FOOTBALL Previews: Munster & Leinster silverware on offer as TG4 All-Ireland Championships begin
Compiled by Jackie Cahill (Leinster SFC Final preview by Aisling Clery, Leinster LGFA PRO) (Niamh Collins of Dublin, left, and Meath goalkeeper Monica McGuirk during the TG4 Leinster LGFA Senior Championship Captain’s Evening 2022 at Johnstown Estate Hotel in Meath. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile)
THE final pieces of silverware in the 2022 TG4 Provincial Championships will be handed out on Saturday – before attention switches on Sunday to the start of the TG4 All-Ireland Championships.
There’s a real derby feel to the Senior Finals in Munster and Leinster, as Cork take on Kerry in the Southern showpiece at Fitzgerald Stadium (12.15pm), while Dublin and Meath clash at Croke Park in the Eastern decider (Live on TG4, 2.30pm).
On Sunday, there are five fixtures at Intermediate level as the 2022 TG4 All-Ireland Championships get underway.
All five games are available to view by subscribing to the LGFA’s live-streaming service: https://page.inplayer.com/lgfaseason2022/
Saturday May 28
TG4 Munster SFC Final
Cork v Kerry; Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney, 12.15pm
Cork are the holders from 2019 and looking to get their hands on silverware again.
Standing in their way are a formidable Kerry outfit, however, with the Kingdom still on a high following their recent Lidl National League Division 2 Final win.
Kerry followed that up by defeating Tipperary in the TG4 Munster semi-final, as Cork got the better of Waterford in the other last-four clash.
Cork and Kerry last met in a provincial senior final in 2018, when the Leesiders ran out 5-13 to 2-10 winners.
When the counties met in the Munster championship a year later, Cork were even more comfortable winners but the gap between the counties appears to have closed and the Kingdom will quietly fancy their chances.
In November 2020, Cork and Kerry met in the group stages of the TG4 All-Ireland Championship, and Cork had just three points to spare on that occasion.
Both sides will operate in Division 1 of the Lidl National League next season following Kerry’s promotion – but it’s all about the Championship on Saturday.
The winners of this tie will join Donegal and Waterford in Group D of the All-Ireland Championship, with the runners-up pitted with Galway and Westmeath in Group C.
Cork (v Kerry): M O’Sullivan; R Phelan, E Meaney, S Leahy; M Duggan, M O’Callaghan (capt.), L O’Mahony; A Hutchings, S Kelly; E Cleary, C O’Sullivan, L Coppinger; Á O’Sullivan, D O’Sullivan, O Finn.
Kerry (v Cork): C Butler; C O’Brien, K Cronin, E Lynch; A O’Connell, E Costello, C Murphy; A Galvin (capt.), C Lynch; D O’Leary, N Carmody, L Scanlon; N Ni Chonchúir, E McGlynn, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh.
TG4 Leinster SFC Final
Dublin v Meath; Croke Park, 2.30pm – Live on TG4
History will be made on Saturday afternoon as the TG4 Leinster Ladies SFC Final throws in at 2.30pm, before the Leinster GAA SFC Final at Croke Park.
After three round robin games, Dublin will face Meath in the decider, their third meeting already this year, and this one is set for the TG4 live coverage.
The Mary Ramsbottom Memorial Cup is the only trophy yet to be won by Eamonn Murray’s Meath, who are the current TG4 All-Ireland Senior champions and Lidl National League Division 1 holders.
However, standing in their way are Dublin, formidable opposition and they will be keen to maintain their grip on the Leinster trophy for a ninth successive season.
Dublin manager Mick Bohan makes three changes to the side defeated by Meath at Parnell Park three weeks ago, with Ciara Trant, Aoife Kane and Hannah Tyrrell returning to the starting line-up in place of Abby Shiels, Ellen Gribben and Nicole Owens.
Royals boss Murray makes five changes to the side that defeated Westmeath last time out, with captain Shauna Ennis, Mary Kate Lynch, Emma Duggan, Aoibheann Leahy and Niamh O’Sullivan all returning to the starting 15.
The sides’ last provincial final clash was all the way back in 2013, when Dublin were convincing 3-14 to 0-9 winners. There can be no doubt that Saturday’s decider will be a lot closer.
In their two previous contests this season, there has only been the minimum separating the sides. In early March, a bumper crowd saw a late Hannah Tyrrell free secure the spoils in their 1-9 to 1-8 National League win, while an Emma Duggan special was the difference as Meath defeated the Sky Blues in Parnell Park by 1-8 to 0-10 in the Leinster Championship.
There is perhaps no greater current rivalry than the one that exists between Dublin and Meath, and we look forward to adding another chapter to this incredible tale on Saturday afternoon.
Dublin (v Meath): C Trant; J Tobin, L Caffrey, M Byrne; A Kane, S Goldrick, O Nolan; J Dunne, K McDaid; K Sullivan, C O’Connor, S Wylde; L Davey, H Tyrrell, N Hetherton.
Meath (v Dublin): M McGuirk; S Ennis (capt.), M.K. Lynch, O Duff; N Gallogly, E Troy, A Cleary; M O’Shaughnessy, O Lally; M Thynne, E Duggan, A Leahy; V Wall, S Grimes, N O’Sullivan.
