Team news: Lidl NFL Division 1 champions Cork prepare for Mayo test in Birr

Cork v Mayo, 3.00pm, St Brendan’s Park, Birr, Offaly, (B Rice)

A repeat of the 2016 decider sees holders Cork, chasing six-in-a-row, up against Mayo at the penultimate stage of the competition.

This is also a repeat of last year’s TG4 All-Ireland semi-final between the counties and the fixture will provide a pretty accurate gauge of both teams’ progress in 2018.

Mayo have been boosted by the return to the squad of experienced defender Martha Carter but manager Peter Leahy indicated this week that she won’t feature in the concluding stages of the League.

Cora Staunton is back in Ireland following a successful stint with GWS Giants in the Women’s AFL, and Leahy will hope that she features during the summer, while veteran goalkeeper Yvonne Byrne is another player yet to declare her intentions for 2018.

Despite Staunton’s absence, Mayo have progressed to a League semi-final and with a strong spread of scorers throughout the team.

Sarah Rowe has emerged as a real leader in attack and she’s flanked in an impressive full-forward line by the Kelly sisters, Niamh and Grace.

Cork have real firepower of their own to call upon as Eimear Scally and Orla Finn form two-thirds of a potentially lethal inside line.

The O’Sullivan sisters, Doireann and Ciara, line out in the half-forward line, with Aisling Hutchings and Brid O’Sullivan anchoring midfield.

Cork won the group fixture between the counties but Leahy will hope that his players learned the lessons from that outing as they prepare to face Ephie Fitzgerald’s champions.

Cork team: 

1 Martina O’Brien Clonakilty
2 Marie Ambrose St. Valentines
3 Eimear Meaney Mourneabbey
4 Emma Spillane Bantry Blues
5 Maire O’Callaghan Mourneabbey
6 Melissa Duggan Dohenys
7 Shauna Kelly Araglen Desmonds Bui
8 Ashling Hutchings Fermoy
9 Brid O’Sullivan Mourneabbey
10 Ciara O’Sullivan Mourneabbey
11 Doireann O’Sullivan Mourneabbey
12 Orlagh Farmer Midleton
13 Libby Coppinger St. Colum’s
14 Eimear Scally Éire Óg
15 Orla Finn Éire Óg

Mayo team: 

1 Sorcha Murphy Cill Chomain
2 Orla Conlon Castlebar Mitchels
3 Sarah Tierney Hollymount
4 Saoirse Ludden Westport
5 Danielle Caldwell Castlebar Mitchels
6 Emma Lowther Knockmore
7 Doireann Hughes Carnacon
8 Clodagh McManamon Burrishoole
9 Aileen Gilroy St. Brigids
10 Fiona McHale Carnacon
11 Fiona Doherty Moy Davitts
12 Sinead Cafferky Kilmovee Shamrocks
13 Niamh Kelly Moy Davitts
14 Sarah Rowe Kilmoremoy
15 Grace Kelly Moy Davitts

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