Friday, 18 July 2014

Big weekend on the inter county scene for two underage teams.

Waterford Minor Hurling team as we all know are involved in a Munster Final Replay on Tuesday evening next when they take on Limerick in Thurles.

However, this is not the only underage team to see action this weekend.

Saturday is a big day for two of out ladies teams who are in action in Co Tipperary.

At 2-30pm the counties under 16 Camogie team will take on Tipperary at the Ragg outside Thurles in their final game of the league section of the championship.

Having already qualified for the knockout stages of the competition, the side no doubt will be letting up in this game and will want to advance to the last four of the competition with a 100% record having already beaten Cork, Antrim and Derry in the last three weeks and will not want to slip up to a Tipperary side that have failed to get anything from their games with Antrim and Cork to date, but wont want to finish the group with the wooden-spoon so will be looking for something from this weeks game or next week when they play Derry in a round where Waterford have a bye.

12 months ago the counties under 16 side reached the All-Ireland final where they lost to Cork, haven beaten them earlier in the year to win the Munster final.

What I and what many others may not have known at the time was that many of that panel were underage again this year and having retained the Munster Under 16 final, again beating Cork in Cashel many were also involved with the Minor team that won the ‘B’ All-Ireland Final earlier this year, meaning that this years side are a much more experienced outfit than they were at this point twelve months ago.

Some members of this years panel are players that we will hear a lot more about in the coming years.

There can be no disputing that the main cog in their attack is De La Salle sharp shooter Beth Carton. Over the past few weekend’s she has hit some very impressive tallies and is a player that we will have to keep an eye on in the coming years.

However, the side is by no means a one person team. Brianna O’Regan has missed the last few games that the side will play but is almost a certainty to regain the number one shirt.

Courtney Healy at centre back, the Saint Anne’s pair of Saoirse Bonner and Siebal Harney (coming from the Saint Anne’s catchment area, you have to realise that there is hurling in these names), Kate McGrath from the Brickeys, team captain Ashling Power from Cappoquin, Niamh Murphy from De La Salle, Kate McMahon from Butlerstown, Anne Corcoran from Gailltir as well as Taylor Healy from Dungarvan are all players that could well play a vital roll for Waterford.

Ensuring that they avoid defeat against Tipperary would mean that Waterford in the semi finals would get what is perceived to be the easier draw in the semi finals, but with Dublin, Down and Armagh all still in with a shout of taking top spot in group one of the competition heading into the final weekend of games in the league section, neither side will prove a push over for Waterford in the last four. The Other semi final could well see the winner of this weekend’s big group two game between Derry and Antrim in Newbridge play the second place team in group two which could require play offs to see who finish where if Down were to beat Meath this weekend and Armagh were to beat current table toppers Dublin.

However with respect to the County Under 16 Camogie team, the main game this weekend for our inter county sides is the Under 14 ‘B’ Ladies Football final between Waterford and Galway on Sunday afternoon in Nenagh. (2pm).

Should Waterford win the game, the side will create a piece of history as they will become the first side to win the competition three years in a row since the competition began back in 2008.

Mayo, Wexford, Clare and Tipperary won the competition in the first four years of its history, with Waterford winning the last two finals.

In fact, Waterford should they win could even claim to have won five All-Ireland Finals in a row, haven won the Under 14 ‘B’ Shield final back in 2011.

Waterford will go into this weekends with a good set of results at their backs.

In the round robin section of the competition wins were recorded over Clare, Limerick and Tipperary. Topping the group Waterford also go to play in the ‘A’ Championship where they took on Kerry. Defeat was Waterford’s lot but the side will have gained valuable experience playing against the top sides in the country.

In the Munster ‘B’ Final, Waterford proved too strong for Clare, winning by a single point. A win is a win, the margin is not always that important.

In the All-Ireland semi final Waterford easily accounted for Antrim which set up this weekends final.

Galway come into this weekend’s game with a mixed run of results.

The Connacht Championship was fought out by all five counties in the western province with the final positions in the table after five rounds (4 games) deciding what grade you played in.

Galway lost their first two games against Mayo and Roscommon but after a bye in round three they came back to win their last two games against Sligo and Leitrim to set up a ‘B’ Connacht Final against Leitrim which Galway won 9-16 to 3-3.

In their All-Ireland semi final Galway put 7-12 past Laois (2-4). And with Waterford also scoring big in their semi final (6-12 to 1-6), the backs on both sides this weekend could be in for a busy afternoon against what appears to be industrious forwards.

The Waterford management team are able to call on some of the players which helped Waterford to victory against Westmeath in Crettyard. Throughout the campaign they have had some quality performances from the likes of Abbie Dalton, Jessica Devereux, Abi Dunphy, Niamh Kennedy, Faye Curley, Katie Duggan-Sullivan, Kaiesha Tobin, Sarah Lacey and Muireann Boyce and will be looking for big performances from what ever fifteen is sent out to play and what subs may be used in this game.

