Wednesday 11 December 2019

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Mourneabbey in search of more All-Ireland glory

Wednesday, 20th November, 2019 4:22pm

Mourneabbey and Kilkerrin-Clonberne renew rivalry in the All-Ireland Ladies Club Senior Football Championship decider, a repeat of last year’s semi-final, which the Cork ladies won en route to their first club title.

The Galway and Connacht champions impressed in their semi-final win over Foxrock, and in the process bagged 5-12, and have in their ranks the Ward sisters, Louise and Nicola, fresh from picking up All-Star awards last week.

Olivia Divilly, Ailish Morrissey and Annette Clark are others who have impressed in their campaign to date.

Brid O’Sullivan is the Mourneabbey captain and is well aware of the task facing them: “It’s a real test as over the years there has been very little between us when we met, but look we’re back in the final and we are really looking forward to it.”

Brid was thrilled with their display in the semi-final win over Donaghmoyne. “It was exceptional really, we were behind for a good period in that game, but we battled away eventually got over the line. Hopefully we can do the same on Saturday.”

Brid

is a key player for the reigning champions as are the O’Sullivan sisters, Doireann and Ciara, Eimear Meaney and Dublin star Noelle Healy. There’s enough quality there to suggest they will be hard to beat in a game that has a 5pm throw-in at the Gaelic Grounds Limerick.

Donoughmore were once where Mourneabby are now, but they’re now playing in the junior grade and contest the All-Ireland final against CL MacHale Rovers in Duggan Park Ballinasloe on Sunday at 2pm.

With Rena Buckley still leading the challenge, they look capable of winning and ending their stint in this grade in style.

Fr O'Neills were crowned Munster champions in 2015 and now they are just 60 minutes away from adding the Intermediate title to their list.

Ironically their opponents in the Fraher Field on Sunday at 1.30pm are Waterford side Ballysaggart who themselves won the Junior Championship in 2013.

O’Neill’s, having had to endure extra-time in the quarter-final, were clinical in their dispatching of Clare champions Broadford in the semi-final and while they have to travel to the Deise county for this game, that will not faze them.

In fact it could help them focus on the task ahead, and any degree of complacency they might have will not be there now, as they are clear favourites to win.

Ballysaggart had two tough games against Causeway and Sean Treacy’s, and with home advantage, they will see this as a great opportunity to lift another Munster title.

The Bennetts are the driving force behind this team, particularly Stephen, and he gets excellent support from Ken Cashell, Michael Ryan and Chris O’Gorman.

O’Neill’s have a well balanced side with a steely resolve, a trait they displayed in the tight confines of Kilfinane, while their defence is exceptional with tight marking at all times.

Ger and Michael Mellerick, John Barry and Adrian Kenneally, and the midfield pairing of Joe Mellerick and Kevin O’Sullivan, have the capacity to dominate while up front Declan Dalton is the main threat both from play and placed balls and he has really delivered this season, especially when it mattered most.

Billy Dunne, Mark O’Keeffe, Liam O’Driscoll, and when called upon, Jason Hankard, are others with the capacity to unhinge any defence.

Finals at this time of the year can be difficult to call, but this is a very good O’Neill’s team and if they play to their potential they will win, and could do so comfortably.

The winners of this game will meet Toureen from Mayo in the All-Ireland semi-final and that should give both sides a huge incentive as a place in Croke Park gets ever nearer.

In total there's five games down for decision as the push to advance these championships gathers momentum.

In Premier 1, Bishopstown will enjoy home advantage for their clash with Blackrock with the latter fancied to progress to a clash with Glen Rovers.

A number of the Cloughduv players will have to put the disappointment of the Intermediate Final behind them for their clash with Ballinhassig, a game they might just edge.

Bride Rovers are strongly favoured to get the better of Aghabullogue, while Fermoy will be expected to win their encounter with Nemo Rangers.

It will be a surprise if Castlemartyr do not account for Kilbree in their match this weekend.

 

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