League Finals – Gers and St Pats going for doubles, Cooley and Roche provide strong opposition

Sunday October 27

Division 1 League Final
Geraldines v  Cooley Kickhams @ 12:45, Referee; Finbarr Shanahan

Division 2 League Final
St. Patricks v Roche Emmetts @ 11am.  Referee; Kevin Carroll

Both games in Kilkerley Emmetts GFC

For the second successive season Geraldines have reached the league final. They will go into Sunday’s decider against Cooley knowing victory would not only retain their trophy but would see them complete the domestic season unbeaten.

This is very much a meeting of old foes since both teams have built up a strong rivalry over the course of recent years having contested the two most recent senior Championship finals and also last year’s minor final. As in the cases in both of Sunday’s finals, a galaxy of high profile county stars will be in action in this intriguing game.

Geraldines will be in high spirits going into this game after adding a maiden Minor Championship success with a win over St. Mary’s recently.  In one of the best finals in recent years the Haggardstown side showed their  character to come from behind to take the title on a 2:16 to 5:06 scoreline.

That game underlined the emerging talent that manager Paula Lavin has at her disposal. Holly Lambe Sally turned in a player of the match performance at centre back, Sarah Morgan was outstanding at midfield while up front Rebecca Mooney and Louise Corcoran caught the eye.

Word is that the champions may be missing a number of regulars on Sunday and will look to county star’s Rebecca Carr, Eilish Hand and Lauren McFaul and Ciera O’Connor to spark their bid for a place in the history books while Cooley will lean on Claire Donnelly, Laura Trainor, Laura Grills and the electrifying attacking duo of Niamh Rice who hit 2:07 in the semi final win over St. Mochta’s last week and Lauren Boyle.

Gers were the better side for most of the recent Championship Final and will start as favourites but will be wary of a Cooley side who have turned in some impressive performances in getting this far and they certainly won’t be burdened by an inferiority complex.

Whoever plays, for both sides, they can expect a white-hot atmosphere, with a big crowd expected, looking to support their team and try to bring out the best in them.

Division Two Final
In the opening game in Kilkerley, St Patrick’s will meet Roche Emmets in the Div 2 final looking to complete a league and championship double. The intermediate champions saw off Clan na Gael on the Ecco Road on Sunday morning, running out 4–10 to 2–4 winners, while Roche booked their place in the decider with a convincing 1–12 to 0–4 win over Naomh Fionnbarra.

Louth captain Kate Flood is expected to lead the Pat’s attack just day’s before her departure to Australia where she will spend the winter representing Freemantle in the Aussie Rules league. The Lordship side have been in terrific form all season and success on Sunday will go a long way to eradicate the bitter memories of last season where they lost to St. Fechins in the intermediate championship final and also to Mattock Rangers in the league decider. Their side also contains four other members of the Louth panel and have acquired a winning mindset.

Their opponents Roche have been the story of the season. They have struggled for form and results in recent years but the appointment of Micheal Heaney has seen a remarkable upturn in their fortunes, and have emerged as a strong force of youth and experience and are keen to bring a helping of success to the Faughart parish.

They reached the senior Championship semi final for the first time in nine years and have been hugely impressive in their league campaign. The ex Louth U21 manager has assembled a talented team in which the younger members have excelled. Abbi Keenan and Shona Halligan have been standout performer’s on the Louth U16 team who won this year’s All Ireland title while midfielder Louise Byrne is another exciting youngster to emerge under Heaney’s guidance. Caroline O’Neill, Tracy Rogers and Niamh Callan provide considerable know-how and experience.

While St. Patrick’s will start most people’s fancy,  Roche look capable of causing an upset in what should make for a cracking clash

Preview by Dermot Woods