Galway will be going into this game believing they can stop Waterford winning three in a row.  Galway coach Con Moynihan believes that his charges could just as easily be in the ‘A’ Grade instead of the ‘B’ so they will fancy their chances.

However, Waterford will have to believe they can win. A win for Waterford is possible, but it could be a closely fought thing.

Admission to the ground in Nenagh on Sunday is €10 for a double header game. Senior Citizens and Students with valid ID’s can gain admission for €5 while all under 16’s gain entry free of charge.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Waterford to set up last six pot with win over Wexford

Waterford senior hurling manager more than anyone else will be hoping that the players he have in his panel who are also part of the under 21 panel that plays Cork this evening will come through the game without picking up any injury.

I don’t think you need to be a inter county manager to feel the frustration that some are going through at this time of the year.

For all counties involved in the senior championships at this stage, the provincial competitions are over. The cushion of having a back door system to get back into contention should you loose a game is gone. Right now it is a case of win or at worst get a draw or your sides year is over for the remainder of the year.

With a number of big games coming up on the senior front, the last thing you need is distractions, by which I mean games in other competitions for some of your players where they run the risk of picking up an injury.

Like many others I feel at this time of the year the calendar is frustrating. If you are involved in a senior inter county team you are playing almost week in week out with maybe an under 21 game thrown in for good measure. A few weeks back the opposite was happening. You could have maybe five or six weeks of a break between a provincial semi final and a final which in a way is as inacceptable to some as playing week in week out.

Let’s not make the argument on fixtures a Waterford thing. So instead let’s use Wexford and Clare as an example.

In the modern era all senior sides contain a number of under 21 players. Since the start of June up to this weekend any player on the under 21 and senior panel will be involved in seven games, three under 21 games and four seniors.

On June 4 the Model County played Kilkenny in the Leinster under 21 Championship. On June 25 they played Offaly in the semi final and last weekend they beat Dublin in the Leinster Final.

At senior level Wexford lost to Dublin on June 14. On July 5 they played Clare in Ennis in the first round of the qualifiers, a game that went to extra time and a week later the two sides had to clash again at Wexford Park, a game that again went to extra time to see who would advance to this weekend’s game with Waterford. It must be remembered, that in between two 90 minute games there would have being a sixty minute under 21 game. Should Wexford beat Waterford this weekend they are out again a week later against Limerick in an All-Ireland quarter final. What that means is that in something like 54 days some Wexford players would have played eight games and have gone through a number of training sessions.

The question has to be asked does Wexford have men playing for them or robots. It could appear with the amount of games to be played in a short space of time some fixture planners must seem to think it is robots that are playing.

What about Clare? Their situation does not appear as gruelling as Wexford’s but it is tough none the same.

Like Wexford they have players in action since June 4 when they beat Limerick in the under 21 championship. On June 15 they lost to Cork in the Munster Championship and over the past two weekends they were involved in games with Wexford, both of which went to extra time, and tonight they play under 21 again when they play Tipperary.

And just to show what’s happening in Waterford, games with Cork were played on May 28 and June 8, Laois were played on June 28, Wexford must be played this Saturday evening and if Waterford were to win Limerick will be the opposition on Sunday week in the All-Ireland quarter final and there is tonight’s game with Cork in the under 21 championship. And don’t forget the amount of training sessions that would have taken place over the past few weeks either. Again, the question must be asked, especially when you hear some talk about player welfare etc. are we putting robots on the field to play games or men.

And while we have to feel for those involved in those games playing so many games in such a short period of time, spare a though a thought for the non county players who is deprived of meaningful games with a while now. But that is a story for another day.

Wexford have received great praise for their performances against Clare recently. They will go into this weekend’s game on somewhat of a high. They will be tired after two tough games with Clare recently but they will be hoping that momentum will keep them going for a while yet.

They have some good players in the likes of Lee Chin, Liam Óg McGovern, Keith Rossiter, Liam Ryan, Jack Guiney and Rory Jacob.

While they have received praise for their performances against Clare, the question has to be asked, how good Wexford really are. And maybe how good are Clare.  Last weekend for much of the second half they played with a two man advantage over Clare and could still not beat them. Ok they did in extra time when the two sides had their full quota but having played part of the first and the second half with a numerical disadvantage the Clare players that played the full 90 minutes are bound to have been tired not just after playing for the 90 minutes but also for having to make up for the decreased numbers as well.

I for one would question how good Clare are. I know they took the Liam McCarthy away from Croke Park last September and I congratulate them on doing so, but I believe that in a way Cork lost both the drawn game and the replay more than Clare won it. Yes Clare have some good young hurlers but as a team are they as good as other sides that we have seen take the Liam McCarthy home from Croke Park in recent years.

Heading into this weekends game, I believe that Waterford will win this weekend. I know that up to now maybe Waterford have not played as well as they can and as good as we have seen them play in other years, but I still think that the side should have too much for Wexford.

