LADIES FOOTBALL: Weekend Previews – 2 from Antrim, Wicklow, Limerick & Fermanagh for TG4 All-Ireland Junior Final slots

LADIES FOOTBALL: Weekend Previews – 2 from Antrim, Wicklow, Limerick & Fermanagh for TG4 All-Ireland Junior Final slots

Compiled by Jackie Cahill

THE first 2020 TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Finalists will be revealed on Sunday.  

Antrim, Wicklow, Fermanagh and Limerick are battling it out for the right to appear in the Parnell Park Junior decider on December 5.  

At the home of Donaghmore/Ashbourne in county Meath, Antrim will play Wicklow, while Fermanagh and Limerick will lock horns in Kinnegad.  

Both games throw-in at 1pm – and both will be live and free to view on the LGFA Facebook Page.

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Sunday November 22 – Both games at 1pm  

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TG4 All-Ireland Junior Championship semi-finals  

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Antrim v Wicklow – Donaghmore/Ashbourne – Live on LGFA Facebook  

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ANTRIM are back in another semi-final – having lost out at the penultimate stage of the 2019 competition against eventual winners Louth.  

The Saffrons finished second in Group B behind table-toppers Limerick – but they defeated Derry to edge into the last four.  

One of Antrim’s key players, Saoirse Tennyson, suffered cruciate knee ligament damage in last year’s semi-final but she’s back to full fitness and playing a big role this season.  

Áine Tubridy is leading by example in the captain’s role at midfield, while Meabh McCurdy, Cathy Carey and Aoife Taggart have been Antrim’s main scoring threats in Championship 2020. 

McCurdy has contributed 2-1 thus far, with Carey chipping in with 1-3, and Taggart adding 0-6.  

Antrim will need their shooting boots on to compete with a Wicklow side that will start as favourites.  

Meadhbh Deeney has been a stand-out performer for the Garden County en route to the semi-finals, collecting 2-10 over the course of two games with Carlow and Fermanagh in the group stages.  

Wicklow won both of those to ease into the semi-finals – and they’ll now aim to repeat their 2011 All-Ireland Junior Championship win.  

Former Kildare boss Mark Murnaghan is guiding the fortunes of Wicklow now and they appear to be a team on a mission to regain Intermediate status, following relegation last year.  

Antrim, Junior Champions in 2009 and 2012 are aiming to get back to a first West County Hotel decider since 2016, when they lost out to Longford.  

Antrim: A McCann; N McIntosh, O Corr, N Webb; N Enright, S Tennyson, D Connolly; C Brown, Á Tubridy (capt); G McLoughlin, C Carey, A Taggart; E Morgan, M McCurdy, A McFarlane.   

Wicklow: L Dempsey; E Mulhall, S.J. Winders, L Dunne; A Conroy, S Hogan, J Nolan Byrne; A Gorman, J Kinch; L Ahern, L Hogan (capt), S Miley; C Fox, M Deeney, M Kealy.  

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Fermanagh v Limerick – Kinnegad – Live on LGFA Facebook 

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TWO counties with recent TG4 All-Ireland Junior Final experience meet for a place in the December 5 showpiece.  

Limerick were champions in 2018 – while Fermanagh lost out to Louth in last year’s Final.  

Opportunity knocks again for both sides and this has the makings of a close encounter in Kinnegad.  

Limerick won both of their group matches against Antrim and Derry – but they were a Division 4 outfit this year, while Fermanagh won the divisional crown last year (beating Limerick narrowly at the semi-final stage) to make the step up to the third tier.  

Fermanagh had to rely on victory over Carlow to secure a place in the last four, however, after losing out to Wicklow.  

That recent form-guide suggests that there will be little to separate two teams capable of scoring heavily.  

Cathy Mee, Limerick’s captain in 2018 when they were crowned junior champions, has been a revelation at centre forward, having moved there from midfield.  

Mee has collected 3-7 in two Championship games to date and her direct running will prove problematic for the Fermanagh rearguard.  

Amy Ryan (2-2) is another key Limerick forward, while Fermanagh will look to the brilliance of Eimear Smyth in their quest for a Final slot.  

Smyth’s collected 3-7 in the Championship to date and the 2019 TG4 Junior Players’ Player of the Year will be hungry for more.  

Bláithín Bogue (1-3) and former skipper Joanne Doonan (0-1) are Fermanagh’s other scorers to date in 2020 Championship fare – and it may take others to step up to the plate if the Erne County are to get the job done. 

Aisling Maguire captains Fermanagh on the day, with 2020 skipper Courtney Murphy, who’s been struggling with injury, included among the subs.  

Fermanagh: S Murphy; S McQuade, E Murphy, M McGloin; M Flynn, S.J. Jones, S McCarville; R O’Reilly, A Flanagan; S McCausland, R McDonald, A Maguire (capt); J Doonan, E Smyth, A O’Brien.  

Limerick: S Hennessey; C Walsh, M McCarthy, R Daly; M MacNamara, N McCarthy (capt), R O’Malley; C Hickey, R Ambrose; Á Cunningham, C Mee, K Heelan; A O’Sullivan, A Ryan, L Coughlan.

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