The club championships reaches the penultimate stage with the senior and intermediate semi-finals down for decision and by Sunday night we will know the finalists in both grades. The action gets underway on Sunday morning when St. Marys take on Geraldines B in the Junior final in Tallanstown.
Roche Emmets v Cooley Kickhams
This promises to be an intriguing encounter between two sides who know plenty about each other. They have already met in the group stages where Roche after, ran out convincing winners to strike a psychological blow over Paul Hanlon’s side.
Both teams have been in superb form since, winning all of their games. Roche followed that win by beating a strongly fancied Mochtas side while Cooley took care of St. Kevins and Stabannon. Like last year when Cooley started slowly a similar pattern has emerged this year, following a disappointing league campaign and an opening round championship loss, their form picked up considerably in an excellent quarter final win over Stabannon despite being without star forward Lauren Boyle through injury.The Louth attacker played for forty minutes for her county as they beat Antrm in the All Ireland semi final last Saturday scoring 1:1 which may mean Kickhams manager Paul Hanlon will find a starting spot for the teenage star.
Roche under the astute Michael Heaney will not lack for confidence after three fine wins in the competition. Youngsters Seona Halligan and Louise Byrne have rewarded their manager’s trust with Byrne impressing at midfield alongside Halligan one of the stars of the Louth U16 team which won the All Ireland title. They are well organised defensively with the likes of Niamh Callan, Lauren Meehan and county star Aoife Halligan while up front they will look to the experienced Tracey Rogers who hit 2:2 in the win over Mochtas along with Jenny McCourt and Deirbhla Begley.
It’s an exciting time for Cooley supporters as they have one of their youngest and most exciting teams for a long time, backboned by players who have helped the club win the last four minor championships. In what will be an open and expansive game, Roche if they can stop the supply to the Cooley forwards, might just sneak it. Don’t be surprised if extra time is needed to separate these evenly matched teams.
Geraldines v St. Kevins
The Philipstown side pulled off a shock win over one of the favourites St Fechins last day out, but go into this clash as complete outsiders. They come up against competition favourites Geraldines who sailed through the group stages with easy wins over St. Bride’s and St. Mochtas and comfortably saw off Newtown Blues in the quarter finals with county player Rebecca Carr leading the way with 1:9 of their total.
With Patrick Gregory patrolling the sideline, the Kevins can not be discounted as they can call on many talented players such as county players Susan Byrne and Grainne Murray, while Paula Murray is one of the most lethal attackers in the game. Donna Farrell is an outstanding keeper and with Aoife Gregory and exciting teenager Roisin Maguire leading the attack, Kevins may need to be brave and go after the Gers with the gifted forwards they have.
However it is difficult to oppose a very strong Geraldines outfit who will be be keen to get back to the final and make amends for last season’s disappointment when they lost to Cooley.
St. Patricks v Nh. Martin/Glen Emmets
Pats will be keen to atone for their poor showing in last year’s final where they lost to St Fechins. They have been impressive in both league and Championship and have in Kate Flood a player of the utmost ability.
The county captain will be spending the winter playing in Australian rules football with Freemantle and will be aiming to have county and All Ireland medals in the luggage as she heads Down Under. Fellow county star Aine Breen is expected to be at midfield while Megan Woods, Nicola Connor and Kate Comiskey will take some watching by the combination team’s defenders.
The south Louth side have done well to get to the semi finals following a fine win over neighbours Dreadnots in the quarter final, and will look to county star Aoife Russell who hit 2:5 in her side’s 2:11 to 2:08 win over the Clogherhead side. Rachel Goodwin’s penalty save was also crucial to the outcome.
The Lordship side look the team to beat and appear to have too much firepower, and it will be a major suprise if they are not back in the final on September 22nd.
Verdict: St. Patricks
Clan na Gael v Nh. Fionnbarra
Clans who won both the Div 3 league and Junior Championship in 2018 go into this tie on the back of good recent form and will be confident of victory over inconsistent Nh. Fionbarra. The Dundalk sides ranks have been boosted by the inclusion of Louth player Emily Norton. The ex-Dowdallshill star brings searing pace and a scoring threat to an attack that has highly rated Ciera Woods as it’s focal point.
The Annagassan side have a 100% record and sit top of Div 2 but didn’t bring that good league form into the championship. They bounced back to form with a good win over Kilkerley with Niamh Devlin, Ciera McMahon and Marianne Hullen getting the goals. Annemarie Breen is among the top keeper’s in Louth while the defence contains current Louth star Deirbhla Osborne and ex Galway player Marie O’Connell. Niamh Devlin is a highly rated midfielder while Leanne Sharkey along with the aforementioned McMahon and Hullen provide the cutting edge up front.
Preview by Dermot Woods
Senior Championship Semi Finals
Geraldines v St. Kevins, Ref, P. Burke. 6:00pm
Roche Emmett’s v Cooley Kickhams, Ref, F. Shanahan. 7:30pm
Intermediate Championship Semi Finals
Clan na Gael v Nh Fionbarra, Ref, F. Levins. 7:30pm
St. Patricks v Nh. Martin/Glen Emmets. Ref, J. Murphy 6:00pm
Junior Championships Final
St. Marys v Geraldines B
In Tallanstown @ 11am