A good win was achieved last time out against Laois in Walsh Park. On that night as is the case with the last number of years the number of wide balls hit over the seventy plus minutes was a concern.

Throughout the year that number of goals the side have scored and more over the amount of chances created was a concern, but against Laois goals were struck. I always have the feeling that should Shane Walsh be provided with good quality ball he will cause problems and against Laois he had two flags waved. If selected this time out and he again was to be provided with quality ball, then he will punish Wexford.

Barring any player pick up an injury in the game with Cork tonight in the under 21 championship, the management team will be unlikely to make many changes to the team that beat Laois.

Stephen O’Keeffe will start between the posts. In front of him should be Liam Lawlor with possibly Shane or Darragh Fives on one side of him and Noel Connors who is reported to have recovered from the injury he picked up in the game with Cork.

It remains to be seen if Kevin Moran or Michael Walsh will start at centre back. Personally, I would have the De La Salle Club man there. Either side of him could be one of the Fives brothers and Tadhg Bourke who has proven to be one of best new comers to this years championship.

Others that could well be fighting for a place in defence will be Barry Coughlan, Jamie Nagle, Richie Foley and possibly Padraig Prendergast.

In the middle of the field, Shane O’Sullivan is almost a certainty to start and will be partnered by which ever from Kevin Moran or Michael Walsh that does not start in the centre back position.

In attack, Derek McGrath again has plenty of options available to him. Austin Gleeson, Padraic Mahony, Jake Dillon, Colin Dunford and Shane Walsh are sure to start and with Brian O’Sullivan set to miss this game again through suspension, the final place could be between Jamie Barron, Brian O’Halloran, Gavin O’Brien, Stephen Molumphy, Stephen Prendergast and Ryan Donnelly.

Of the sides that we could have got in the competition, at this stage Wexford is possibly as good as it gets. A win is a must which would have the team going into the game with Limerick the following weekend in a confident mood.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Waterford and Limerick must do it all again

How many times have we seen it? Time is ticking down and one side happens to be on their way to victory.

Twelve months ago when Waterford and Limerick played the Munster Minor Hurling Final at Limerick, Waterford appeared to be on their way to a comfortable win. But in the closing minutes, for what ever reason the Waterford team appeared to loose some of their focus and Limerick came back to earn a draw.

Last October at Walsh Park, local rivals Ballygunner and Passage were meeting in the county senior hurling final. Passage had never beaten their neighbours in a senior championship game (standing to be corrected on that) and it looked as though they would have to wait for another year at least for a first championship win as Ballygunner led by seven points with as many minutes to play.

But Passage put in a storming finish, hitting a total of ten points made up of goals and points in the closing minutes of the game to win by three.

And then last Sunday, Waterford and Limerick met in the Munster Minor final for the second year in a row, this time at Pairc Ui Chaoimh but this time the rolls were reversed. Limerick appeared to be heading for victory, but Waterford put in a storming finish to earn a replay which takes place this evening week in Thurles.

That Waterford and Limerick appeared in the Munster Minor Hurling Final in the last two years is hardly surprising.

Great work is being done in both counties and the fruits of the effort put in are being reaped.

Over the past few years both sides have dominated the Dr. Harty Cup. Coláiste na nDéise and then Dungarvan Colleges after a name change won the Dr. Harty Cup in 2012 and 2013. Ard Scoil Ris won it two years year’s prior to this and they won it again in 2014.

Dungarvan CBS reached four and won two Munster Senior B Hurling championships between 2010 and 2013. Along the way schools like Blackwater Community School, De La Salle College, St Augustine’s, St Paul’s, St Declan’s amongst others have competed well in Munster Colleges competitions and players from Waterford clubs have also found a place on college sides in Clonmel and Youghal that have also performed well in Munster Colleges competitions.

Within the county we have also seen the counties under 14 and 16 sides put together some good results in the Tony Forristal and Tipperary Supporters Club under 16 tournaments while more and more of our clubs are beginning to compete at the top level of our underage championships.

On hindsight this game had a draw written all over it. When the two counties clashed twelve months earlier at the same stage of the competition as already pointed out, the sides finished all square with Limerick winning the replay at Thurles. When the two sides met at Walsh Park in 2011 the sides finished all square before Waterford came out on top after extra time.

It was Limerick that had the best start in this game as Ronan Lynch pointed inside a minute of the game starting.

Shane Bennett would reply with a point for Waterford but Limerick would soon up their game hitting the next three scores through Peter Casey, Ronan Lynch and Barry Nash.

Peter Hogan pulled a point back for Waterford which was followed by Ronan Lynch and Patrick Curran swapping scores.

Limerick continued to mount pressure on the Waterford goal as Seamus Flanagan put his side three points in front and soon afterwards Billy Nolan who had earlier made a good save to deny Limerick again showed his ability by denying the side in green again.

