Sunday 21 January 2018






Cork v Kerry, Croke Park, 4.0,

G Corrigan . *Live TG4

The bookies have installed Cork as red-hot 1/12 favourites and having won six titles in the last seven years, it's hard to argue with that assessment.

For a decade now, the Rebelettes have been the leaders in ladies football and if Kerry don't have their wits about them from the throw-in, there's every likelihood that Eamonn Ryan's queenpins will justify their favourites' tag.

When the pair last met in the Munster final, Kerry were very sluggish from the starting blocks and their opponents quickly made them pay.

The outcome was effectively decided by the half-time whistle and the Kingdom cannot afford to give their rivals a head start again.

In Juliet Murphy, Valerie Mulcahy and Nollaig Cleary, Cork have three of the game's best players, while the return of Angela Walsh has provided further options in an already-strong defence, where Brid Stack, Deirdre O'Reilly and Briege Corkery, among others, are always reliable.

They will have their hands full in limiting Sarah Houlihan and Louise Ni Mhuircheartaigh -- who shone for Kerry in their impressive semi-final victory over Galway -- while the midfield pairing of captain Bernie Breen and Lorraine Scanlon must throw down the gauntlet early to Murphy and Norita Kelly.

Verdict: Cork


Armagh v Waterford, Croke Park, 2.0, P Kehoe. *Live TG4

Former giants of the game, Waterford will be hoping to take the first step back towards the upper echelons in this game.

The Deise ladies reached eight senior finals out of 10 between 1991 and 2000, winning five, but they now find themselves in the second tier and on the basis of their two meetings with Armagh this year, they could be playing second fiddle in this encounter.

However, manager Pat O'Brien has undertaken a thorough rebuilding process to ensure his players have gathered the requisite experience to regain their top-flight status. The likelihood is that the Waterford players, led by captain Michelle McGrath (above) will warm to the big open spaces of Croker and they are taken to spring a surprise.

Verdict: Waterford


Louth v Antrim, Croke Park, 12.0,

S Regan. *Live TG4

A tricky tie to call, but Louth look the better equipped for the big occasion as over half the team played in the corresponding final at this venue two years ago when they were beaten by Limerick.

Antrim won this title three years ago, but they weren't able to kick on from that success and they look up against it.

Verdict: Louth

Irish Independent

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