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PREVIEW: Cork ladies must beat Monaghan to keep league title defence alive

March 4th, 2016 4:12 PM

By Southern Star Team

Cork won their last home league match, against Tyrone in Mallow.

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Saturday, March 5th 

Lidl NFL Division 1

Cork v Monaghan

Mourneabbey GAA, 7.30pm 

Cork and Monaghan have been two of the very best counties in the ladies football roster for the past few years but both now find themselves languishing towards the bottom of the Lidl National Football League Division 1 table.

They meet this Saturday evening in a play-off eliminator as the loser will effectively lose hope of reaching the semi-finals of the competition.

For Cork there have been signs that they are starting to settle into life under Eamonn Ryan, they pushed Dublin all the way in their last match and will have been disappointed not to come away with the points. Orla Finn has been establishing herself as an excellent free taker and they will be boosted by the return to action of ten-time All-Ireland winner Bríd Stack.

Monaghan have had a struggle as they have claimed only one victory to date which came last time out against Tyrone. The emergence of Eimear McAnespie has been a bright point as has been the return to form of Therese Scott following a long absence.

Monaghan are without some very well known names this season and are planning for the future but they will also want to show that they have not gone away.

Cork will host Monaghan on Saturday evening and they are in need of points. With some returning players and the requirement for points the Rebellettes will not lack for motivation and will prove a very difficult nut to crack for their visitors.

 

Sunday, March 5th 

Lidl NFL Division 1

Tyrone v Dublin

Drumragh, 2pm 

Tyrone welcome to Dublin in a match where they will have nothing to lose. Tyrone sit rooted to the bottom of the table with the lowest scoring rate and the highest concession rate in the division. They welcome a Dublin side that are second in the table and are coming off a morale boosting victory against the defending champions.

Killyclogher will be the venue for what would be the biggest upset in the league to date if Tyrone were to record a home victory. The hosts will have nothing to lose in a match that they will be expected to lose.

Dublin have been impressive to date in their Lidl NFL campaign, they have won all but one match and that was a narrow loss away to table toppers, Mayo. Gregory McGonigle has real depth available in his squad as players like Amy Ring have made a huge difference as she struck for a decisive goal against Cork last time out. Lyndsey Davey is their talisman and has been in sparkling form with Noelle Healy performing excellently in the middle of the field.

 

Kerry v Mayo

Fitzgerald Stadium, 2pm

Kerry had a big win over Galway last weekend and they will hope to repeat that trick against Connacht opposition when they welcome pace setters Mayo to the Kingdom.

Kerry have had a mixed campaign to date as they have had highs like defeating Cork and Galway but have also been well beaten by Dublin and Armagh. They have been flawless at home and will hope to continue that form this weekend against this unbeaten Mayo side. Louise Ní Muircheartaigh has been injured for the last few matches and in her absence players like Sarah Houlihan and Laura Rogers have been filling the void.

Mayo are the story of the Lidl Ladies National Football Leagues as they have a 100 per cent record including wins over the ‘big three’ in Dublin, Cork and Galway. Cora Staunton has been back to her very best as she has racked up huge scores throughout the campaign to date. Mayo are almost assured of their place in the League semi-finals but a win this weekend will secure their play off spot and allow for further experimentation ahead of their semi-final.

 

Armagh v Galway

Athletic Grounds, 2pm 

Armagh had been flying high until they made the journey West in the last round but they were brought back down to Earth by Cora Staunton and her Mayo highfliers.

Armagh have made a smooth transition to the top flight as they have already secured their Division 1 status and are now pushing for a place in the Division 1 semi-finals.

The repositioning of Fionnuala McKenna from the forwards to centre half back has given an extra creative outlet from the defence with Caroline O’Hanlon finding the form at midfield that has seen her named as Player’s Player of the Year In 2014. Aimee Mackin missed the Mayo match through injury and she is essential to Armagh’s hopes of glory.

Galway were tipped to compete at the top of the table but they have only shown that form in fits and patches as they have struggled for consistency. The loss of Tracey Leonard to a potentially serious injury has been a massive blow to Galway who must plan without their captain and chief score taker. Galway must win this weekend to put themselves in with a chance of progressing through to the semi-finals of the competition.

 

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