Fixtures for the weekend and two to watch
Which matches to watch? Here is your guide.
Saturday September 3
TG4 All-Ireland ladies’ SFC Semi-final *Live TG4
Cork v Monaghan, Gaelic Grounds Limerick, 5.0, G Carmody.
TG4 All Ireland ladies’ IFC Semi-Final
Clare v Tipperary, Gaelic Grounds, Limerick, 3:15, G McMahon.* Live TG4 from 2.45
Sunday, September 4
TG4 All Ireland ladies’ JFC Semi-finals
Antrim v London, Fingallians (Dublin), 1:30pm, C Dourneen.
Derry v Longford, Fingallians, 3.15, K Phelan.
TWO TO WATCH!
TG4 All-Ireland Senior FC semi-final
Cork v Monaghan, Gaelic Grounds, 5pm, G Carmody.
Last weekend’s senior and intermediate semi-finals both went to extra-time so can this weekend’s big double-header in Limerick match that fantastic drama? Cork are, well, Cork! The defending champions extraordinaire still have an 11th title in 12 years within their sights.
Not even the loss of Eamonn Ryan, Valerie Mulcahy and Ger O’Flynn has stopped the red steamroller taking out all in their path this year. Under new manager Ephie Fitzgerald they still managed to win the Division 1 title (beat Mayo) and the Munster title, even though Kerry had beaten them twice earlier this season.
Veteran defenders like Brid Stack and Deirdre O’Reilly make them dogged in defence. Two more legends – dual jewels Rena Buckley and Briege Corkery - are still leading the charge from midfield and upfront Ciara O’Sullivan and Orla Finn are key and they’ve also, noticeably, just got Doireann O’Sullivan back after a long injury layoff.
Monaghan have undoubtedly been the comeback queens of the summer, recovering from a terrible league campaign to win the Ulster title.
The manner in which they dismantled Armagh (in Ulster semi-final) and their goal-fest against Kerry indicates the balance and massive scoring threat that manager Paula Cunningham has harnessed in what was expected to be a transition season and getting Caoimhe Mohan back recently has been another huge fillip.
Monaghan’s half-back line of Aoife McAnespie, Sharon Courtney and Grainne McNally is one of the best in the country. They’ve got some lethal forwards in Mohan, Ciara McAnespie, Ellen McCarron and emerging star Rosemary Courtney and some key link-women in Laura McEneaney, Cora Courtney and Eimear McAnespie, so some of Cork’s inexperienced defenders will be severely tested.
Midfield and the battle between Sharon Courtney and Ciara O’Sullivan should be mesmerising. But Cork’s experience, and the depth on their bench too is phenomenal. Players like Rhona Ni Bhuachalla and Eimear Scally are regularly sprung to swing big games and they could prove pivotal once again.
CORK – M O’Brien; M Ambrose, B Stack, R Phelan; V Foley, D O’Reilly, S Kelly; R Buckley, B Corkery; AM Walsh, C O’Sullivan, O Farmer; L Coppinger, D O’Sullivan, O Finn.
MONAGHAN – C McKenna; R McKenna, J Fitzpatrick, L Ward; A McAnespie, S Courtney, G McNally; C Courtney, E McAnespie; L McEneaney, E McCarron, T Scott; C McAnespie, C Mohan, R Courtney.
TG4 All Ireland Intermediate Football Championship Semi Final
Clare v Tipperary, Gaelic Grounds, Limerick, 3:15, G McMahon.* Live TG4
A hugely anticipated re-match of the Munster final which Tipp won by two points after trailing by five at half-time. The return of key players down their spine like Samantha Lambert, Jennifer Grant and Mairead Morrissey - has been vital to Tipp’s excellent season under new manager Gerry McGill (who previously managed Dublin to senior success).
They only lost the Lidl Division 3 final after an epic two-game battle with Waterford, they’ve got a strong midfield in Lorraine O’Shea and Sheelagh Carew, and teenager Aisling Moloney is outstanding, but noticeably just named on the bench when they released their team.
But they face a strong Clare side who noticeably took out Tyrone in their quarter-final, compared to Tipp’s much easier defeat of Laois. Laurie Ryan is the Clare’s defensive general, veteran Louise Henchy stars at midfield and, upfront Ailish Considine and Niamh O’Dea are the key women.
This is a real clash of arch-rivals as Tipp beat Clare in the 2008 All-Ireland IFC final and the Banner bounced back and won the All-Ireland a year later. This one could, like last week’s semis, go to extra-time again but Tipp have come through enough tight squeezes this year to get through another.
CLARE – C Harvey; E O’Dea, L Ryan, L Egan; R Considine, E O’Gorman, G Harvey; L Henchy, K McCormack; S Bohannon, A Considine, K Keane; C Hickey, N O’Dea, G Nolan.
TIPPERARY – P Hickey; L Morrissey, S Lambert, B Condon; A O’Dywer, C O’Dwyer, J Grant; L O’Shea, S Carew; E Carroll, M Morrissey, E Myles; O O’Dwyer, A McCarthy, C Walsh.
Show your #SeriousSupport at the TG4 Ladies All-Ireland Football Championship Final on September 25th in Croke Park.