Wednesday 24 January 2018

Cork v Laois, Parnell Park, 5.15, E O'Hare. *Live TG4

DEFENDING champions Cork arrive at Parnell Park as hot favourites against a Laois side who weren't expected to reach the final.

After an indifferent start, they came on strong towards the end of the league season and stunned Monaghan in the semi-final. So, Joe Higgins' side are in bonus territory.

This is their first league final since 2003 when they also faced Munster opposition, Kerry, whom they beat.

Such an outcome this time will require a huge performance and the smart money will be on the Rebellettes.

They will prove especially hard to beat if they can maintain the form that saw off Donegal by an unrelenting 24 points in the semi-final.

That was a Donegal team that had shown good form, but they couldn't handle the Cork attack.

But it was the other semi-final that attracted all the headlines as the O'Moore county beat the undefeated Monaghan by

2-11 to 1-10.

On that day, the in-form Tracey Lawlor, who captained Laois to All-Ireland glory in 2001, hit 0-6 and they will look to her again.

But Higgins and his selectors will also be happy that the strength of their panel has been tried and tested, as the five substitutions made in the semi-final were what ultimately took them over the line.

For Cork, they will certainly be looking to those in numbers 10 to 15, and especially to Valerie Mulcahy, to bring the title Leeside once again.

All six of the Cork starting forwards scored against Donegal and a similar feat on Saturday should see them over the line.

Odds: Cork 1/4, Laois 10/3, Draw 10/1

Verdict: Cork

CORK -- E Harte; AM Walsh, A Walsh, D O'Reilly; B Corkery, B Stack, A Sheehan; J Murphy, A Walsh; N Cleary, O Farmer, G Kearney;, V Mulcahy, R Ní Bhuachalla, A O Shea (c)

LAOIS -- C Dollard; A Quigley (c), G Dunne, E Healy; A Taylor, L Hyland, J Moore; A Casey, T Lawlor; M Kirwan, A Moore, D Callinan; M Kirwan, S Doogue, G Weston.

Irish Independent

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