'If you said five years ago the ladies football semi-finals would be at Croke Park it would have been unthinkable'

'If you said five years ago the ladies football semi-finals would be at Croke Park it would have been unthinkable'
Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

THE last time these two sides met she could only watch on from the sidelines.

This Sunday though, Doireann O'Sullivan will get to lead the Cork ladies footballers out at Croke Park as they take on Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final, 3.45pm.

When the Rebels faced the Dubs in the league semi-final in April O'Sullivan was out with a back injury. It took a bit longer than expected for her to return and it was especially disappointing after taking over the captaincy this season.

However, since her return, the Mourneabbey club woman has shown her class and as she goes into this game fresh and rearing to go.

Games between Cork and Dublin have served up some classics in recent years and Sunday will be the same. The league semi-final went to extra-time before the Rebels won by a point and went on to beat Galway in the final.

"It's a huge occasion and we are really looking forward to it and it doesn't get much bigger than playing the Dubs at Croke Park. We know what they are going to bring to the game.

“I suppose we have built up a fierce rivalry over the last 10 years or so and we are very familiar with each other. It should be a very competitive and aggressive game.

“It's never fun spectating like I had to for the league semi-final, at least when you are on the pitch you hope to have a say and a bit more control of the game and try to help get the result you want.

“That game had everything – aggression, speed, intensity – and two teams just really going at it. We got them right that day and hopefully, we will get the match-ups right again on Sunday and get over the line."

They are delighted the games are at Croke Park, with Mayo versus Galway first up.

"If you said five years ago that they semi-finals would be there it would have been unheard of. But it shows the way the ladies game is going and it's really special to be playing there on Sunday.

“It's a huge honour for me to lead the team out, when you look around at the calibre of players in the squad in some ways it seems farcical to me that I am leading them out. I have been on the panel for about eight years now and I am looking forward to Sunday and hopefully, we get the result we want.”

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