The Senior Final in Leinster, Munster and Ulster take place this weekend
From Jackie Cahill, with Leinster LGFA information supplied by Leinster LGFA PRO, Aisling Clery
THE remaining TG4 provincial silverware of the year will be handed out over the weekend – with Senior Finals in Leinster, Munster and Ulster on the agenda.
There’s a triple-header of Leinster Finals at Laois Hire O’Moore Park in Portlaoise on Sunday, including the Senior decider between holders Dublin and TG4 All-Ireland Senior champions Meath, scheduled for 4.15pm.
All three games are available to view on the LGFA’s live-streaming portal: https://bit.ly/3WndE28
In Munster, the Senior B and Senior A champions will be crowned, with holders Cork and Lidl National League Division 1 winners Kerry meeting in the Senior A decider at 3.30pm in Mallow on Sunday.
Both Munster Finals are available to view at https://www.clubber.ie/
And in Ulster, the 2023 Junior, Intermediate and Senior champions will be determined.
There’s an Intermediate and Senior double-header in Owenbeg on Sunday, with holders Armagh and Donegal meeting in another Senior Final, with a 3.30-pm throw-in time.
The Junior Final between Down and Fermanagh will be played on Saturday, and will be available to view, along with Sunday’s Intermediate Final, via the Ulster Ladies Gaelic Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/UlsterLadiesGaelic/
The Senior Final on Sunday will be screened live by BBC Northern Ireland: https://www.bbc.com/sport/northern-ireland
Saturday May 27
TG4 Junior Championship Final
Down v Fermanagh; Moy Tír na nÓg, 2pm
This Junior Final between Down and Fermanagh promises to be an entertaining affair – and could go either way.
Both sides will be among the front-runners for TG4 All-Ireland Junior Championship glory in August – but the opportunity to lift provincial silverware now presents itself.
Thoughts will turn to the All-Ireland series after this one, with Down and Fermanagh in separate groups for the summer campaign.
This may not be the last time that these two teams see each other in 2023 – and they drew in the round-robin phase of the Ulster Championship.
Down: A McGivern; P Smyth, C Byrne, O Boyle; N McKibbin, M Doherty (capt.), O Duffy; A Laverty, A Keown; N Scullion, V McCormack, L Duffy; E Fitzpatrick, N Ferris, N King.
Fermanagh: R Gleeson; E Keenan, M McGloin, C Clarke; S McQuade (capt.), C Murphy, S McCarville; R O’Reilly, A O’Brien; A Britton, D Maguire, A Maguire; B Bannon, B Bogue, L Maguire.
Sunday May 28.
TG4 Junior Championship Final
Carlow v Kilkenny; Laois Hire O’Moore Park, Portlaoise, 12pm
There will be a new name on the Gerry Browne Cup on Sunday, for the first time since 2019.
Louth won the 2019 title before the Covid Pandemic stopped the Championships in 2020 and 2021 – and there were insufficient teams in 2022.
Carlow have played some championship football at Intermediate level over the last number of weeks to whet their appetite for Sunday’s final and while they were competitive, they were beaten in their three games against Kildare, Wexford and Longford.
For Kilkenny, it is a first outing since their last Lidl National League game, which ended in defeat to Wicklow in Division 4.
Ace attacker Rachel Sawyer returns to the starting line-up for Carlow, with Jenny Sawyer making way, while Anne Roche returns to her full-back role in place of Oonagh Fitzpatrick.
The Kilkenny management have shuffled up their pack and present a very different panel to that which competed in the Lidl National League.
Captained by Sarah Smith from Kilkenny City, the team will be hoping to reignite their season starting with a Junior title this Sunday.
Carlow: N Hanley; A Carroll, A Roche, M Doyle; R Bermingham, N Murphy, S McCullagh; E Hayden, R Bailey; A Hanley, S Doyle, E Molloy; R Sawyer, C Ní Shé, S Hayden.
Kilkenny: N Sheehy; A Galwey, A Egan, E Collins; S O’Gorman, E Coady, S Smith (C); E McCarthy, H Moore; S Kerr, K Furlong, C Moore; L Phelan, K Ryan, T McGrath.
TG4 Intermediate Championship Final
Kildare v Wexford; Laois Hire O’Moore Park, Portlaoise, 2pm
Reigning champions Kildare will look to make it back-to-back Leinster titles against Wexford – in what will be repeat of the 2022 decider.
Kildare won 3-7 to 1-7 last year and were 5-8 to 2-9 winners when the sides met in the group stages of this year’s competition.