Shane Bennett pulled a point back for Waterford which left two between the sides but that lead was stretched soon afterwards when Barry Nash registered the first goal of the game.

Andy Molumby and Ronan Lynch swapped points to keep Limerick five in front which was cut by one on twenty minutes when Patrick Curran put over a free.

Andy Molumby pointed to leave three between the sides but seven minutes from the break that lead was doubled when Tom Morrissey poked to the Waterford net from close range.

After this, Waterford enjoyed a bit of a purple patch, hitting five points in a row. Patrick Curran put over a brace which was followed by a brace from Aaron O’Sullivan and another by Patrick Curran to leave just one between the sides.

Ronan Lynch put two between the sides once more when he shot over a free and moments later Waterford had an opportunity to go in front for the first time when a penalty was won but Shane Bennett’s effort was saved by Colin Ryan which resulted in Limerick going to the dressing rooms with a 2-8 to 0-12 advantage.

Waterford started the second half brightly with Peter Hogan and Patrick Curran putting over points which were soon cancelled out with efforts from Ronan Lynch and Peter Casey.

Tom Morrissey landed a point for Limerick before Peter Casey struck a third Limerick goal which was followed up with another Ronan Lynch point which gave the 2013 champions a seven point advantage.

When Shane Bennett put over a point direct from a sideline cut it seemed to give Waterford renewed hope.

Although Edward Doyle and Seamus Flanagan would put over points for Limerick with Patrick Curran pointed in between it was Waterford that finished the game the stronger of the two sides.

A goal from Cormac Curran had Waterford trailing by four and that went to three when Shane Bennett now on free taking duties after Patrick Curran pointed.

 Time remained and team captain Shane Ryan was on the field only seconds after replacing Patrick Curran when he gained procession of the ball and slammed into the Limerick net at the city end of the ground.

There can be no doubting that both sides will feel that they learned from this game and will go into the game confident of a win.

While both teams are sure of at least one more game after the replay, the value of winning the replay next Tuesday night cannot be spelt out enough. The looser of that game will be out again days later when they play Dublin in the quarter finals. Last year when Waterford lost to Limerick in the replayed Munster Final they were somewhat fortunate to be paired with Antrim in the quarter finals. The Glens men on that day disappointed somewhat, but this year the looser of the replay will come up against what should be a strong Dublin side.

WATERFORD: Billy Nolan (Roanmore); David Prendergast (Lismore), MJ Sutton (Ferrybank), Michael Cronin (Ardmore); Conor Prunty (Abbeyside), Colm Roche (Shamrocks), Jack Mullaney (Stradbally); Darragh Lyons (Dungarvan), Andy Molumby (Cappoquin); Shane Bennett (Ballysaggart), Conor Gleeson (Fourmilewater), Cormac Curran (Brickeys); Aaron O’Sullivan (Cappoquin), Peter Hogan (Ballygunner), Patrick Curran (Dungarvan). Subs: Eddie Meaney (De La Salle) for Aaron O’Sullivan, Joe Allen (Dungarvan) for Andy Molumby, Shane Ryan (De La Salle) for Patrick Curran.

Scorers: Patrick Curran 0-7 (6f), Shane Bennett 0-4 (1f), Cormac Curran, Shane Ryan (1-0 each), Andy Molumby, Peter Hogan, Aaron O’Sullivan 0-2 each.

LIMERICK: Eoghan McNamara (Doon); Sean Finn (Bruff), Paddy O’Loughlin (Kilmallock), Jamie Porter (Monaleen); Lorcan Lyons (Monaleen), Colin Ryan (Pallasgreen), Andrew La Touche Cosgrave (Monaleen); Robbie Hanley (Kilmallock), Ronan Lynch (Na Piarsaigh); Seamus Flanagan (Fohenagh/Castlemahon), Barry Nash (South Liberties), Cian Lynch (Patrickswell); Conor Fitzgerald (Claughaun), Tom Morrissey (Ahane), Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh). Subs: Edward Doyle (Monaleen) for Conor Fitzgerald, Darragh Fanning (Pallasgreen) for Lorcan Lyons, Brian Ryan (South Liberties) for Robbie Hanley.

Scorers: Ronan Lynch 0-6 (2f), Peter Casey 1-2, Tom Morrissey, Barry Nash 1-1 each, Seamus Flanagan 0-2, Cian Lynch, Edward Doyle 0-1 each.

Referee: Damien Fox (Clare).

Monday, 14 July 2014

Six in a row achieved by Waterford.

What is it with the GAA and doing things in a row?

Those of you who are around my age or who are older than I am will remember the talk 32 years ago how Kerry were going to become the first team to win five All-Ireland’s in a row.

People talk of the Kerry team of the time being great, and that is what it was. Everyone around at the time recognised the likes of the late Paudie Ó Sé, Sean Walsh, the Spillane brothers (Tom and Mike played with Pat), Jack O’Shea, Mikey Sheehy, Ger Power, Denis Ógie Moran and Eoin ‘Bomber’ Liston.

