Cork ladies footballers face huge battle against Monaghan in the qualifiers

Cork ladies footballers face huge battle against Monaghan in the qualifiers
Orla Finn of Cork goes past Monaghan goalkeeper Catriona McKenna and Rachel McKenna on her way to scoring her side's first goal last season. Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

ALL-IRELAND champions Cork will face Monaghan in the qualifiers of the TG4 Senior Ladies Football Championship.

The Rebels will bid to retain the Brendan Martin Cup against the Farney side on the weekend of August 5-7 having had to go through the backdoor, with two defeats in this year's provincial championship.

For the first time since 2004, Cork won't feature in the Munster final, which will take place on Saturday in Mallow when Kerry and Waterford aim to win back the Dairygold Cup.

Speaking following last night's draw in Croke Park, former All-Ireland winner with Monaghan Niamh Kindlon still reckons Ephie Fitzgerald's side are in with a shout.

"Cork are the team that were surprisingly in the hat given that they didn't qualify for the Munster final, so everyone was dreading coming up here that they'd draw them, and it had to be us!

"But, maybe getting Cork this early in the championship isn't such a bad thing, and you never know.

"In saying that though, Cork still have that unbeaten mentality. They never panicked against Donegal in the league final despite being such a young team, so they have that quality instilled in them. They have a feel for winning too so they'll want to push on to retain the All-Ireland and prove people wrong.

"Cavan are strong and Laois have always been a good championship team, while Kildare are new to the senior championship, and Mayo were probably shellshocked that they lost to Galway by such a margin in the Connacht final, so it'll be a baptism of fire. But, they'll take it in their stride.

"You have to look at Donegal as contenders too. They got to the league final and have serious quality players. Galway are winning everything at underage and retained the senior Connacht title, and then look at Munster. Waterford are back at the top table, Kerry, so it's all to play for.

"It's the most championship, and teams are now sitting up thinking that they can win given that Cork have struggled in their last two games. But, in saying that, I don't think you can look past the two finalists of last year, Cork and Dublin."

Elsewhere in the TG4 Senior Championship qualifiers, Laois were drawn against Cavan, Mayo must take on Kildare who are newcomers to the senior scene, while Armagh will take on the losers of the Leinster final which will be decided on Sunday between Dublin and Westmeath.

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