Kildare were comprehensive winners against Louth in last weekend’s semi-final, as Wexford came from behind against Westmeath to book their place in the Final.
Kildare will go into Sunday’s clash brimming with confidence and with a trophy already secured this season, following victory in the Lidl NFL Division 3 Final, they have every reason to be.
Wexford, however, will relish the underdogs tag and will aim to spring a surprise and take their first Leinster IFC title since 2019.
Kildare manager Diane O’Hora and Wexford joint-bosses Lizzy Kent & John Nolan have named unchanged sides from their respective semi-final victories, with both sides fancying their chances of silverware.
Kildare: Mary Hulgraine; L Burke, L Lenehan, A Clifford; L Gilbert, R Sergeant, S Munnelly; G Clifford (C), A Rattigan; C Sullivan, N Dooley, R Byrne; E Dowling, T Duggan, L Curran.
Wexford: L Moore; A Halligan, S Murphy, K English; K Tomkins, R Murphy (C), S Harding Kenny; A Walsh, C Banville; B McDonald, C Murray, C Donnelly; C Foxe, A Murphy, C Ní Nualláin.
TG4 Senior Championship Final
Dublin v Meath; Laois Hire O’Moore Park, Portlaoise, 4.15pm
For a second year in a row, heavyweights Dublin and Meath will meet in the TG4 Leinster SFC Final.
Dublin have the upper hand so far this season, with a 1-11 to 0-8 victory back in January in the Lidl National League, and a narrow 1-6 to 0-7 win back in April in the opening round of this year’s Leinster Championship. The scene is set for another epic clash between the neighbours.
That opening round victory, coupled with victory against Laois, booked Dublin’s place in Sunday’s Final and they will be keen to continue their tradition of Leinster SFC titles.
A win on Sunday would hand the Sky Blues a tenth successive provincial title and their 14th in 15 seasons (Laois were victors against Meath in 2011).
While Meath lost out to Dublin in round one, they defeated Laois in round three by 0-15 to 0-5. After a shaky opening half, and competing against the elements, Meath upped the gears and ran out comfortable winners.
Meath’s remarkable rise through the ranks is by now well-documented and while they have won back to back TG4 All-Ireland SFC titles in 2021 and 2022, they have not lifted the Mary Ramsbottom Cup since 2000.
The Royals will be eager to make amends, ahead of what is sure to be another exciting All-Ireland campaign.
Orlagh Nolan drops back to her more familiar position in the half-back line, while Ellen Gribben, Kate Sullivan, Jennifer Dunne and Lauren Magee start ahead of Emma Strappe, Orla Martin, Sinéad Wylde and Faye O’Connell Bell, as Mick Bohan shuffles his pack for Sunday’s decider.
Orlagh Lally, who was a late replacement for Meadhbh Byrne against Laois, is named to start. Davy Nelson opts for the same side as they aim to defeat Dublin for the first time this season and secure the Mary Ramsbottom Cup for the first time in 23 years.
Dublin: A Shiels; N Crowley, L Caffrey, M Byrne; O Nolan, A Kane, E Gribben; J Dunne, L Magee; C O’Connor, C Coffey, E O’Dowd; H Tyrrell, C Rowe (C), K Sullivan.
Meath: M McGuirk; Á Sheridan, M.K. Lynch, K Newe; N Gallogly, S Ennis (C), A Cleary; M O’Shaughnessy, A Minogue; M Thynne, V Wall, E Duggan; O Lally, S Grimes, N O’Sullivan.
Senior B Final
Limerick v Clare; Mallow, 1pm
The Senior B Final between Limerick and Clare is the curtain-raiser on Sunday ahead of the Cork-Kerry Senior A clash.
Limerick will play in the TG4 All-Ireland Junior Championship this summer, with Clare operating in the Intermediate ranks.
The Munster Senior B competition has provided both counties with valuable game time ahead of their respective All-Ireland campaigns – and now the chance to claim silverware has arrived for the neighbours.
Limerick: C Bateman; F Bradshaw, Y Lee, M MacNamara; G Lee, L Walsh, L Ryan; R Ambrose (capt.), C O’Meara; D Murphy, C Mee, C McGrath; L Coughlan, L Browne, K O’Leary.
Clare: A Lenihan; A Keane, S Ní Chonaill, G Harvey; C McCormack, C Harvey (capt.), L Griffin; C Blake, A Reidy; S Considine, C Moloney, A Sexton; L Griffey, C McCarthy, F Marrinan.
