Éire Óg bid to dethrone Mourneabbey but champs have been in deadly form

Rory Noonan previews the four county finals and a relegation playoff taking place this weekend
Éire Óg bid to dethrone Mourneabbey but champs have been in deadly form

Kathryn Coakley, Marie O'Callaghan and Emma Coakley, Mourneabbey, swarm Emma Cleary, Éire Óg. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

IT'S a feast of top-class ladies football at MTU over the weekend.

No less than five games take place between tomorrow and Sunday, with four county titles at stake, as two others battle it out to avoid relegation.

First into action will be O'Donovan Rossa and Naomh Abán in the JAFC decider at noon and picking a winner between these two is virtually impossible. Rossa had a comprehensive win in their last outing and will probably start as slight favourites, but they won't be taking the challenge of Naomh Abán lightly.

They will look to the likes of Éabha and Kate O'Donovan, along with Lisa Harte, Laura O'Mahony and Sarah Hurley, who scored 6-17 between them in their last outing.

The intermediate final between Castlehaven and Glanmire has the potential to be a cracker. Great credit must go to the Haven as this is their first year at intermediate, having won the junior title in a free shoot-out last season.

Glanmire lost out to Clonakilty in the intermediate final two years ago and Valleys last year and will be determined to make up for those losses. They were considered favourites for the title in their clash with Clon, but on the day they were beaten by the better side.

They played at senior level in the league and reached that final so those games have stood to them in the championship.

They have come improved again this year and the likes of Ava Fitzgerald, Evie Twomey, Lucy Greene, Clodagh O'Donovan, and their senior Cork star, Abbie O'Mahony to try guide them to glory.

The Haven will take great confidence from their win over Clonakilty in the West Cork championship and have plenty of talented players in their squad.

They will look to the likes of Mairead O'Driscoll, Hannah Sheehy, Gráinne O'Sullivan, Rachel Whelton, Niamh O'Sullivan, and Siobhán Courtney to make it two championship titles in a row.

For the senior final there is a touch of back to the future about it as Mourneabbey and Éire Óg clash in the final for the second year in a row. Last year it created its own bit of history at it was the first women's ladies football club game played at the new Páirc Ui Chaoimh.

Mourneabbey took to the title as they were back on top of Cork football having lost the decider to West Cork a year earlier. They went on to retain their Munster title before losing out in the All-Ireland final, on a day that didn't go their way.

They have an incredible record in the Cork championship in recent years and have raised the cup seven out of the last eight years. From the start last year they showed a determination to win back their title and on the night they were too strong for the Ovens side.

This season they had a poor league run but in the championship, it was a different matter. They were back to their ruthless best with the likes of Doireann and Ciara O'Sullivan, Eimear Meaney, Laura Fitzgerald, and Maire O'Callaghan leading by example.

Add in plenty of others like Meabh O'Sullivan, Ellie Jack, and Brid O'Sullivan to name a few and they brushed most teams aside on their way back to the decider.

 Brid O'Sullivan, Mourneabbey, lifts the cup. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Brid O'Sullivan, Mourneabbey, lifts the cup. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

They did lose their group game to Éire Óg but the Ovens side won't read anything into that as none of the above played that day.

Éire Óg for their part will have learned a lot from last year and from Lisa Crowley in goal, to Orlaith Cahalane at corner-forward they have quality all over the pitch. Sadbh McGoldrick, Meabh Cahalane and Eimear Scally are all top-class players and this is going to be a battle from start to finish with little or nothing between the sides.

Sunday sees Clon taking on Fermoy in the Senior B final and a win would round off what would be a very successful season for either side, both of whom have played some good football this year.

Before them, it's the battle of the Rovers – Valley and Inch – in the relegation play-off.

FIXTURES (MTU)

TOMORROW

Ladies football JAFC final: O'Donovan Rossa v Naomh Abán, 12pm.

Ladies football IFC final: Castlehaven v Glanmire, 2pm.

Ladies football SFC final: Mourneabbey v Éire Óg, 4pm.

SUNDAY

Ladies football Senor B FC final: Clonakilty v Fermoy, 2pm.

Ladies football relegation play-off: Valley Rovers v Inch Rovers, 12pm.

 

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