This Saturday sees St Brendan’s Park in Birr play host to an exciting double-header in ladies football, as the senior championship quarter-finals get under way.
First up on Saturday sees the clash of Galway and Clare, in what should be a fascinating encounter between two teams brimming with talent.
A late point from Clare’s Naomi Carroll secured a shock win over beaten Leinster finalists Meath last weekend, as they held out for a narrow 1-11 to 1-10 victory.
Clare were crushed by a hugely impressive Cork side earlier this year in the Munster championship, but bounced back in spirited fashion to record a thoroughly encouraging win over the Royals.
Other players to shine on the day for the Munster ladies included Niamh O’Dea, who registered five points for her side, along with Maria Kelly and Ailish Considine.
With just 55 seconds remaining in their clash, Clare forward Carroll popped over the winning score to seal her side’s path to the quarter-finals, where they will face a strong Galway side.
The Connacht champions are hoping to reach the final four of the competition for the first time since 2005, and will need inspired performances from players such as Edel Concannon, who notched up 1-8 in their Connacht final win over Mayo.
“Things are going well in training,” manager Gabriel Naughton said ahead of Saturday’s crucial fixture.
“The girls are working really hard and are really committed. We have roughly the same panel available to us as the one we had in the Connacht final. There is big competition for places all over the pitch, which is only a positive thing,” he added.
The Galway defence is again expected to be spearheaded by Mairead Coyne, Aine Seoighe and Sarah Conneally, with the aforementioned Coyne in devastating form during the win over Mayo.
Previous encounters have seen the Connacht ladies dispatch the Banner County with relative ease, but Saturday’s championship clash may be completely different.
Throw in at St Brendan’s Park is at 4.15pm, and will be officiated by Margaret Farrelly of Cavan.