Suzuki Division 2 and Division 3 Finals preview by Fr Liam Kelleher

Suzuki Division 2 and Division 3 Finals preview.

West v South.

On Sunday next May the 11th Cusack Park in Ennis stages the Div 2 and 3 finals of the Suzuki National League. Cork have reached both finals Roscommon provide the opposition in the Div 2 final while Galway B are the opponents in the Div 3 final.

Div 2 Final.
Cork have been very impressive in winning all their matches in the league . They had their toughest matches against Louth in the earlier rounds and in the Quarter final against Armagh. In the Semi-Final against Kildare they opened up a 2-07 to 4 points gap struggled for the opening 20 minutes of the 2nd half and pulled away in the end for an 8 point win. Cork after their first year in Division one, were demoted after a playoff with Meath and this year have been rebuilding their squad after losing by 4 points to Waterford in the Munster final, earlier they put out holders Clare, with a team having an average age of 17.

Cork’s Achilles heal has been the inability to field a regular line up in any game to date, many players have been tried and tested. Six of the regular starters were missing because of injury or other reasons for the Semi-final, they received a massive set back the night before the Kildare Game when Amy O’ Shea was stretchered off in injury time with a. suspected cruciate knee ligament injury. That injury has now unfortunately been confirmed and will keep Corks top forward out of action for the remainder of the year. Also missing will be Mary O’ Connor the capt of the team who has opted for the National Camogie League final the same day against Tipperary.

Another huge concern for Cork will be the fact that some of their automatic choices will be in the middle of College exams and some might not be willing to risk injury. That much said Cork have a big panel with a mixture of youth and experience. Roscommon on the other hand have been doing nicely after winning the All-Ireland Junior against Kildare in 2001, they were promoted to Senior and gave eventual All-Ireland medals winners Mayo a torrid time in the Connaught final, before bowing out. They appear to have a much more settled look than Cork, that could be their trump card and they will be very determined to get the better of the rebels. They struggled at times in the Semi-Final against Louth and in the end it was a rather soft goal that earned them the spoils in the last minute.

Roscommon have a strong physical team Yvonne Dolan is a fine Keeper and they have strong defenders in Mary Beades, Cathy Watson and Anette McGeeney. They have hardworking midfielders in Emma Mannion and Ann Marie Carley. Dianne Dolan is the nub of their attack, while Steffi Carthy and free taker Gina Dowling have been scoring freely.

Cork have a very young and rather inexperienced outfit and they will look to the likes of Juliet Murphy, Brid Stack, Rena Buckley, Norita Kelly and Valerie Mulcahy to see them through. Now that they have earned Division 1 status by right they will be anxious like Roscommon to set down a marker for the for the coming championship. It promises to be an intriguing game. This game is timed from 1.30pm

Division 3 Final.
Cork B V Galway B.

It comes as no surprise to see Cork B and Galway B making the Div 3 decider both had impressive runs in the league and both counties have huge resources to pick from just now. Of the 5 All-Ireland titles available last year Cork and Galway took 4 between them. Galway the Junior and Minor and Cork the under 16 and under 14, with Galway runners up in both. So Galway are really on the up, with 4 teams contesting All-Ireland finals in 2002. Galway having won the junior All-Ireland last year have progressed to Senior status and gave a very good account of themselves in Div 1, losing out to Kerry in the Semi-final.

Their B team powered by 10 members of their All-Ireland winning minor team and players from All Ireland Winning Senior Schools, A and B, Pres Tuam and Holy Rosary Mounbellew, so they will be firm favourites for the title. They already had a facile win over Cork in an earlier round. I’m sure the mentors are intelligent enough not to read too much into that result. Neither will they dwell on the Semi-Final hammering of Derry.

Cork on the other hand have had a very tough campaign and that could be their greatest asset in the final. They also have a very settled team and will have benefited enormously from the competitive Semi-Final against Limerick. Mairead O’Sullivan is an excellent Keeper and they have staunch backs in Mairead Kennedy capt, Fiona Crowley and Eimear Walsh Angela Walsh is a strong midfielder. Aisling Barrett, Niamh Hickey and Soccer International Kareina Richards know where the goals are.

Galway have a set of lethal forwards in Deirdre Heaverin, Melinda Kelly, Michelle Delaney, Helen Carroll, Aoife Wynne and Niamh Duggan and if they get space it will be curtains for Cork. Aisling Fahy is an excellent midfielder and in backs Sheila Henegan and Grainne Egan they have great battlers. Galway will be overwhelming favourites, but Cork could cause a shock. The game begins at 3.15pm

Fr Liam Kelleher PRO 087-8516984 email:

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