But in 1982 on a famous day in Croke Park not all went to plan for Kerry as Offaly stuck a late goal to deny the Kingdom the Five in a row.

The sign of a greatness I guess is how you bounce back after such a loss and Kerry came back winning three of the next four All-Ireland finals.

You don’t have to be as old as me to remember and be in awe of a great Kilkenny hurling team who in 2010 were going for five All-Ireland’s in a row. But just as Kerry almost three decades earlier they were denied. But how did they come back? Do I need to remind anyone that the likes of Henry Shefflin and Tommy Walsh have added to their medal collection?

And in even more recent times there was talk of another five in a row at Croke Park. This time it did not involve Kerry or Kilkenny. It did not involve hurling or football. Unless you spent the last while living on the moon you will know that American Singer Garth Brooks has been denied performing to a packed house five nights in a row. In a country that is supposed to be trying to get back on its knees after a number of years on the ground, I wonder how much of a mistake will it prove not to allow the five night time concerts to go ahead.

Over the past weekend, there was another ‘in a row’. There was no time of five in a row, as that had been done, this time it was of a six in a row. The team doing the six in a row was the Waterford Intermediate Ladies Football Team who beat Limerick at Rathmore.

Six Munster Finals in a row in any sport may seem special, but it is not to Waterford as it is something that they have done already. Not only has Waterford done six in a row in the past, they have bettered it when the great Waterford Senior Ladies Football team of the 90’s containing the likes of The O’Ryan sisters Martina and Geraldine, Áine Wall, Marie Crotty, Claire Ryan, Annalisa Crotty, Olivia Condon, Noreen Walsh, Sarah Hickey etc. put together seven provincial in a row from 1994 to 2000 inclusive.

Will Waterford equal that fete next year, well if they do it will mean one of two things. The first is that the side will have lost out on winning an All-Ireland later this year, or else it will mean that the seven in a row was achieved in two different grades.

I have no doubt that if Waterford were to win seven intermediate finals in a row, the players and none more so than those that would be involved in all seven would be very happy to have seven Munster Medals in their collection, but I am sure that all would prefer to have six (or less for some players) and one All-Ireland medals in their collection of honours won.

So to Saturday’s game.

Going into the game most of us were optimistic that Waterford would make it six in a row, but most of us were expecting the final outcome to be much closer on the score board than the game finished.

When the sides had previously clashed, goals proved to be the difference between the sides. Hannah Landers and Linda Wall both had a green flag waved in that game, while at the other end of the field, Aimee Jordan and Karen McGrath did brilliantly to deny Limerick two or three chances of having a green flag waved.

Seven points separated the sides in the first meeting of the two sides and this time around things were expected to prove to be even tighter.

Waterford had a tonic start to the game on Saturday as with four minutes on the clock, they held a three point lead after the impressive Michelle Ryan put over the first two of her nine points in this game and Hannah Landers put over one.

Limerick however came storming back and in no time the sides were level. A long ball was played through the Waterford defence which Megan Kelleher latched onto and Aimee Jordan was given no chance by the Knockainey Club player.

It was now Waterford’s turn to hit back and what a response to the Limerick goal Pat O’Brien’s charges made.

Mairead Wall pointed for Waterford six minutes and from there on in, it was Waterford all the way.

Liz Devine who is having a brilliant debut season with Waterford put over her first of the game. Elaine Power who was magnificent in this game put over her first of the game and points from Aileen Wall and Michelle Ryan soon followed which gave Waterford a 0-8 to 1-0 lead with just ten minutes played.

Even with a five point cushion on the score board, Waterford refused to ease up and to conserve some energy. Hannah Landers, Linda Wall Michelle Ryan who captained Waterford to their first provincial title at this level back in 2009 with a brace and Liz Devine all landed further scores for Waterford.

Michelle Ryan landed two more points for Waterford to bring to fifteen their tally for the first half, but in the closing minutes of the half Limerick came more into the game as Marie Curtin with a brace, Niamh Richardson and Dymphna O’Brien all kicked scores but they were not enough to stop Waterford going in at the break with an impressive 0-15 to 1-4 lead.

Limerick needed a good start to the second half and got it when former soccer player Marie Curtin who played in Norway with the past few season’s kicked an early point, but it was soon to be cancelled out by the impressive Elaine Power who would collect the player of the match at the end of the game.

Waterford went further in front on thirty-eight minutes when they struck for their seventh goal of this year’s championship. Róisín Tobin played a key role in the goal picking out Hannah Landers and the brilliant Ballyduff Upper club player showed why she is rated to highly as she put the ball past Kristina Hennessy.

The goal ended the game as a contest, but Waterford still continued to boss the game even if they did ease up some what.

The Ballymacarbry pair Michelle Ryan and Linda Wall shared the next three scores for Waterford, all points before Elaine Power slammed a second Waterford goal in the game.

