The finalists for the Senior and Intermediate TG4 All Ireland Football Championship finals will be known after this weekend
Compiled by Jackie Cahill
THE finalists in the 2021 TG4 All Ireland Senior and Intermediate Championships will be revealed over the weekend.
Croke Park is the venue for the Senior semi-finals on Saturday and Sunday, as Dublin, Mayo, Cork and Meath prepare to do battle at GAA HQ.
Both games are live on TG4, with Dublin facing Mayo on Saturday at 3.45pm, followed by the meeting of Cork and Meath on Sunday at 3.30pm.
Also on Sunday, both Intermediate semi-finals are down for decision, and both games have 2pm throw-in times.
Laois will take on Wexford at UPMC Nowlan Park in Kilkenny, while Kildare get ready for a clash with Championship favourites Westmeath at Parnell Park.
Also on Saturday, there’s other serious business to attend to in the Senior Championship, as Kerry and Tipperary meet in a relegation play-off (Mallow, 2pm).
There’s also an Intermediate relegation play-off on Sunday in Kiltoom (2pm), where Roscommon take on Longford.
Elsewhere, the top four placings in the round-robin phase of the TG4 All-Ireland Junior Championship will be decided after Round 5.
In the remaining group fixtures, Carlow play Limerick, with Derry up against Wicklow, who are already safely through to the semi-finals.
The Senior Championship semi-finals are the live TV games, with all other weekend fixtures available to view at the LGFA and TG4’s dedicated Championship portal https://page.inplayer.com/peilnamban/
All games at 2pm unless stated
Saturday 14th August 2021
TG4 Senior All Ireland Ladies Football Championship semi-final
Dublin v Mayo; Croke Park, 3.45pm
IT all started for Dublin against Mayo and the Sky Blues will hope that the journey continues against their opponents from the West in Saturday’s TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship semi-final.
In what was then a record 46,286 attendance for an All-Ireland Ladies decider in 2017, Dublin got the better of Mayo to record just their second Senior title win, and first since 2010.
It was a victory that helped to erase the memories and hurt of three successive Final defeat to Cork from 2014-2016 – and it was the launchpad for a period of sustained dominance.
Dublin have been untouchable in Senior Championship football since then and victory would propel them into an eighth successive Final.
Under the guidance of Mick Bohan, Dublin are chasing a fifth successive title but they’ll receive a stern examination from a Mayo side under the stewardship of former county star Michael Moyles.
Mayo will need a reversal of recent fortunes against Dublin if they’re to make it through to a first All-Ireland Final since 2017.
It’s the first Championship meeting between Dublin and Mayo since 2018, a game won by the Metropolitans, and their most recent clash was a 2021 Lidl National League Division 1 semi-final, when Dublin prevailed by 4-15 to 0-10.
Dublin went on to win the competition and have shown good form to date in the Championship.
Comfortable victories over Tyrone and Waterford in the group stages saw Dublin through to the knockout phase, and they recovered from a slow start to defeat Donegal by five points.
Carla Rowe, who has emerged as a totemic leader up front for Dublin, was superb in that game, while Hannah Tyrrell’s return from rugby has provided Bohan with another brilliant option in attack.
Tyrrell made a sensational impact in the League and has carried that form into the Championship – as she’s Dublin’s current leading scorer with 0-14.
It’ll take something special from Mayo to derail this Dublin juggernaut but confidence is high in their camp following a four-point quarter-final victory over Connacht rivals Galway.
That win followed victories over Cavan and Monaghan in the group stages, the latter in a dramatic free-taking shoot-out.
Mayo slipped up against Armagh in Round 3 but had already secured a safe passage to the quarter-finals by then.
Moyles will look to the scoring power of Shauna Howley (0-20 to date), Rachel Kearns (1-11) and Grace Kelly (0-12) if Mayo are to cause what would be a big upset.
Dublin (v Mayo): C Trant; M Byrne, N Collins, L Caffrey; O Carey, S McGrath, O Nolan; J Dunne, L Magee; H Tyrrell, L Davey, C Rowe; S Killeen, N McEvoy, S Aherne (capt.).
Mayo (v Dublin): L Brennan; S Lally, D Finn, C McManamon (capt.); T O’Connor, C Whyte, K Sullivan; F McHale, S Cafferky; N Kelly, R Kearns, L Cafferky; G Kelly, S Howley, S Rowe.
TG4 Senior All Ireland Ladies Football Championship – Relegation play-off
Kerry v Tipperary; Mallow
On the weekend when the Senior Championship semi-finalists get to strut their stuff at Croke Park, it’s all about survival for Kerry and Tipperary.
