Saturday 24 February 2018

Today's ladies football final previews

All-Ireland Senior Final

Cork v Monaghan

Croke Park, 4.0

This is a repeat of the 2008 final won by Cork and both sides have impressed en route to today's decider.

Both were convincing winners in their respective provincial championships and the Rebelettes overcame reigning champions Dublin in the quarter-final, and Laois in the semi-final. Monaghan, on the other hand, got the better of Meath and Kerry in the All-Ireland series to secure their place in the final, and they arrive in Croke Park this afternoon in search of their first All-Ireland title since 1997.

Sharon Courtney, Therese McNally and Ciara McAnespie have impressed for Monaghan in this championship, while Cork's Amy O'Shea, Anne Marie Walsh and Rhona Ní Bhuachalla have all stood out.

Monaghan got the better of Cork when the two sides met earlier this season in the league but considering Cork have won five of the past six All-Irelands, it is hard to look past the Munster champions claiming yet another All-Ireland crown.

Cork: E Harte; AM Walsh, A Walsh, D O'Reilly; B Corkery, B Stack, G O'Flynn; J Murphy, R Buckley; N Cleary, M Kelly, G Kearney; V Mulcahy, R Ní Bhuachalla, A O'Shea.

Monaghan: L Martin; G McNally, S Courtney, C Reilly; A McAnespie, N Fahy, L Connolly; A Casey, C Courtney; T McNally, E McCarron, C McConnell; C McAnespie, N Kindlon, C Mohan.

Verdict: Cork

All-Ireland Intermediate Final

Cavan v Westmeath

Croke Park, 2.0

THESE two met earlier in the championship during the group stages, with Westmeath prevailing on the day by four points.

Since the group stages, however, both Cavan and Westmeath have had to work hard to reach today's intermediate decider.

The Lake County overturned a five-point half-time deficit against Limerick in the semi-final, while the Breffni women booked their place in this year's final after an extra-time victory over Leitrim.

It was 1981 when Westmeath last appeared in an All-Ireland final, while Cavan have not made a final since 1987. With the long wait now over, both sides will be keen to not let this opportunity slip away and walk away empty-handed.

With matchwinners lining up for both teams -- Cavan's Aisling Doonan and Bronagh Sheridan and Westmeath's Maud-Anne Foley and Laura Walsh -- this intermediate contest could swing either way, but a third trophy may well be on its way to the Leinster county's roll of honour.

Cavan: C McCutcheon; C O'Reilly, G McGlade, C Grey; R Murphy, P Crowe, D English; R Crowe, A Cornyn; R O'Keeffe, B Sheridan, E Costin; B Boylan, C O'Reilly, A Donnan.

Westmeath: G Leahy; A Martin, G Kearney, T Durkan; K Boyce Jordan, J Rogers, M Malone; MA Foley, F Claffey; E Finn, R Kearney, L Brennan; L Walsh, K Somers, J Maher.

Verdict: Westmeath

All-Ireland Junior Final

Wicklow v New York

Croke Park, 12.0

After a nine-year absence, New York have made an incredible return to the championship, booking their place in the junior final for the first time since 1999.

The New Yorkers came into the championship at the quarter-final stage and were convincing winners over Carlow, before overcoming a highly fancied Wexford side in the semi-final.

Wicklow, on the other hand, were runners-up in their group and booked their place in the final through a comprehensive win over Louth in the semi-final.

The Garden County's forwards boast the best strike rate in the championship, with Lucy Mulhall and Caoilfhionn Deeney in particular impressing to date with a combined tally of 8-22.

New York's Emma Clarke, who originally hails from Cavan, has also shown great form in front of the posts, chalking up seven points during her side's semi-final victory. Considering the calibre of forwards on display, expect a high-scoring game, with both sides looking to stamp their authority early on but Wicklow have been knocking on the door for a while now and if Mulhall and Deeney click, that should see them home.

Wicklow: E Miley; J Miley, C Byrne, A Heffernan; L Fusciardi, C McKeon, N Kelly; J Kinch, L Gilbert; AM Doran, C Deeney, L Ahern; E Lenihan, L Mulhall, N Carroll.

New York: A Leyden; L Lilly, T McCullagh, I Mullarkey; J Garcia, C Brady, J Monaghan; L McKeon, A O'Dwyer; M O'Rourke, K Roche, C Traynor; E Clarke, F O'Dwyer, M de Búrca.

Verdict: Wicklow

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