Six games in the TG4 Provincial Championships are down for decision this weekend
Compiled by Jackie Cahill & Aisling Clery (Leinster LGFA previews submitted by Aisling Clery, Leinster LGFA PRO)
THE scene is set for another bumper weekend of action in the TG4 Provincial championships.
Cavan and Donegal lock horns on Sunday for a place in the Ulster Final, with Kerry taking on Tipperary on Saturday in a last-four Munster clash.
In Leinster, Lidl National League Division 1 and TG4 All-Ireland Senior Champions Meath take on Dublin in what promises to be another mouth-watering encounter at Parnell Park on Saturday evening (7pm).
You can watch the Leinster Championship games by subscribing to the Leinster LGFA’s streaming service: https://page.inplayer.com/leinsterlgfa/, while the Ulster SFC semi-final between Cavan and Donegal will be available to view on the Ulster Ladies Gaelic Football Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/UlsterLadiesGaelic/
This Weekends TG4 Provincial Championships Fixtures
Friday May 6
Clare v Sligo; Connacht COE, 8pm
A dead rubber between Clare and Sligo on Friday evening.
Leitrim and Roscommon are already through to the Connacht decider, which leaves Clare and Sligo with a warm-up clash ahead of the TG4 All-Ireland series.
Clare were not eligible to compete in the Connacht Final in any case, and both sides will use this game to sharpen up ahead of what lies in store for the remainder of the summer.
Clare (v Sligo): A Lenihan; R Doohan, G Harvey, A Kenny; E McMahon, S Considine, L Griffin; A Reidy, J Doohan; L Roche, A Sexton, C Blake; N O’Dea, S Redmond, C Callinan.
Sligo (v Clare): B Hart; M McNamara, A Egan, C Dunne; L Powell, N Brennan, S Cunney; S Reynolds (capt.), R Molloy; A Haran, E McGuire, L Kelly; L Duffy, D McGrath, R O’Brien.
Saturday May 7
Munster SFC semi-final
Kerry v Tipperary; Páirc Uí Rinn (Cork), 3.30pm
Fresh from landing the Lidl National League Division 2 title, and promotion to the top flight, Kerry will start as favourites to book a place in the Munster Final.
The Kingdom take on a Tipperary side without the services of injured Aishling Moloney and also Aisling McCarthy, who has remained in Australia for the summer.
It’s a big ask for the Premier County to get a result against Kerry in this one but they did survive in Division 2 of the Lidl National League and that will have lifted confidence levels.
Páirc Uí Rinn is the venue for this one – with the winners to play Waterford or Cork in the provincial decider.
Kerry (v Tipperary): C Butler; C O’Brien, K Cronin, E Lynch, A O’Connell, E Costello; C Murphy, C Lynch; A Galvin (capt.), P McCarthy, N Carmody, L Scanlon; N Ní Chonchúir, E McGlynn, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh.
Tipperary (v Kerry): L Fitzpatrick; L Morrissey, M Curley (capt.), E Kelly; C Davey, N Martin, N Towey; A.R. Kennedy, L Spillane; S English, M Creedon, E Cronin; C O’Dwyer, E Morrissey, A O’Shea.
Dublin v Meath; Parnell Park, 7pm
The most special of rivalries, Dublin and Meath do battle once more this Saturday.
Dublin already have a win under their belts after their victory over Westmeath last weekend, while this is Meath’s first Leinster SFC outing since 2016.
Dublin boss Mick Bohan makes six changes to the team that comfortably defeated Westmeath.
Abby Shiels resumes her position between the sticks ahead of Ciara Trant while Ellen Gribben and Martha Byrne come in at the back in place of Niamh Collins and Aoife Kane.
Lauren Magee drops to the bench and is replaced by Kate McDaid while Kate Sullivan and Lyndsey Davey return to the starting 15 ahead of Carla Rowe and Hannah Tyrrell.
Meath make one change to the starting team that defeated Donegal in the Lidl National League Division 1 Final, with Orlaith Duff starting ahead of Katie Newe.
While many still speak about their epic encounter last September in the TG4 All Ireland Senior Final, Dublin and Meath last met at Páirc Tailteann in front of a bumper crowd in early March, when a late Hannah Tyrrell free secured a narrow Lidl NFL victory for Dublin.
On that occasion, both sides had nothing to lose, having already qualified for semi-finals, but they still gave it everything.
They were level five times and the game was nip and tuck throughout, before Tyrrell’s late free sealed the win.
Another tight contest is expected at Parnell Park, where bragging rights are once again at stake.
A victory for Dublin would guarantee a TG4 Leinster SFC Final slot at Croke Park on May 28.