Sunday May 29
TG4 All-Ireland IFC Round 1
Wexford v Offaly; Bellefield, Enniscorthy, 2pm
Wexford will look to shrug off their TG4 Leinster Final loss to Kildare as they commence the group stages of the All-Ireland series.
Wexford went all the way to an All-Ireland Final last year, losing out to Westmeath, and they’ll hope to repeat that feat and potentially go one better.
But the 2022 Intermediate Championship is hugely competitive again and there will be plenty of plot twists along the way.
Offaly already have silverware in the bank after landing the Lidl National League Division 4 title – and they’ll look to continue their encouraging recent progress.
Wexford (v Offaly): S Merrigan; S Harding Kenny, S Murphy, A Walsh; O Kehoe, R Murphy (capt.), C Donnelly; B Breen, C Banville; S Hamilton, T Doyle, E O’Brien; A Wilson, A Murphy, A Cullen.
Offaly (v Wexford): T Roe; O Whelan, B Bryant, N Buckley; M Mann, E Maher, A Kehoe; R Ennis (capt.), A Gavin Mangan; C Walsh, E Hand, M Byrne; M Daly, E McEvoy, R Mealiff.
Leitrim v Wicklow; Allen Gaels, Drumshanbo, 2pm
Leitrim are in good shape after landing the TG4 Connacht Intermediate title recently.
Leitrim defeated Roscommon to land the Western crown and now all thoughts switch to the All-Ireland series.
Leitrim are a team with plenty of talent and on Sunday they pit their wits against Wicklow, the 2021 All-Ireland Junior champions.
Consolidating their Intermediate status will be the primary goal for Wicklow following promotion – and they’ll hope for a positive result on their travels.
Leitrim (v Wicklow): M Monaghan; E Quinn, A Cornyn, S McCartan; C Tyrrell, C Owens (capt.), C Le Guen; M McGovern, N Tighe; L O’Dowd, M Guckian, E Bruen; R McHugh, L Fox, S Quinn.
Wicklow (v Leitrim): J Kinch; J Byrne, S Hogan, L Dunne; S Goetelen, SJ Winders (capt.), H Dowling; N McGettigan, S Delahunt; N Cullen, A Gorman, M Deeney; S Adams, L Hogan, M Kealy.
Down v Clare; Páirc Esler, 3.30pm
Down will look to bounce back quickly from their Ulster Final loss against Tyrone as they look forward to the All-Ireland series.
They pit their wits against a Clare side who warmed up for the national competition by lining out in the Connacht Intermediate Championship.
These are two sides that, on their day, have the potential to trouble any team in this grade.
In a group that also contains Louth, getting off to a good start will be crucial for both counties, and Down will hope to make home advantage count.
Down (v Clare): C Kennedy; A Mooney, K White, O Kelly; A McAlea, C McArdle, N McKibben; M Doherty (capt.), O Lavery; C Caldwell, J Foy, A Keown; O Swail, N Ferris, A Greene.
Clare (v Down): M Glynn; R Doohan, T Kelly, G Harvey; S Ní Chonaill, L Ryan, O Devitt (capt.); A Reidy, S Considine; A Sexton, L Roche, C Moloney; G Nolan, F Marrinan, C Callinan.
Kildare v Longford; St Conleth’s Park, Newbridge, 2pm
Kildare were recently crowned TG4 Leinster Intermediate champions and that taste of silverware could be huge psychologically for the Lilywhites, who have been around the business end of various competitions in recent times.
A Leinster derby should have plenty of spice and Longford can be dangerous opposition for any team, as they showed last year by shocking Westmeath, the eventual All-Ireland champions, in the All-Ireland series.
Roscommon are also in this group and both Kildare and Longford will feel the need to get their campaign up and running with a victory.
In three-team groups, any slip-up can prove fatal, and the stakes will be high in Newbridge.
Kildare (v Longford): D McGinn; C Nugent, L Lenehan, R Cribbin; M Doherty, L Gilbert, L Murtagh; G Clifford (capt.), H McLoughlin; C Wheeler, A Rattigan, C Sullivan; N Dooley, O Sullivan, L Curran.
Longford (v Kildare): R Jones; S McCormack, E O’Brien, M Noonan; C Farrell (capt.), L Keegan, C Crawford; M Victory, M Reynolds; A Cosgrove, C Lohan, E Heaney; M Farrell, S Shannon, L Monaghan.
Sligo v Laois; Eastern Harps, 2pm
Sligo and Laois find themselves in a group that also contains Tyrone, one of the favourites to land the TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate crown.
The presence of the Red Hands in Group D heightens the need for victory as Sligo welcome Laois to Eastern Harps on Sunday.
Laois lost out after extra-time to Wexford in a thrilling Leinster semi-final, as Sligo struggled in the Connacht Intermediate championship.
But home advantage should be an advantage to Sligo as the look to recapture the form of previous seasons, when they were regularly at the business end of the All-Ireland series.
Sligo (v Laois): L Gaughan; M McNamara, A Egan, C Dunne; L Powell, N Brennan, L Casey; S Reynolds (capt.), S Cunney; A Haran, E McGuire, R Molloy; L Duffy, K Walsh, D McGrath.
Laois (v Sligo): E Barry; A Potts, A Donoher, A Kelly (capt.); R Williams, E Healy, J Dunne; A Healy, J Moore; E Galvin, S Havill, E Fitzpatrick; M Nerney, E Lawlor, S.A. Fitzgerald.