Two counties who would have hoped to go deeper in Championship 2021 will be content now to end the season with the prospect of Senior Championship football again next year.
Kerry were competitive in their group matches against Galway and Donegal but lost both and were plunged into a relegation scrap.
Tipperary, without captain Aishling Moloney, struggled badly in their group, suffering heavy defeats to Cork and Meath.
They’ll hope that there’s one big performance in them to preserve their Senior Championship status but on all known form to date, they may have to wait for a second bite of the cherry against Tyrone or Cavan.
Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh is the player to watch from a Kerry perspective, with 3-11 in the Championship to date.
That’s equal to what Tipp (1-17) have managed in two games, which gives you an indication of their struggles in front of goal.
Kerry (v Tipperary): C Butler; J O’Sullivan, A Desmond (capt.), C Murphy; A O’Connell, K Cronin, C Lynch; L Scanlon, N Carmody; M O’Connell, C Evans, L Galvin; D O’Leary, E Dineen, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh.
Tipperary (v Kerry): L Fitzpatrick (capt.); L Nagle, M Curley, E Cronin; E Kelly, L Spillane, L Dillon; O O’Dwyer, A O’Shea; C O’Dwyer, A Fennessy, N Hayes; R Howard, M Creedon, A McGuigan.
Sunday 15th August 2021
TG4 Senior All Ireland Ladies Football Championship semi-final
Cork v Meath; Croke Park, 3.30pm
WHEN you consider where both counties are now, it’s remarkable to think that Cork demolished Meath by 40 points in the 2015 Championship.
Monica McGuirk was in goal for Meath in Thurles six years ago, current captain Shauna Ennis played at corner back and Vikki Wall was in the full-forward line.
Kate Byrne, Megan Thynne and Sarah Powderly are other panel members involved with Meath this year who also started on that fateful day.
Fast forward to 2021 and Meath have already shown that they present a real threat to Cork.
It’s just over five weeks since Cork and Meath met previously in the 2021 TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship.
On that occasion, Meath ran Cork all the way, losing out by just two points in a Group 2 opener in Birr.
If the old saying that forewarned is forearmed rings true, Cork will be very much on their guard for the challenge of a rampant Meath at Croke Park in Sunday’s TG4 All-Ireland semi-final.
The Meath story in 2021 is quite remarkable. Having won the 2020 TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate title, following two previous Final defeats, the Royal County’s progress since then has been meteoric.
They captured the Lidl National League Division 2 title in June with a blistering performance against Kerry here at Croke Park, to gain promotion to the top flight for 2022.
Not content with that, Meath bounced back from that Cork loss to comfortably beat Tipperary and book a slot in the knockout stages of the Championship.
Against Armagh in the quarter-finals, Meath were brilliant, ending the hopes of a side that had contested a semi-final in 2020, and looked arguably better this year.
But Meath possess genuine matchwinners in the likes of Vikki Wall, the 2020 Intermediate Players’ Player of the Year, Emma Duggan, Stacey Grimes and Niamh O’Sullivan.
Cork may start as favourites but they’ll have their work cut out. Orla Finn is a huge loss through injury but the Leesiders still possess power, pace, style and experience in abundance.
Cork have been far from their best to date but perhaps they’re building up a head of steam at just the right time.
Eimear Scally’s return to the fold this year was a fillip for Cork and she’s their leading Championship scorer with 2-11.
Cork (v Meath): M O’Brien (capt.); M Ambrose, R Phelan, E Meaney; E O’Shea, M Cahalane, M Duggan; A Hutchings, H Looney; L O’Mahony, C O’Sullivan, Á O’Sullivan; S O’Leary, K Quirke, M Scally.
Meath (v Cork): M McGuirk; E Troy, M.K. Lynch, K Newe; A Leahy, A Cleary, S Ennis (capt.); O Lally, M O’Shaughnessy; O Byrne, S Grimes, N O’Sullivan; V Wall, E Duggan, B Lynch.
TG4 Intermediate All Ireland Ladies Football Championship semi-finals
Laois v Wexford; UPMC Nowlan Park, Kilkenny
A Leinster derby sees Laois and Wexford meet at UPMC Nowlan Park in Kilkenny.
The 2021 Lidl National League campaign saw contrasting fortunes for both counties.
Laois won the Division 3 title to gain promotion to the second tier, while Wexford moved in the opposite direction after losing to Tyrone in a Division 2 relegation play-off.
