The currentaccount.ie Senior, Intermediate and Junior All Ireland club championship finals will take place over the next two weekends
PLAYERS from the 2021 currentaccount.ie All-Ireland Ladies Football Club Finalists have gathered at Croke Park ahead of three eagerly-anticipated fixtures.
Clubs from five counties – Cork, Galway, Dublin, Mayo and Tipperary – have their eyes firmly set on silverware as they look ahead to the Senior, Intermediate and Junior deciders.
First up next Saturday, January 29, the Senior Final features Mourneabbey (Cork) and Kilkerrin-Clonberne (Galway) in a live TG4 fixture that will have a 1pm start at St Brendan’s Park, Birr.
This game is a repeat of the dramatic 2019 Final between the teams at the TUS Gaelic Grounds, which was settled by a late Laura Fitzgerald point for Mourneabbey.
On the following weekend, the Junior and Intermediate Finals will be streamed live on the LGFA Facebook Page: http://bit.ly/2OvUJ2D
On Saturday, February 5, the Junior Final will pit Tipperary side Mullinahone against Dublin’s St Judes, while the Intermediate Final on Sunday, February 6, is a meeting between Mayo’s Castlebar Mitchels and Dublin opponents St Sylvester’s.
For Mourneabbey, managed by Cork Senior supremo Shane Ronayne, Saturday’s game will mark their sixth season appearing in a Senior All-Ireland Club Final.
Following Final heartbreak in 2014, 2015 and 2017, Mourneabbey finally cracked the code in 2018 when they defeated Dublin’s Foxrock-Cabinteely, before getting the better of Kilkerrin-Clonberne a year later to claim back-to-back titles.
That was Kilkerrin-Clonberne’s first experience of a Senior All Ireland Club Final, and, managed by Willie Ward, they’ll be aiming to go one better on this occasion.
Willie’s twin daughters Nicola and Louise, who’s team captain, will lead the Kilkerrin-Clonberne charge while the Divilly sisters, Olivia and Siobhan, are both experienced county players.
The Kilkerrin-Clonberne side is sprinkled with inter-county talent from various grades, including the Noone sisters, Hannah, Eva and Lynsey.
Mourneabbey have also been around the block and they have Cork stars Bríd O’Sullivan, Eimear Meaney, Maire O’Callaghan, and the O’Sullivan sisters, Ciara and Doireann, in their ranks.
Mourneabbey can also call upon the services of the aforementioned Fitzgerald, who has scored ten goals in her last three club outings, including four in the All-Ireland semi-final victory over Meath’s Dunboyne.
Kilkerrin-Clonberne, meanwhile, enjoyed victory over five-time winners Donaghmoyne from Monaghan in the last four.
Kilkerrin-Clonberne will hope to finally get one over on Mourneabbey, having also lost semi-finals against them in 2015 and 2018.
Both Intermediate Finalists, meanwhile, are gracing this stage for the very first time.
Castlebar Mitchels will hope to become the very first Mayo winners of the competition, as St Sylvester’s aim to emulate the feat of Clontarf (2018) by bringing the trophy to the capital.
The last team from Connacht to lift the Intermediate title was Annaghdown from Galway back in 2016, while a St Sylvester’s win would ensure a Leinster win for a fourth successive season, following the exploits of Dunboyne (2017), Clontarf a year later, and Naomh Ciaran from Offaly in 2019.
Castlebar Mitchels came through a thriller against Kerry opponents Castleisland Desmonds last Saturday, as St Sylvester’s got the better of Kinawley from Fermanagh on Sunday.
In the Junior Final, Mullinahone will aim to become Tipperary’s first competition winners, and keep the trophy in Munster for a fourth successive season, but they’ll face stiff opposition from a St Judes side looking to claim a first Dublin win since St Maurs in 2016.
Thomas Davis (2012) and Foxrock-Cabinteely (2007) were the other clubs from Dublin to win the Junior title.
At a Croke Park photocall ahead of the games, Mourneabbey were represented by vice-captain Laura Fitzgerald, with captain Louise Ward present from Kilkerrin-Clonberne.
Club captain Lisa McManamon made the trip from Mayo on behalf of Castlebar Mitchels, while St Sylvester’s had captain Danielle Lawless in attendance.
The Junior Club Finalists, Mullinahone and St Judes, were represented by respective captains Molly Walsh and Aoife Keyes.
Looking ahead to the games, Ladies Gaelic Football Association President, Mícheál Naughton, said:
“I would like to wish the six participating teams in the 2021 currentaccount.ie All-Ireland Ladies Club Championship Finals the very best of luck.
“We have three terrific games in store, with our Senior Final live on TG4, while we will live-stream the Junior and Intermediate Finals on our Facebook Page.
“In recent weeks, we have been treated to some spectacular football since the All-Ireland series commenced at the Junior and Intermediate quarter-final stages.
“Six terrific teams are now left standing in the race for silverware and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the games unfold over the next two weekends.
“We unfortunately lost out 2020 Finals due to the Covid-19 pandemic and it is wonderful that we have reached a stage now where we can play our 2021 deciders just a short time after the lifting of so many restrictions.
“I would like to pay a special word of thanks to our sponsors, the participating Credit Unions in currentaccount.ie, who came on board with us during the pandemic, and showed terrific faith in Ladies Gaelic Football.
“There’s a wonderful synergy between the Credit Unions and the LGFA, with a huge emphasis on the volunteer spirit in action.”
Speaking on behalf of currentaccount.ie, Chief Executive Mr. Seamus Newcombe commented
“Congratulations to all of the participating teams on reaching the Credit Union currentaccount.ie All-Ireland Ladies Club Championship finals.
“We are looking forward to some very exciting finals and congratulate everyone involved along the journey to the first currentaccount.ie All-Ireland Ladies Club Championship Finals under our sponsorship of and partnership with the LGFA.
“This is a great opportunity for communities to come together and support their local teams, a sentiment that greatly resonates with our Credit Unions, as one of their focal points is building strong and stable communities.
“Like Gaelic games, community is at the heart of Irish culture, and we are proud to help to promote community enhancement and engagement with the Current Account service now available from participating Credit Unions throughout the country.
“We look forward to more opportunities like this in the future, as we move into a post-Covid world and continue building better, brighter, and more financially stable futures for communities across Ireland.”
Saturday January 29:
Currentaccount.ie All-Ireland Ladies Senior Club Final
Kilkerrin-Clonberne (Galway) v Mourneabbey (Cork); St Brendan’s Park, Birr, 1pm. LIVE TG4
Saturday February 5:
Currentaccount.ie All-Ireland Junior Club Final
Mullinahone (Tipperary) v St Judes (Dublin); Baltinglass GAA, Wicklow, 1.30pm . LIVE on LGFA Facebook Page.
Sunday February 6:
Currentaccount.ie All-Ireland Intermediate Club Final
Castlebar Mitchels (Mayo) v St Sylvester’s (Dublin);. Live on LGFA Facebook Page.