Tuesday 23 January 2018

Pat Quill sure Cork fans will stay on for ladies day

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

THE biggest day in their season may be overshadowed by the men's All-Ireland replay this weekend, but the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) are hoping that Cork's involvement in both showpieces will have a positive spin-off for the Rebelettes.

"The build-up to the hurling replay is going to take up some of our day, but we'll still have the largest attendance in the world on that day for a female sport event," said LGFA president Pat Quill of their treble-header of TG4 All-Ireland finals on Sunday.

"And we're hoping that the Cork crowd who come up for the hurling on Saturday will stay on and come back again the next day. The Cork team have been wonderful ambassadors for our game and have won eight All-Irelands in the past nine years."

The LGFA at least have the consolation that their All-Ireland Sunday is not getting moved back a week, which is what happened after Kilkenny and Galway also needed a replay to be separated last year.

"(GAA president) Liam O'Neill contacted us very quickly last year and said he would put it to Central Council and they passed that, in the event of a hurling replay again this year, it would be on the Saturday and we would keep our date," said Quill.

Sunday's treble-header – which is live on TV and includes Cavan and Tipperary in the intermediate final and Offaly and Wexford in the junior decider – will feature 'Ref-Cams' on all match referees, something the LGFA have pioneered this season.

The Rebelettes have dominated for a decade, but they are not favourites in the senior final – they might not even have made it had their midfield superstar Juliet Murphy not come out of retirement mid-summer.

"While Cork won the National League, Monaghan have been the form team this year," said Quill.

Monaghan include Laura McEnaney, whose dad 'Banty' was brought into their back-room team mid-season by manager Gregory McGonigle.

And they certainly won't lack motivation after losing to Cork in the 2011 and 2008 finals, as they bid to put a four-final losing streak behind them.

But Quill feels Cork's legendary resolve and experience still makes them a huge threat.

"They never lose their composure, they have that togetherness and know-how and the ability to create those openings, but Monaghan have been playing powerful football this year and in a lot of people's eyes they would be the favourites," he said.

Irish Independent

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