 15. Ailbhe Davoren (Moycullen)
Lidl NFL Division 2 Semi Finals - ET if Necessary
SF 1: Westmeath v Laois, St. Brendan's Park, Birr, Offaly, 1.00pm, (C McManus)
This all-Leinster clash will be a very close and tense encounter that will surely be in the balance until the closing minutes of this Lidl NFL Division 2 semi final. Westmeath have been a frustrated team in the past few years, they have reached the Division 2 final regularly but, like last year, they have not been able to get over the line. Their team is very strong boasting a talented midfield and half forward line but with Laura Lee Walsh operating at full forward they have a potential ace in their hand. Laois have come back from the wilderness, after several years struggling. Kevin Doogue has restored their confidence and they now look like a team capable of winning this division. Ciamh Dollard is one of the best goalkeepers around and she will need to be at her best but at the other end of the field players like Erone Fitzpatrick, Meghan Dunne and the excellent Emma Lawlor will carry their threat. Westmeath will be favourites to win this match but they will have to produce their very best against a motivated and skilful Laois team.
Westmeath Team: 1. Karen Walsh (Milltown) 2. Rachel Dillon (Milltown) 3. Amie Giles (Coralstown/Kinnegad) 4. Aileen Martin (St. Loman's) 5. Fiona Coyle (Rochfortbridge) 6. Rebecca Dunne (St. Loman's) 7. Laura Brennan (Garrycastle) 8. Karen McDermott (Rochfortbridge) 9. Maud Annie Foley (Coralstown/Kinnegad) 10. Fiona Claffey (Foxrock/Cabinteely) 11. Leona Archibold (St. Loman's) 12. Kelly Boyce Jordan (Milltown) 13. Tracey Dillon (Milltown) 14. Laura Lee Walsh (Na Fianna) 15. Ciara Blundell (St. Loman's)
Laois Team: 1. Ciamh Dollard (Portlaoise) 2. Amy Potts (Ballylinan) 3. Jenny McEvoy (Sarsfield's Mountmellick) 4. Martha Kirwan (Shanahoe) 5. Aine Haberlin (St. Conleth's) 6. Mags McEvoy (Sarsfield's Mountmellick) 7. Anna Healy (Park Ratheniska) 8. Eva Galvin (St. Conleth's) 9. Joyce Dunne (Sarsfield's Mountmellick) 10. Erone Fitzpatrick (Park Ratheniska) 11. Mo Nerney (Timahoe) 12. Caoimhe Simms (Ballylinan) 13. Rachel Williams (Sarsfield's Mountmellick) 14. Meghan Dunne (Sarsfield's Mountmellick) 15. Emma Lawlor (St. Paul's)
SF 2: Cavan v Clare, St. Brendans Park, 2:45pm (S. McNulty)
Cavan and Clare will lock horns in the second game at St. Brendan's Park Birr with a place in the Lidl NFL Division 2 Final at stake. Cavan are a senior team and therefore should be favourites against their Intermediate rivals. This is a well balanced Cavan side that have been making steady progress in recent times, their experienced group of Greene, English and Smith have been settling influences on an otherwise young side. Clare have a similar make up to their team as they too have a core experienced group of Ryan, Roisin Considine, Ailish Considine and Bohannon. With such evenly matched teams it will probably come down to which of their marquee forward performs best. Cavan will look to Aisling Doonan for inspiration whereas Clare will be hoping that Niamh O'Dea will be the most influential forward on display.
Cavan Team: 1. Elaine Walsh (Killygarry) 2. Rachel Doonan (Templeport) 3. Ailish Cornyn (St. Francis) 4. Mona Sheridan (Mullahoran) 5. Sinead Greene (Templeport) 6. Rachael Jordan (Lavey) 7. Sheila Reilly (Mullahoran) 8. Sinead O'Sullivan (Lacken) 9. Donna English (Arva) 10. Caitriona Smith (Killygarry) 11. Amy Rooney (Kingscourt Harps) 12. Neasa Byrd (Crosserlough) 13. Aishling Sheridan (Mullahoran) 14. Claragh O'Reilly (Lurgan) 15. Aisling Doonan (Templeport)
Clare Team: 1. Ciara Harvey (West Clare Gaels), 2. Nicole O'Doherty (Kilmurry Ibrickane), 3. Laurie Ryan (Banner) 4. Amanda Mulcair (St. Joseph's Doorabarefield) 5. Roisin Considine (Liscannor) 6. Ellie O'Gorman (Kilmihil) 7. Kayleigh McCormack (Burren Gaels), 8. Tara Kelly (Shannon Gaels) 9. Roisin Looney (Cooraclare) 10. Ailish Considine (Kilmihil) 11. Catriona Callinan (Kilmihil) 12. Sarah Bohannon (Shannon Gaels) 13. Ciara Hickey (Kilmurry Ibrickane) 14. Niamh O'Dea (Banner) 15. Grainne Nolan (Banner)