Defeat against Tyrone in that game marked a real low point for Wexford, who conceded 11-7 against the Red Hands.
Paul Carty vacated the role of team manager and Lizzy Kent took over ahead of the Championship.
Since then, Wexford’s fortunes have been on the rise. The Model County began the group phase with an eye-catching victory over Sligo, 4-13 to 1-10, before getting the better of Longford by a single point.
A 1-6 to 2-16 loss to Westmeath was the only blot on Wexford’s championship copybook to date, before they scored a 1-11 to 2-6 quarter-final win over a fancied Down outfit.
In Catriona Murray and Amy Wilson, Wexford have two players in fine scoring form.
Murray has 1-15 to date in the Championship, while Wilson has contributed 2-7.
Opponents Laois have maintained their winning streak after capturing the League title with victory over Kildare.
The sides met again in the Championship and it was Laois with the upper hand once more, on a 4-11 to 2-15 scoreline.
The O’Moore County followed up with a 3-8 to 1-7 victory over Roscommon to march into the last eight.
At the quarter-final stage, Louth provided stout resistance but Laois found a way through and ran out 3-9 to 2-6 winners.
Mo Nerney has been in magnificent form for Laois, collecting 3-11 to date in the Championship, but she’s not the only player that Wexford will have to watch.
Sarah Anne Fitzgerald has 2-6 to her name while Jane Moore, Fiona Dooley and Erone Fitzpatrick are also capable of wreaking havoc.
Victory for Wexford would see them through to a first Intermediate Final since 2007, as Laois target a first appearance in the Mary Quinn Memorial Cup decider in 21 years.
Laois (v Wexford): E Barry; C Dunne, A Potts, A Kelly; R Williams, E Healy, L Nerney (capt.); F Dooley, J Moore; J Dunne, A Healy, E Fitzpatrick; M Nerney, S.A. Fitzgerald, O Hennessy.
Wexford (v Laois): S Merrigan; L Doyle, A Halligan, K White; C Donnelly, S Murphy, S Harding-Kenny; C Banville, R Murphy; S Hamilton, C Murray, A Neville; D Doyle, A Murphy (capt.), A Wilson.
Kildare v Westmeath; Parnell Park
WILL it be Westmeath through to a second successive Final, or a first decider for Kildare since their 2016 victory?
All will be revealed at Parnell Park as Kildare and Westmeath battle for a place in the TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate Final.
Just like the Laois-Wexford semi-final in Kilkenny, it’s an all-Leinster affair on Dublin’s northside, and only one team can make it through to Croke Park on Sunday, September 5.
This one promises to be a cracking game, as both sides look to continue their good recent form.
Westmeath were shocked by Longford in the opening group game but recovered well and victories over Sligo and Wexford were good enough to book a quarter-final place against Clare.
There, the Lake County had to battle hard against the ladies from the Banner, before securing a hard-fought 3-11 to 2-11 victory.
Kildare, meanwhile, began their campaign with a 1-11 to 1-7 victory over Roscommon and in a three-team group, that was ultimately good enough to book a place in the last eight, even after a narrow loss to Laois.
In the quarter-finals, Kildare had four points to spare over a Leitrim team that had been moving extremely well prior to that.
Kildare are a team who have recovered well not only from losing to Laois in the Championship, but also in the Lidl National League Division 3 Final.
Today, they face another big test against a Westmeath side rated by many as Championship favourites.
Westmeath lost the 2020 Final to Meath at Croke Park and are determined to make up for that disappointment.
And they have players in a rich vein of scoring form, as Sarah Dillon (3-16), Anna Jones (1-15), Leona Archibold (2-6) and Ciara Blundell (2-6) have collected a whopping 8-43 between them in Championship 2021.
They’re players Kildare will need to keep a close eye on but the Lilywhites have scoring threat themselves in the form of Neasa Dooley (3-9), Lara Curran (0-14) and Gillian Wheeler (1-5).
Both defences will find themselves up against it at various stages and who manages best to cope with the shooting stars will end up on the right end of the final result.
Kildare (v Westmeath): D McGinn; C Sullivan, L Lenehan, S Kendrick; L Murtagh, L Gilbert, E Burke; S O’Sullivan, G Kenneally; C Wheeler, L Curran, G Clifford (capt.); G Wheeler, N Dooley, A Rattigan.
Westmeath (v Kildare): L McCormack; N Spellman, L Duncan, T Fagan; F Coyle, L Power, A Brady; V Carr, T Dillon; F Claffey (capt.), L Archibold, A Jones; C Blundell, L McCartan, S Dillon.