Limerick did strike some late scores in the second half. Marie Curtin hit five points in the second thirty minutes while Claire O’Riordan and Stephanie Carroll also registered scores.

With just one game now to be played in the provincial series, that being the Leinster Final between Longford and Offaly, the All-Ireland series will now kick in.

Wicklow will play last year’s beaten finalists Tipperary in the first round of the qualifiers, while Antrim, Roscommon and London have received byes to round two where they will be joined by the winner of the first round game, the looser of the Leinster Final as well as Limerick, Sligo and Fermanagh who were beaten in the Munster, Connacht and Ulster finals.

Waterford, Leitrim, Down and the Winner of the Leinster finals will enter the All-Ireland series at the quarter final stages of the competition on August 16 or 23 where they will play the round two winners.

Waterford: Aimee Jordan; Nora Dunphy, Gráinne Enright, Mary Foley; Louise Ryan, Karen McGrath, Róisín Tobin; Michelle McGrath, Elaine Power; Linda Wall, Mairead Wall, Aileen Wall; Hannah Landers, Michelle Ryan, Liz Devine. Subs: Shauna Dunphy for Hannah Landers, Margaret Revins for Aileen Wall, Grainne Kenneally for Róisín Tobin, Megan O’Connor for Michelle McGrath, Caoimhe McGrath for Liz Devine.

Scorers: Michelle Ryan 0-9 (1 free), Elaine Power 1-3, Hannah Landers 1-2, Linda Wall, Liz Devine 0-2 each, Mairead Wall, Aileen Wall 0-1 each.

Limerick: Kristina Hennessy; Alva Neary, Janet Garvey, Siobhan Moloney; Vicky McMahon, Leanne Garvey, Aoife Meaney; Kathryn Fahy, Niamh Richardson; Michelle Norris, Megan Kelleher, Megan O’Shea; Dympna O’Brien, Marie Curtin, Claire O’Riordan. Subs: Cloda Kirby for Siobhan Moloney, Stephanie Carroll for Leanne Garvey.

Scorers: Marie Curtin 0-7 (4 frees), Megan Kelleher 1-0, Dymphna O’Brien, Niamh Richardson, Claire O’Riordan, Stephanie Carroll 0-1 each.

Referee: Seamus Mulvhill (Kerry)

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Waterford and Limerick name teams for Munster Final

Waterford & Limerick have named their teams for Saturday’s Munster Intermediate Ladies Football Final in Rathmore Co. Kerry at 1.30pm
1. Aimee Jordan             (Abbeyside)
2. Nora Dunphy             (Comeragh Rangers)
3. Grainne Enright         (Abbeyside)
4. Mary Foley                 (Abbeyside)
5. Louise Ryan               (Ballymacarbry)
6. Karen McGrath          (Ballymacarbry)
7. Roisin Tobin              (Abbeyside)
8. Shona Curran             (St Pats)
9. Elaine Power             (Tramore)
10. Linda Wall              (Ballymacarbry)
11. Mairead Wall          (Ballymacarbry)
12. Aileen Wall             (Ballymacarbry)
13. Hannah Landers      (Ballyduff Upper)
14. Michelle Ryan         (Ballymacarbry)
15. Liz Devine               (Brickey Rangers)
16. Grainne Costello      (Stradbally)
17. Michelle McGrath    (Ballymacarbry)
18. Grainne Kenneally   (Ballyduff Upper)
19. Shauna Dunphy        (Comeragh Rangers)
20. Margaret Revins       (Old Parish)
21. Ciara Dunphy           (Comeragh Rangers)
22. Megan O'Connor      (Brickey Rangers)
23. Aisling Hahessy       (Comeragh Rangers)
24. Amy Whelan            (Stradbally)
25. Lauren Guirey           (Ballymacarbry)
26. Caoimhe McGrath    (Abbeyside)
27. Aoife Landers           (St Pats)
1. Kristina Hennessy       Monagea            
2. Alva Neary                  Old Mill
3. Janet Garvey                Fr Casey's           
4. Siobhan Moloney        Oola      
5. Vicky McMahon         St Ailbe's             
6. Emma McGuire          St Ailbe's             
7. Aoife Meaney             Sliabh na mBan
8. Kathryn Fahy              Monaleen          
9. Niamh Richardson      Murroe Boher  
10. Michelle Norris         Monaleen          
11. Megan Kelleher        Knockainey        
12. Megan O'Shea           St Brigid's            
13. Dympna O'Brien       Gerald Griffins 
14. Marie Curtin              Mungret/St Paul's          
15. Claire O'Riordan        Monagea            
16. Janet O'Carroll           Mungret/St Paul's          
17. Cloda Kirby               Knockainey        
18. Meave Higgins          St Patrick's         
19. Katie Fitzgerald          Gerald Griffins 
20. Niamh McCarthy        Drom Broadford              
21. Stephanie Carroll        St Ailbe's             
22. Caroline Hickey           St Ailbe's             
23.  Lisa Harnett                Fr Casey's           
24.  Louise Ryan                St Brigid's            
25.  Megan O'Mara            Monaleen          
26.  Claire Coughlan          Mungret/St Paul's          
27.  Mai Kennelly              Old Mill
28.  Leanne Garvey             Fr Casey's           
29. Sarah Shanahan            Drom Broadford              

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Waterford seek six in row while Limerick seek first Intermediate title

The second weekend of July in recent years has come to mean one thing. It’s Munster Final Weekend.

