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Previews, team news and verdicts ahead of Bord Gáis Energy Ladies National Football League finals,
Bord Gáis Energy Division 1 National League Final
4.45pm, Saturday 12th May. Parnell Park
DESPITE scoring 1-8 against Laois in last year’s decider, Cork forward Valerie Mulcahy must be content with a place on the bench for Saturday’s Bord Gáis Energy Division 1 final showdown with Monaghan.
Mulcahy is expected to feature at some point at Parnell Park, however, having come off the bench to score Cork’s third goal in their semi-final victory over Meath.
Cork have made one change in personnel from the team that started against the Royal County, with Annie Walsh replacing Laura McMahon at wing-forward.
Monaghan, appearing in a first Division 1 final since 2001, are unchanged from the team that beat Dublin in their semi-final.
Cork are chasing a seventh Division 1 title in eight seasons and if they win, the All-Ireland champions will become the first team since Kerry (1987-91) to complete five-in-a-row Division 1 crowns.
Monaghan would dearly love to stop them in their tracks in what is a repeat of last year’s TG4 All-Ireland senior final, won by Cork at Croke Park.
Cork’s starting line-up features ten survivors from the team that started last October, with Monaghan going three better.
Cork will start as favourites but can expect stiff opposition from free-scoring Monaghan, who were impressive 2-9 to 0-7 winners against Dublin in the last four.
Monaghan’s starting full-forward line – Catriona McConnell, Niamh Kindlon and Caoimhe Mohan – scored all but one point of that semi-final tally, with McConnell and Mohan bagging 1-3 apiece.
CORK: E Harte; A.M. Walsh, D O’Reilly, R Buckley; B Corkery, B Stack, G O’Flynn; J Murphy, N Kelly; A Walsh, C O’Sullivan; G Kearney, N Cleary, R Buckley.
MONAGHAN: L Martin; G McNally, S Courtney, C Reilly; L McEnaney, N Fahy, A McAnespie; A Casey, I Kierans; T McNally, C Courtney, C McAnespie; C McConnell, N Kindlon, C Mohan.
Bord Gáis Energy Division 2 National League Final
3pm Saturday 12th May, Parnell Park
CONNACHT rivals Mayo and Galway will battle it out in Saturday’s Bord Gáis Energy National League Division 2 League final for the right to play top-flight football next year – after both counties were relegated last season.
The honour of heading straight back up is the massive incentive for the winners of what should be a gripping provincial derby at Parnell Park.
Mayo are unchanged from their semi-final victory over Kerry while Galway, who needed a late Gillian Joyce goal to see off Clare, make two changes in personnel.
Charlotte Cooney and Lisa Leonard, who replaced Edel Concannon and Marie Brennan in the semi-final, both hold onto their positions at the expense of those players.
Mayo will start as red-hot favourites as they hammered Galway by 3-14 to 1-7 back in February. And while the margin won’t be as great again, Mayo are the smart choice to get the job done.
MAYO: N Tarpey; A Bell, N Tierney, L Ryder; S Tierney, C Egan, C Connolly, M Carter; C McManamon; F McHale, C Staunton, Y Byrne; T McNicholas, D Doherty, N Kelly.
GALWAY: L Murphy; M Coyne, E Curley, S Divilly; B Hannon, S Conneally, S Burke; A Daly, C Hehir; C Cooney, D Brennan, L Leonard; T Leonard, G Joyce, G Conneally.
Bord Gáis Energy Division 3 National League Final
1.15 Saturday 12th May, Parnell Park.
WESTMEATH feature nine survivors from last October’s TG4 All-Ireland intermediate final replay victory over Cavan in their starting line-up for Saturday’s Bord Gáis Energy National League Division 3 final meeting with Leitrim.
Another tight encounter is expected in the opening game of the Parnell Park triple-header, with promotion to Division 2 on offer for the winners.
When the teams met in March, Leitrim won by two points and that reverse was Westmeath’s only defeat in the entire campaign to date, as they finished on top of the table.
Westmeath blitzed Armagh with five goals in the semi-finals, and Leitrim must keep a close eye on Ciara Blundell, who scored two of them against the Orchard County.
But Westmeath, Division 4 champions in 2011, must keep a close eye on Leitrim’s star forward Áine Tighe, who scored a sensational tally of 2-9 when the Westerners beat Limerick in the 2010 Division 4 decider.
Both Leitrim and Westmeath are unchanged from their respective semi-final victories over Down and Armagh respectively.
LEITRIM: M Guckian; M Stenson, E McWeeney, S Kerrigan; K Gilgunn, S Tighe, L McWeeney; S Fowley, D Ward; N Tighe, S McManus, K Keegan; L Brennan, E Farrell, A Tighe.
WESTMEATH: C Warburton; A Martin, C Finch, A Brady; K Boyce-Jordan, J Rogers, K McDermott; M.A. Foley, R Kearney; E Finn, F Claffey, J Maher; L Walsh, K Hegarty, C Blundell.
This message has been edited - 11-may-2012 @ 21:42
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