TWO mouth-watering senior championship semi-finals to look forward to in Ovens on Sunday when both games should go to the wire.
St Finbarr’s, as a club, hold massive momentum, Seandún are the holders, Sars are back in the semi-final after their seven-point defeat at the same stage last year, despite a plethora of absentees, while Inniscarra are the queens of reaching finals.
First up its Sarsfield’s v Inniscarra.
Both sides have key forwards, and the mindset of both managers will be to manage them, similar to what we’ll see in the second semi.
Inniscarra had the toughest of the groups in this championship; they were drawn with Glen Rovers, Killeagh, and Courcey Rovers but they topped it with two wins and a draw scoring 4-38 and conceding 4-30.
Sars had an easier group, topping it with four wins from four, scoring 10-57, conceding 5-29.
Does this statistic matter?
I don’t think so. Inniscarra got a hell of a fright from Cloughduv in their quarter- final, three added-time points securing their victory, with Cloughduv having missed opportunities.
Sars had an excellent win over a fancied Courcey Rovers side in their knockout game and come into this game with massive impetus.
Sars showed a desire to pull that game back in the second half that I haven’t seen from them recently. Inniscarra bring an intensity to every game, never easily beaten and are physically very strong.
Sars are young and need to try and avoid condensed battles and rely on space and speed to pull away. Molly Lynch in goal, Cliona Lynch, Lucy Allen, and Ella Woods will take watching while the strong work rate of Joanne Casey, her runs up the flank, her speed and scoring is Inniscarra’s jewel in the crown up front alongside the ever dependable on the big day, Aileen Sheehan.
Rena Buckley will be the master of ceremonies at the back with Ciara Ring, Aoife Kavanagh, and Erin Looney.
It’ll take a mighty hour’s effort from both sides.
The concern for Seandún in the second semi-final is the heavy toll on the legs of the Blackrock and Na Piarsaigh players, who face each other in what is expected to be a tough intermediate championship semi-final.
Fifteen players are involved here. St Finbarr’s, on the other hand, have a clear run in with the ladies’ football county championships reaching their conclusion last weekend.
It’s unfair and a replica of what occurred in 2021 and the same thing will happen for the final if Seandún get through. The intermediate final is scheduled for October 22 with the senior decider the following day.
This could be worked better. It shows a disregard for the divisions.
The players involved will have to try and recover as best they can if they hope to hold on to their title against a Barrs side who have, because of the fixture schedule, a better than 50% chance of winning.
This game has the potential to be a thriller. Both sides have star-studded forward lines with St Finbarr’s having the slightly stronger defence on paper, taking inter-county activity into account.
How they line out will be crucial.
The Barrs will try and create lots of space from the opposition’s 45 inside to capitalise on the speed of Orlaith Cahalane and Nicole Olden; they have Keeva McCarthy and Sorcha McCartan playing deep around the middle, both physically strong players and capable of scoring from distance.
Add in Hannah O’Leary and a defence of Ciara Golden, Maeve Cahalane, Grainne Cahalane, Aisling Egan, and Aoife O’Neill, and it shows the strength in depth they have.
The fact that Ella Wigginton-Barrett didn’t feature in their semi-final speaks volumes.
On the other side, Amy O’Connor, Lauren Homan, Sinead Mills, Hayley Ryan, Katelyn Hickey from midfield up with Amy Lee, Niamh O’Leary, Roisin de Faoite, and Susan Kate Brosnan showing there is experience on the defensive side for Seandún also.
Expect the middle third to be busy as both sides vie for space. Tactics will count for a lot here.
There will be replays in the event of draws.