TG4 Intermediate All Ireland Ladies Football Championship – Relegation play-off
Roscommon v Longford; St Brigid’s, Kiltoom
SEMI-finalists for each of the previous three seasons, Roscommon now find themselves battling for survival in the Intermediate grade.
The Connacht outfit were pitted with Laois and Kildare in the group stages – and lost out to both of the Leinster sides.
Longford, meanwhile, began their Championship campaign in sensational fashion with victory over 2020 Finalists Westmeath but they suffered losses to Wexford and Sligo after that.
Today isn’t necessarily the end of the road for either side, however. The winners will stay up, while the losers will have a second chance to preserve Intermediate status against Offaly or Fermanagh.
Roscommon have struggled in attack, with their leading scorer, Rebecca Finan, on 0-5.
Longford skipper Michelle Farrell is leading the way in the scoring stakes with 1-6 to date in the Championship for the Midlanders.
Roscommon (v Longford): H Cummins; R Brady, S Kenny (capt.), M Kelly; E Irwin, R Wynne, S McVeigh; J Higgins, C Conway; L Fleming, A MacAuliffe, J Cregg; R Finan, N McHugh, R Fitzmaurice.
Longford (v Roscommon): R McGrath; K Crawford, L Keegan, A Cosgrove; O Nevin, E O’Brien, C Farrell; N Darcy, K Shannon; L Monaghan, S Shannon, M Farrell (capt.); A Darcy, E Heaney, C Healy.
TG4 Junior All Ireland Ladies Football Championship – Round 5
Carlow v Limerick; Birr
It’s quite straightforward for Carlow and Limerick. The winners go through to the semi-finals, while the losers must wait on the result of the Derry-Wicklow game to learn their fate.
If Wicklow beat Derry, both Carlow and Limerick go through regardless, so a nail-biting afternoon awaits the three counties hoping to join Wicklow and Antrim in the semi-finals.
Carlow gave themselves a lifeline with a one-point win over Derry last weekend, and that result could yet prove priceless.
Should Carlow lose to Limerick, and Derry fall against Wicklow, Carlow will still go through to the last four on the head-to-head rule having beaten Derry.
Limerick are in a similar boat, as they also scored a one-point win over Derry in this Championship season.
Both sides here, however, won’t want to rely on a result elsewhere to guarantee a safe passage to the knockout stages.
Cliodhna Ní Shé (4-10) has been brilliant to date for Carlow in the Championship, while Nicole Bennett is leading the way for Limerick with 2-4.
Carlow (v Limerick): N Hanley; O Fitzpatrick, A Dooley, R Bermingham; N Mohan, E Atkinson, N Murphy; C O’Neill, N Forde; M Kinsella, S Doyle, N Kelly; A Gilmartin (capt.), C Ní Shé, D O’Brien.
Limerick (v Carlow): S Hennessy; Y Lee, M McCarthy, C Walsh; M Buckley, N McCarthy (capt.), M McNamara; L Coughlan, R Ambrose; K Heelan, A O’Sullivan, A Cunningham; N Bennett, A Ryan, K Reidy.
Derry v Wicklow; Mullahoran
It’s win or bust for Derry. Win, and they book a place in the semi-finals.
Lose, and they’ll exit the Championship as the bottom-placed team, having lost out to fellow contenders Carlow and Limerick.
Derry got off to a brilliant start, defeating Ulster rivals Antrim in Round 1, but they’ve lost by a point to both Limerick and Carlow since then, leaving the Oak Leafers in a precarious position.
Much will depend on how Wicklow approach this one.
The pre-Championship favourites are already through as table-toppers and they’ve left a number of their regular starters on the bench.
Derry will sense an opportunity but they’ll still have to be at their very best to make it through.
Ciara McGurk, Emma Doherty and Orla McGeough will lead the hunt for Derry scores, while Wicklow’s leading scorer, Marie Kealy, is named on the bench.
Derry (v Wicklow): L Gunn; A McGeough, D Donnelly, N Brown; A Frizelle, G Conway (capt.), Erin Doherty; A McAllister, Emma Doherty; C McGurk, D McNicholl, D Kivlehan; R McAllister, O McGeough, K Canavan.
Wicklow (v Derry): L Dempsey; M Healy, S.J. Winders (capt.), L Dunne; K Hennessy, P Faulkner, K Lawless; A.M. Keegan, H Dowling; M Shelley, S Miley, A Burke; E Parke, S McGettigan, C O’Brien.