Mayo favoured to win The Suzuki Ladies League Final

Suzuki Ladies National League Final.
Mayo favourites to lift Suzuki league title. By Fr. Liam Kelleher


For all their dominance at Senior Championship level, where they have garnered 4 All-Ireland titles out of the last 5, Mayo have just one, National league title, to their credit. You have to look back to 2,000 to find their one and only success. On Sunday at Pearse Stadium in Galway, they will be centre stage with Cork, in the final chapter of the exciting trilogy of games which will all be televised by TG4. The one major worry with the inclement weather, will be state of the pitch, after 2 big games. With Tyrone and Galway playing before them in the league Semi-Final replay, hopefully many of the crowd will stay on to watch what should be an absorbing contest.


Cork Manager Eamonn Ryan
At the start of the League campaign few would have expected Cork to get this far, they were soundly beaten by Kerry in the opening round, they got their 4 points from good victories over Monaghan and a weak Longford. They showed signs that they were heading in the right direction, when they held Galway to 2 points in Donoughmore and then confounded the critics by handing out a 12 point hiding to table toppers Meath in the Quarter Final. They maintained that form the following week, by travelling to Corofin to defeat the high flying Galway. 

On the basis of that form they must have a chance on Sunday and no doubt they will do the rebel Co proud. It remains to be seen whether they can lower the colours of the Mayo girls, who were back to their old best especially in the 2nd half last Sunday against Waterford, putting a traumatic week behind them, when they thought they might not be playing football for a while, common sense prevailed and they took to the field on Sunday last.


Their enigmatic Manager and Coach, Finbarr Egan was the first, to admit that their first half performance against Waterford, was sluggish but they were a revelation in the 2nd half. A repeat of that 2nd half performance could spell big trouble for Cork, but Cork have been showing that they have staying power as well. A lot will depend on how the younger Cork players perform, at least seven of the starting line up are currently minors but they have huge experience having won under 14, 16 and Minor All-Ireland medals. The experience of the older players will play a key role six of whom have been through the All-Ireland club winning experience with Donoughmore on 2 occasions, Juliet Murphy. capt. Hanora Kelleher, Eimear Walsh, Mary O’Connor, Rena Buckley, and Aisling O’Connor. Elaine Harte has plenty of experience in goal, as has her Rockbán teamate Valerie Mulcahy, who should start on the half forward line. A doubt surrounds the fitness of Midfielder Norita Kelly. Hanora Kelleher who missed the Semi-Final through injury, should return to the pivotal role in defence. Amanda Murphy who replaced her in that game and played extremely well, could move to the forwards, if Kelly is unavailable, with Geraldine O’Flynn moving to midfield.

Mayo Manager Finbar Egan

Mayo should field along the lines of last week, with back from injury Edel Biggins likely to start in the halfback line with Mary T Garvey moving to the full line to join All Stars, last years capt, Helena Lohan and this years capt Nuala O’Shea. Cork have been withdrawing full forward Regina Curtin and Briege Corkery, to a more outfield role and it will be interesting how Mayo will cope with this if they persevere with that tactic. Mayo have a team of household names and in Claire Egan they had the player of the game on Sunday last, she forms a very potent midfield with Edel Reilly. Up front Mayo will pose a huge threat to the Cork backs particularly from the Heffernan Sisters Christina and Marcella, Cora Staunton, wil be a menace in every part of the field and free scoring Diane O’Hora, who scored the winning goal in the All-Ireland and two, on Sunday last, Cork fullback Brid Stack, last years Minor capt and still Minor this year could be equal to the task in hand in policing her and if this happens then Mayo’s threat in attack will be considerably reduced.

Despite the view held by many in Cork that they should have achieved their potential before now, the current squad is made up of tried and trusted players, no new talent was unearthed this year. Coach Eamonn Ryan who has been through the mill at every level as player with Cork and Coach with Cork Mens teams, will have his charges well primed, he knows the enormity of the task that faces his team, but he will not be without hope.

Mayo on the other hand crossed the “Moate Bridge” last Sunday with flying colours, Cork will be hoping that Sunday will not be a bridge too far for them, while All Cork will be hoping otherwise, anything but a Mayo win will be surprise.

Paths to the final.
Mayo defeated Galway, Cork, Monaghan and received a walkover from Longford in the League. They lost to Kerry and defeated Roscommon 0-11 to 0-4 in the Quarter final and Waterford 2-9 to 0-10 in the Semi Final.

Cork defeated Monaghan and Longford and lost to Kerry, Galway and Mayo. They defeated Meath in the Quarter Final 3-13 to 0-10 and Galway in the semi-Final 0-8 to 0-6

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