APPEARING in their first All-Ireland finals, Dublin outfit St Maurs and Cork representatives Kinsale kick-start what promises to be an exciting weekend of action across three grades when they meet in the LGFA Junior All-Ireland Club Final this Saturday at Cullen Park, Carlow, at 1pm.
After a pulsating draw with Latton at the semi-final stage, St Maurs edged past their Monaghan opponents after extra-time in an entertaining replay, and away from home for good measure.
That victory should fuel St Maurs with the belief that they can finish the job by claiming All-Ireland glory but Kinsale have real scoring power in the form of All-Star forward Orla Finn and All-Ireland minor winner Sadhbh O’Leary.
In their semi-final victory against Mayo’s Kilmoremoy, Finn helped herself to a personal haul of 1-9, including four points from frees, as O’Leary chipped in with 1-2.
Jenny Murphy at centre forward scored a goal in that game and has been showing some really consistent form in Kinsale’s march to the final, while Rebecca Murphy’s two points off the bench also proved that the Cork girls have strength in depth to call upon.
Defensively, it was an impressive effort too from Kinsale and St Maurs will have to work hard to break through a rearguard anchored by Emma O’Brien at full-back and Caoimhe O’Callaghan at centre back.
Aoife Keating and Lorraine Copithorne have forged an impressive midfield partnership and that has provided the platform for a plentiful supply of ball to a potentially lethal forward division.
But St Maurs have undoubted class in their own ranks, with Niamh Carthy and Olivia Leonard combining for 0-13 as St Maurs edged past Latton at the second attempt.
Carthy was a member of the Dublin minor panel earlier in the year, while Sinead Moran played in the All-Ireland final loss to Cork.
Leonard is well-known on the national stage, and was a member of the Dublin senior panel defeated by Cork last September at Croke Park.
Naomi Clare has worn the Dublin jersey at U16 and minor levels and Eadaoin McGuinness has also worn the Sky Blue county shirt. Plenty of class in both sides, then, and a close encounter is anticipated.