Aisling McGing Memorial Cup Final 2009 - Preview

Aisling McGing Memorial Cup Final 2009 – Preview.

The Jackies and the Rebelettes renew rivalry once again for the third year in a row in the final of the Senior B competition in Thurles. These two sides have dominated the event since its inception as an inter-county event in 2007 but the Leesiders have come out on to on both occasions. So in this the year of numbers with the Cork Senior A side going for five in a row and the Kilkenny hurlers going for four in a row the Cork Senior B’s are hoping to make it three in a row. Or will it be third time lucky for Dublin? Cork will go in to this year’s final as favourites but the gap has closed significantly. Last year the Jackies lost the final on a scoreline of 1-13 to 0-11. When the two sides met recently in the league part of the competition it finished 2-10 apiece. The incredible part of this story is that Dublin went in at half-time losing by 2-6 to 0-1 having played against the elements in the first half. With four minutes left they were five points behind but put in a storming finish to draw level with their illustrious opponents. Sarah Denvir was one of many heroes on the day scoring the equalising goal at the finish and almost stole the show seconds later when another rasping effort hit the post and rebounded to safety. So the proverbial game of two halves. Conditions should be better suited to a more balanced game this time around. The Jackies will be able to draw on this experience when they face Cork this coming Saturday.

The management team of Paul McLoughlin, Eamonn O’Donnell, Tadhg Moriarity and Stephen Harbron will undoubtedly be pleased with progress to date and no doubt will have plenty to ponder on ahead of the final as the Jackies struggled to overcome Kildare in the semi-final. But that’s no bad thing. The defence were under enormous pressure for a good twenty minutes of the first half but coped admirably conceding just five points. There were big displays from Sarah Stritch, Trish Gordan, Siobhan Kennedy, Karen Halpin, Áine Burke and Niamh Keane. Goalkeeper, Deirdre Kelleher, pulled off a crucial save at a vital stage early in the second half and this was crucial for the confidence of the team at that time. More of the same will be required again on Saturday. The big clash will that of Siobhan and Jenny Luddy the Cork centre forward. Her pace will test any defence and if this can be neutralized it may cut off the supply to the dangerous inside forward line of Grace Kearney, Kate Sheehan and Eimear Harrington. These three notched up 3-6 of Cork’s total in their semi-final against Galway with Luddy contributing six points.

The significant feature of Dublin’s semi-final win over Kildare was the introduction of Hannah Tyrrell for the final fifteen minutes. She took a game that was hanging in the balance by the scruff of the neck and drove the Jackies on to victory scoring two points in the process. Could she make a start on Saturday? It remains to be seen. A big game will also be required of midfielders Suzanne Murray and Sinead Finnegan as they battle with Cork’s strong duo of Aoife Coughlan and Eimear O’Connell. Sinead’s surging runs against Kildare posed big problems for the Kildare defence and led to most of Dublin’s first half scores and hopefully we will see more of the same. But just as the Rebelettes have a dangerous inside line so do the Jackies. The full forward line of Helen Cliffe, Catherine Kearney and Sarah Denvir will cause the Cork fullback line plenty of problems if they receive a regular supply of good ball from out the field. They scored 2-2 in their last outing against the champions with Teresa Molohan also making a significant points contribution. Against Kildare they claimed 2-5 of Dublin’s total. So the stage is set for what should be a thrilling final that should do justice to the memory of a late great footballer, Aisling McGing. Hopefully Jimmy and Theresa McGing will be present again to present the trophy this time to the Dublin captain, Karen Halpin.

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