Many will associate the weekend with the playing of the Munster Minor and Senior Hurling finals. This year’s big provincial deciders are a repeat of the 2013 finals, with All-Ireland Champions Waterford taking on the Munster Champions Limerick in the minor final, while the senior final sees reigning champions Limerick take on last years beaten All-Ireland Finalist Cork, the games going ahead at Pairc Ui Chaoimh, possibly the largest games to be played at the ground first opened in the mid 1970’s before it flattened and rebuilt.

However, a person could be forgiven for thinking that these are the only Munster Finals to be played this weekend. The Ladies football Senior and Minor finals are down for decision at Rathmore on Saturday afternoon.

In the senior game old rivals Cork and Kerry are again set to do battle while the curtain raiser will see Waterford take on Limerick in the Intermediate final.

The Treaty County Ladies will go into this game looking for a first Provincial win at this grade of football, while Waterford will go into the game looking to record six finals in a row.

When the two sides clashed in the round robin section of the competition recently at Adare, it was Waterford that came out on top, but not before they were pushed all the way by a gallant Limerick side that could well push Waterford hard again this time around.

The fact that Limerick are in the final may shock some, but they are there on merit.

At the start of the year most would have predicted that Waterford and Limerick would appear in the final for the third year in a row.

However, as we are all aware, with some time to ask for a repeat of the last two finals was going to be a big ask, as Tipperary from near the end of the National League which was played during the Spring played without a number of the players that got them to Croke Park last year.

However, this is not and should not take from the fact that Limerick are in the final.

Both Waterford and Limerick both recorded big wins over Tipperary who while they started with some young players in their starting line out, started the game with fifteen players, the same as their opponents.

Over the past twelve months some great work has been done in Limerick. They have brought in some new and experienced players into their set up this year. Getting Marie Curtin into their set up and as captain has proven to be a major plus for the treaty siders as she was free from soccer duties which took her to Norway in the last few years.

They are by no means a one woman team either, as in the likes of Janet Garvey, Kathryn Fahy, Niamh Richardson, Megan Kelleher, Claire O’Riordan and Dympna O’Brien they have some quality players in their line up.

When the two sides clashed in Adare a few weeks back, seven points in Waterford’s favour separated the sides.

We have all heard the old adage that goals win games and it was never truer than in this game. In fact the timing of the goals in this game proved even more crucial.

Ballyduff Upper’s Hannah Landers struck for an early goal in that game, which helped Waterford to a 1-7 to 0-7 lead at the interval.

In that first half Limerick put a lot of pressure on the Waterford defence. The experience amassed in recent years was called upon in those opening thirty minutes to keep Limerick from raising a green flag, and when they did manage to get past the Waterford backs, they found there was no passing Aimee Jordan who was in outstanding form making at least two top class saves.

In the second half, Limerick continued to exert pressure on the Waterford defence and got the Waterford lead down to one point, but in the end, a late goal by Linda Wall as well as some late points from Liz Devine, Aileen Wall and Elaine Power proved crucial.

Over the past few years, Waterford has become a very experienced team. The team has a very settled look to it and also has plenty of experience in reserve.

The team is likely to line out in a similar manner to which it has in recent games.

That will mean Aimee Jordan will start between the posts. Nora Dunphy, Grainne Kenneally, Mary Foley, Grainne Enright, Karen McGrath, Roisin Robin, Louise Ryan, Ciara Dunphy and Megan O’Connor fighting it out for shirt number two to seven.

In the middle of the field, Michelle McGrath and Elaine Power would be expected to be the selected partnership.

In attack Waterford manager Pat O’Brien will have plenty of options including Linda Wall, Michelle Ryan, Mairead Wall, Aileen Wall, Hannah Landers, Liz Devine, Shona Curran, Margaret Revins, Shauna Dunphy and Lauren McGregor.

Limerick will be under no illusions going into this weekend’s game as they attempt to win a first provincial final at this level. They will know that Waterford will go into the game as the favourites. However after pushing Waterford hard in the round robin game, they will be looking to do the same again, especially after backing that performance up with another good showing in easily accounting for Tipperary.

Last year they were competitive in the games with Tipperary and Waterford but faded in the last quarter. This year they have put in a lot of work to try and ensure that the same would not happen.

Waterford manager Pat O’Brien this year has freshened things up in his panel. He is working with a relatively small panel, but he has brought in some new young players into the set up and all got to play during the league, making an impact.

