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Cork big test – McGonigle

GREGORY McGONIGLE is one of the top managers in the game. He'll be coming up against the grand master on Saturday.

Eamonn Ryan has turned management into an art. And, in the process, he has turned Cork into the superpower of ladies football.

Parnell Park houses Dublin against Cork in the Tesco Homecare National League Division 1 final (3.45). It will top the bill in a triple treat. Or as the people at Sky like to say, Super Saturday.

The Division 2 final sees Galway play Westmeath (2.0), with the Division 3 clash of Armagh and Waterford opening the show (12.15).

The Dublin Ladies GAA folk want to see the Liffey turning blue, and for the city to go on the march with the Jackies Army.

Their message reads: "We are appealing to all clubs, mentors, players and Dublin supporters to make the trip to Parnell Park to cheer on the girls in blue. And we are asking clubs to promote the occasion through their websites and social media outlets."

Dublin supremo Gregory McGonigle adds his voice to the chorus.

"It's a big day for ladies football, and it's a big day for Dublin.

"The team is making history by appearing in their first Division 1 final.

"The girls are putting in a serious effort, and they'd deserve support. There's three matches on, so there won't be any lack of entertainment.

"Our match with Cork is sure to be a fast, flowing game.

"We are all hoping that the build-up to the finals day will get plenty of exposure in the media."

If there is ever a match to get the turnstiles spinning, this is it. In their league meeting at the same venue in March, the teams produced a belter. It ended in a draw. It was level eight times. It was top-class stuff, and now the HQ is bracing itself for more.

The Dublin boss worked his magic with Monaghan and now he is doing the same with Dublin. Yet for the Derry native, it is very much one pass at a time.


"This is a very good game to get. It helps to bridge the gap before the championship. I know Cork well from my own time with Monaghan. And the Dublin players know them well too.

"There's not much between Cork, Monaghan, Kerry and Dublin. They are all really good sides. We are happy that we are up there with that group. And if you want to win trophies, you have to beat the top teams to do it."

The Dubs have beaten most counties this term. They are the only unbeaten side in Division 1. They won five games and drew two in the group.

"One of the draws came against Monaghan, whom we then beat in the semi-final.

"The other draw was against Cork, so if we win on Saturday, we can say we have beaten every side in the division. That's the challenge we face now."

Using the ball wisely will be crucial. "If you lose possession to Cork, they will hurt you," he says.

Their remarkable record tells you that. They are the league holders, and since 2005, the Division 1 trophy has spent the summer by the Lee on no fewer than seven times.

Cork, of course, are also the All-Ireland champs, and with Eamonn Ryan on the bridge, their magnificent obsession just keeps rumbling on.