Wednesday 18 September 2019

Squad depth key for Cork and Dublin, insists Stack

Galway’s Tracey Leonard Cork’s Doireann O’Sullivan, Dublin’s Carla Rowe and Dongel’s Geraldine McLaughlin with the Brendan Martin Cup at the Ballynahinch Castle Hotel in county Galway to mark the beginning of the TG4 All-Ireland series. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Galway’s Tracey Leonard Cork’s Doireann O’Sullivan, Dublin’s Carla Rowe and Dongel’s Geraldine McLaughlin with the Brendan Martin Cup at the Ballynahinch Castle Hotel in county Galway to mark the beginning of the TG4 All-Ireland series. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Jackie Cahill

Cork legend Bríd Stack is relishing the prospect of another titanic TG4 All-Ireland Ladies SFC collision between her native county and holders Dublin.

Should Cork and Dublin, two of the main contenders for Brendan Martin Cup glory on September 15, top their round-robin qualifier groups and then negotiate their respective quarter-finals, they're scheduled to meet in the All-Ireland semi-final on August 25.

Cork and Dublin have met in four of the last five finals and these old rivals served up their latest classic in the Lidl NFL Division 1 semi-final in April, when Cork dethroned 2018 league winners Dublin after extra-time at Nowlan Park.

Stack, an 11-time All-Ireland winner, acknowledges that there's plenty of football to be played before the two counties lock horns again, but she admits that it would be a tie to savour.

She explained: "It's just vital that they're at their peak come that game - and it's going to be a savage game if it does happen. You would be lining up for a new pairing as well for the All-Ireland final, which would be great for the game.

Excitement "In the last five years, Cork and Dublin have met in four All-Ireland finals but we saw the excitement that Mayo and their loyal supporters brought to Croke Park in 2017, and the attendance shot up."

A record 50,141 attendance was present at Croke Park to watch Dublin win two in a row last September. Cork were runners-up and Stack says that squad depth will play a huge part as the Rebelettes look to dethrone the holders.

"We saw in the league semi-final that very little separated the teams. With the run of games ahead, squad depth is going to be absolutely vital. Dublin have Sinéad Goldrick back from injury but they unfortunately lost captain Sinéad Aherne to injury in the Leinster final."

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Jennifer Dunne, who had plenty of game time during the league, slotted in early for Aherne and played well against Westmeath in the provincial decider, illustrating the strength in depth that manager Mick Bohan has at his disposal.

Carla Rowe, two-goal star in the 2018 All-Ireland senior final, missed out on the Leinster final too through injury and she's working her way back to fitness for Dublin.

Stack said: "Mick Bohan used a lot of players in the league and Cork have (captain) Doireann O'Sullivan back in training, which is a big boost. But during the week, Niamh Cotter picked up a hand injury in club football - so it's going to come down to squads."

Dublin open their group campaign against Waterford on Saturday, with Cork not in action until July 20, when they play Cavan. The TG4 All-Ireland championships will be launched at Croke Park today.

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