Bord Gáis Energy NFL Div 1 Final Preview
Cork v Laois, Parnell Park (Dublin), 5.15 (E. O’Hare)
Both teams came through their respective semi-finals relatively unscathed and have full panels to choose from.
Cork make the trip to Donnycarney in the familiar role of defending champions as they chase their 4th successive league title. Laois on the other hand had an indifferent start to the league before coming strong at the end so they have nothing to lose and will make the most of their opportunity. This is their first league final since 2003 where they also faced Munster opposition, Kerry and where they won. Such an outcome this time will require a huge performance and the smart money will be on the Rebellettes. They will prove especially hard to beat if they can maintain the form that saw off Donegal by an unrelenting 24 points in the semi-final. That was a Donegal team that had form and that had taken scalps. But it was the other semi-final that attracted all the headlines as the O’Moore county beat the undefeated Monaghan by 2-11 to 1-10. On that day the in form Tracey Lawlor hit 0-6 and they will look to her again. But Joe Higgins and his selectors will also be happy that the strength of their panel has been tried and tested, as the five substitutes made in the semi-final were what ultimately took them over the line. For Cork, they will certainly be looking to those in numbers 10 to 15 and especially to Valerie Mulcahy to bring the title Leeside once again. All six of the Cork starting forwards scored against Donegal and a similar feat on Saturday should see them over the line.
CORK: E. Harte, A.M. Walsh, A. Walsh, D. O’Reilly, B. Corkery, B. Stack, A. Sheehan, J. Murphy, A. Walsh, N. Cleary, O. Farmer, G. Kearney, V. Mulcahy, R. Ní Bhuachalla, A. O Shea (c).
LAOIS: C. Dollard, A. Quigley (c), G. Dunne, E. Healy, A. Taylor, L. Hyland, J. Moore, A. Casey, T. Lawlor, M. Kirwan, A. Moore, D. Callinan, M. Kirwan, S. Doogue, G. Weston.
Bord Gáis Energy NFL Div 2 Final Preview
Dublin v Meath, Parnell Park (Dublin), 3.30 (MJ O’ Keeffe)
The great rivalry between these two counties gives extra edge to this Division 2 final, where both teams will be looking to add a Division 2 winner’s medal to a league campaign that has already ended in promotion to the top flight for 2012. The current All-Ireland champions Dublin have a full panel to choose from and will be favourites having beaten a strong, physical Cavan side by 9 points in the semi. For Meath, Paula Cunningham and her selectors are without Louis McKeever who is getting married and Ashley Leavy who was very unfortunate to break her hand in training two weeks ago. However they will be hoping to kick on from their battle with Kerry in the semi-final where the old adage “goals win games” certainly rang true as they ran out 1-11 to 0-11 winners over the Kingdom. Vivienne McCormack got the goal that day and will look to be the driving force in the Meath full-forward line again on Saturday, while Dublin will expect great performances from the in-form Lyndsey Davey, Noelle Healy and the young and promising Siobhán Woods. The teams last met in the middle of March in a game where the Royals will know themselves that they failed to get going as Dublin won out by 10 points. Meath will surely be looking to improve their performance from that day – but Dublin will be looking to give their Championship defence real momentum with a good win on effectively home turf.
DUBLIN: C. O’Connor (c), S. Goldrick, J. O’Sullivan, A. McKenna, G. Fay, S. Furlong, S. McGrath, D. Masterson, N. McEvoy, L. Davey, E.Kelly, N. Healy, S. Woods, O. Leonard, A. Ring.
MEATH: I. Munnelly, K. Allen, E. Rahill, A. Murray, O. Sheridan, S. Bennett, B. Lynch, K. O’Brien, F. Mahon, G. Nulty (c), G. Doherty, E. Duffy, J. Rispin, M. Sheridan, V. McCormack.
Bord Gáis Energy NFL Div 3 Final Preview
Fermanagh v Clare, Parnell Park (Dublin), 1.45 (P. Kehoe)
This Division 3 final is a well deserved day out for both teams who showed good consistent form throughout the year with no losses for either team. Calling this game will be a tough one as there was nothing to choose between the two teams when they met in a cracking encounter in Round 7 of the league that ended in a draw, Clare 1-18 Fermanagh 4-9. What this result and others did show us was how ruthless Fermanagh are in front of goal and the Banner county backs will certainly have their work cut out to try to keep out the Little sisters, Sharon and Caroline, in particular who form the spine of the Fermanagh attack. Catherine Murphy who came on to such telling effect in their semi-final is ruled out with a recurrence of a facial injury but otherwise Darren Boyle’s team is at full strength. Goals have not been in short supply for Clare either as they have registered 17 goals in their games to date and were particularly lethal in their semi-final win over Wicklow when they rattled the net five times. A training ground injury rules Grace Lynch out of selection for the Munster side but otherwise it is a full deck for David O’Brien and you can expect Eimear Considine and the ever reliable Niamh O’Dea to be the constant thorns in the Ernesiders defence on Saturday. Nothing separated them the last day out so expect another close encounter. The title is anyone’s to win.
FERMANAGH: S. Gleeson, C. Woods, N. Curran, O. Reihill, D. Murphy, T. Little (c), T. Melanaphy, M. Connolly, A. Moane, S. Hamilton, S. Little, L. McFrederick, N. McManus, C. Little, A. McBrien.
CLARE: E. O’Driscoll, C. Hester, L. Kelly, L. Ryan, E. O’Connor, R. McMahon, L. Woods, M. Considine, L. Henchy, C. Corry, N. Keane (c), N. Carroll, E. Considine, N. O’Dea, S. Bohannon.