Will Waterford make it six in a row of finals? Well they go into the game as the favourites, something that does not always sit well on the shoulders of Waterford teams.

The game is expected to be a close and in a close game, experience is vital. What ever fifteen Pat O’Brien puts out will be experienced, and as the game goes on and the need to introduce some fresh faces into the game, then Waterford will have some experienced players to call upon.

Waterford should win a sixth title in a row, something that would not be a record for Waterford as the great senior team in the 90’s put seven in a row from 1994 to 2000 inclusive, but as pointed out already it could be close.

Waterford Panel: Aimee Jordan (Abbeyside); Nora Dunphy (Comeragh Rangers), Grainne Kenneally (Ballyduff Upper), Mary Foley (Abbeyside); Grainne Enright (Abbeyside), Karen McGrath (Ballymacarbry), Roisin Tobin (Abbeyside); Michelle McGrath (Ballymacarbry) Captain, Elaine Power (Tramore); Linda Wall (Ballymacarbry), Michelle Ryan (Ballymacarbry), Mairead Wall (Ballymacarbry); Aileen Wall (Ballymacarbry), Hannah Landers (Ballyduff Upper), Liz Devine (Brickey Rangers). Grainne Costelloe (Stradbally), Shona Curran (St. Pat’s), Margaret Revins (Old Parish), Louise Ryan (Ballymacarbry), Ciara Dunphy (Comeragh Rangers), Aisling Hahesy (Comeragh Rangers), Amy Whelan (Stradbally), Megan O’Connor (Brickey Rangers), Shauna Dunphy (Comeragh Rangers), Lauren McGregor (Dungarvan), Lauren Guiry (Ballymacarbry), Caoimhe McGrath (Abbeyside), Katie Hayes (Dungarvan), Aoife Landers (St Pat’s)

Limerick Panel:  Kristina Hennessy (Monagea), Alva Neary (Old Mill), Siobhan Moloney (Oola), Janet Garvey (Fr Casey's), Vicky McMahon (St Ailbe's), Emma McGuire (St Ailbe's), Aoife Meaney (Sliabh na mBan),  Kathryn Fahy (Monaleen), Niamh Richardson (Murroe Boher), Michelle Norris (Monaleen),  Megan Kelleher (Knockainey), Caroline Hickey (St Ailbe's), Lisa Harnett (Fr Casey's), Marie Curtin (Mungret/St Paul's)  Captain,  Claire O'Riordan (Monagea), Clodagh Kirby (Knockainey), Maeve Higgins (St Patrick’s), Katie Fitzgerald (Gerald Griffins), Janet O’Carroll (Mungret/St Paul’s), Niamh McCarthy (Drom/Broadford), Louise Ryan (St Brigid’s), Dympna O’Brien (Gerald Griffins), Megan O’Shea (St Brigid’s), Megan O’Mara (Monaleen), Stephanie Carroll (St Ailbes), Mai Kennelly (Old Mill), Laura Lyons (St Ailbes), Claire Coughlan (Mungret/St Paul’s), Kate McSweeney (Adare), Leanne Garvey (Fr Casey’s).

Paths to the Final –
Round 1:       Waterford       2-12    Limerick         0-11    (Adare)
Round 2:       Limerick         6-13    Tipperary       1-13    (Claughaun)
Round 3:       Waterford       4-23    Tipperary       1-8      (Carrick-on-Suir)
Leading Scorers:   Marie Curtain            (Limerick)       1-9

Hannah Landers     (Waterford)    2-5

Gillian O’Brien          (Tipperary)     0-11

                                    Claire O’Riordan      (Limerick)       2-3

                                    Dympna O’Brien      (Limerick)       2-2

                                    Aileen Wall               (Waterford)    1-5

                                    Linda Wall                 (Waterford)    1-5

                                    Michelle Ryan          (Waterford)    0-7

                                    Aimee Jordan           (Waterford)    2-0

                                    Marie Kelleher          (Limerick)       1-2

                                    Liz Devine                 (Waterford)    0-4

                                    Elaine Power            (Waterford)    0-4

                                    Laura Dillon              (Tipperary)     1-1

                                    Niamh Lonergan      (Tipperary)     1-1

                                    Mairead Wall             (Waterford)    0-3

                                    Laura O’Shea           (Tipperary)     0-3

                                    Aisling McCarthy     (Tipperary)     0-3

                                    Michelle Norris         (Limerick)       0-2

                                    Niamh Richardson  (Limerick)       0-2

                                    Stephanie Carroll    (Limerick)       0-2

                                    Louise Ryan             (Waterford)    0-1

                                    Shauna Dunphy      (Waterford)    0-1

                                    Caoimhe Boles        (Tipperary)     0-1

                                    Megan O’Shea         (Limerick)       0-1

                                    Kathryn Fahy           (Limerick)       0-1

                                    Sarah Everard          (Tipperary)     0-1