TG4 Senior (A) Final
Cork v Kerry; Mallow, 3.30pm
Cork are the reigning TG4 Munster Senior A champions – as Kerry aim for a first provincial title at this level since 2017.
The sides have already met twice this season in competitive fare – with Cork winning in Division 1 of the Lidl National League, before the Rebels came from behind to snatch a 2-14 to 2-14 draw in the round-robin stages of the Munster Championship.
Indeed, Cork were the only county to inflict a defeat on champions Kerry in the Lidl National League – and they’re unbeaten in those two outings against the Kingdom.
Both counties will fancy their chances of making real progress in the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship – and the nature of the rivalry between them will ensure that there’s no backward step taken in Mallow.
There’s the chance to strike a real psychological blow and Cork have opted for an unchanged team after getting past Waterford to book their place in the Final.
Kerry worked hard for victory over Tipperary to secure their Final place – and joint-managers Declan Quill and Darragh Long have made three changes in personnel.
Eilís Lynch, Aoife Dillane and Aishling O’Connell return to the starting line-up, with Ciara O’Brien, Mary O’Connell and Louise Galvin dropping out.
Cork, managed by Shane Ronayne, won last year’s Munster Final by 2-11 to 1-9 against Kerry in Killarney.
Cork: M O’Sullivan; A Ryan, E Meaney, R Phelan; M Duggan, S Kelly, S Leahy; A Healy, H Looney; L Coppinger, D O’Sullivan, E Kiely; O Cahalane, K Quirke, C O’Sullivan.
Kerry: C Butler; E Lynch, K Cronin, A Dillane; A O’Connell, E Costello, C Murphy; L Scanlon, C Lynch; N Carmody, N Ní Chonchúir, A Galvin; H O’Donoghue, D O’Leary, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh.
TG4 Intermediate Final
Antrim v Tyrone; Owenbeg Centre of Excellence, Derry, 1.30pm
Tyrone will put their TG4 Ulster Intermediate title on the line against dangerous opposition.
Antrim captured the TG4 All-Ireland Junior title last year and have continued upon their winning ways in 2023, with Lidl National League Division 4 glory followed by progress to the Ulster Intermediate Final.
Tyrone won in the round-robin phase but Antrim will have learned plenty from that narrow setback.
This will be the first-ever Antrim-Tyrone Ulster Intermediate Final – with victories for both over Monaghan sending them through before they met in the group stages, which finished in a 2-15 to 4-7 win for the Red Hands.
Antrim: A McCann; D Coleman, A Keenan, E Ferran; O Corr, C Brown, S O’Neill; A Mulholland, Á Tubridy; T Mellon, C Carey (capt.), L Dahunsi; B Devlin, O Prenter, M O’Neill.
Tyrone: S McVey; M Corrigan, C Magee, E Quinn; J Lyons, C Campbell, E Hegarty; E.J. Gervin, A McHugh (capt.); A Horisk, G Rafferty, S Byrne; M Canavan, N Hughes, A McGahan.
TG4 Senior Final
Armagh v Donegal; Owenbeg Centre of Excellence, Derry, 3.30pm
Armagh and Donegal meet again in a TG4 Ulster Senior Final.
Donegal haven’t won this title since 2019, when they put 5-12 past Armagh, but the Orchard County have had the upper hand since then in the province.
Armagh are going for four-in-a-row in Ulster, with a 2020 Final victory over Monaghan followed up by back-to-back wins over Donegal in 2021 and 2022.
Kelly Mallon’s goal secured a dramatic extra-time win for Armagh over Donegal last year and when the sides met earlier this month in the round-robin phase, Armagh were 1-15 to 2-4 winners.
Donegal opened that fixture well but Armagh, the Lidl National League Division 2 champions, settled and eased to a comfortable win.
Armagh will start as favourites and there’s one change to the team that defeated Cavan comprehensively last time out, with Louise Kenny coming in for Catherine Marley in defence.
The Donegal team that lost to Armagh in their last outing shows two changes – with Shelly Twohig and Ciara McGarvey listed to start ahead of Karen Guthrie and Laoise Ryan.
Armagh: A Carr; S Grey, C McCambridge, L Kenny; G Ferguson, L McConville, C Towe; N Coleman, E Lavery; B Mackin, A Mackin, E Druse; N Marley, K Mallon (capt.), A McCoy.
Donegal: C Friel; N Carr, A Temple Asoko, Nicole McLaughlin; A Boyle Carr, S McGroddy, T Hegarty; S Twohig, Niamh McLaughlin (capt.); R Rodgers, K Long, K Dowds; E Gallagher, K Herron, C McGarvey.