Dublin (v Meath): A Shiels; J Tobin, L Caffrey, E Gribben; S Goldrick, M Byrne, O Nolan; J Dunne, K McDaid; N Owens, S Wylde, K Sullivan; C O’Connor, N Hetherton, L Davey.
Meath (v Dublin): M McGuirk; S Ennis (C), MK Lynch, O Duff; A Leahy, E Troy, A Cleary; M O’Shaughnessy, O Lally; M Thynne, K Nesbitt, E Duggan; V Wall, S Grimes, N O’Sullivan.
Sunday May 8
Ulster SFC semi-final
Cavan v Donegal; St Tiernach’s Park, Clones, 1.45pm
Cavan return to action for the first time since their group outings in Division 2B of the Lidl National League.
The Breffni girls have it all to do against a Donegal outfit still smarting from defeat to Meath in the Lidl NFL Division 1 Final.
Donegal will be anxious to bounce back and book a place in the provincial final against holders Armagh – but Cavan have huge motivation of their own to make it there.
Cavan, on their day, are capable of producing a big performance and Donegal will have to be at their best to get the win here.
Manager Maxi Curran has made two changes to his League Final starting team, with Tanya Kennedy and Niamh Hegarty coming in for Tara Hegarty and Roisin Rodgers.
Cavan (v Donegal): E Walsh; R Doonan, S Lynch, Z Fay; S Greene, L Fitzpatrick (capt.), E Halton; M Sheridan, N Byrd; N Keenaghan, L McVeety, A Gilsenan; G Sheridan, A Reilly, G Smith.
Donegal (v Cavan): R McCafferty; N Carr, E McGinley, N Boyle; T Kennedy, Nicole McLaughlin, A Boyle Carr; K Herron, Niamh McLaughlin (capt.); Y Bonner, N Hegarty, S Twohig; B McLaughlin, K Guthrie, G McLaughlin.
Leinster IFC semi-finals
Laois v Wexford, MW Hire O’Moore Park, 4pm
This fixture has the potential to be the standout game from a busy weekend of Leinster fare.
For Laois, wins over Louth and Offaly in the first two rounds were capped off by a fine performance last weekend as they defeated Wicklow in a ten goal thriller (5-19 to 5-05), to book a semi-final place unbeaten.
Erone Fitzpatrick, Alanna Havill, Emma Lawlor, Anna Moore and Kelly O’Neill all hit the net last Sunday and manager Donie Brennan will be hoping for more of the same this weekend.
Wexford enjoyed a 4-07 to 0-08 win over Longford last time out in Wexford Park.
Goals from Tara Doyle, Aisling Murphy and Caitríona Murray (two) were enough to overcome Longford to ensure a semi-final spot.
Laois (v Wexford): E Barry; C Dunne, A Potts, A Kelly (C); R Williams, E Healy, A Donoher; J Moore, A Healy; E Galvin, LM Maher, E Fitzpatrick; M Nerney, SA Fitzgerald, S Havill.
Wexford (v Laois): S Merrigan; C Neville, A Halligan, S Murphy; O Kehoe, R Murphy (C), C Donnelly; K Kearney, C Banville; S Hamilton, C Murray, E O’Brien; A Wilson, A Murphy, B Breen.
Kildare v Offaly; Manguard Plus Hawkfield Centre of Excellence, 2pm
Kildare are currently unbeaten in this year’s Leinster Championship and they will want it to stay that way as they host Offaly at Hawkfield on Saturday afternoon.
Under Sean Finnegan, the Lilywhites are looking to book an IFC final spot, their first since 2016 where they were crowned champions against Wexford.
Offaly, however, are the in-form team, already boasting silverware this season from Division 4 of the Lidl National League and under the joint-management of Danny McGarvey and Brian O’Ruairc, they are a force to be reckoned with.
Offaly defeated Wicklow in the round stages and qualified for the knockout stages on scoring difference.
Having narrowly lost out to Laois and Louth in the last two rounds, they will be eager to bounce back and there’s no better time to do that than in a semi-final.
Kildare (v Offaly): D McGinn; C Nugent, L Lenehan, R Cribbin; M Doherty, L Gilbert, L Murtagh; G Clifford (C), H McLoughlin; C Wheeler, A Rattigan, C Sullivan; N Dooley, O Sullivan, L Curran.
Offaly (v Kildare): E Evans; I Fleming, E Nally, N Buckley; M Mann, E Maher, A Kehoe; E Hand, R Ennis (C); A Gavin Mangan, C Walsh, S McGuinness; S Doyle, E McEvoy, M Byrne.