TG4 Championship Previews

Saturday, July 30th


TG4 Ladies Intermediate All Ireland Championship Qualifier


Fermanagh v Leitrim,

Templeport Bawnboy,

2:30pm (D. Callaghan)


It is a much changed Fermanagh outfit to the one that  has challenged so strongly for the TG4 Intermediate championship in recent years. They are forced to play without Caroline Little and her sister Sharon who were two of their most prominent players. The adjustment to life without the Little combination has been difficult as they suffered relegation to Division 4 of the NFL this season. However, this is a Fermanagh side that is not lacking in ability or experience as they will look to Marita McDonald for leadership around the middle of the field with Aisling and Aileen Moane posing a real threat in the full forward line. Leitrim were disappointed not to reclaim their Connacht title earlier in the Summer but they will still feel that an appearance in Croke Park later this year is a real possibility. This is a strong Leitrim side but as always all eyes will be on their captain and full forward Áine Tighe who is a devastating attacker. Leitrim will be the favourites but they have been caught by this Fermanagh team in the past and will be very wary of that happening again.


Sunday, July 31st


TG4 Ladies Intermediate All Ireland Championship Qualifier


Louth v Wexford,


2:00pm (K. McKeever)


This is a meeting of the last two TG4 Junior All Ireland Champions. Louth will still call on much of the team that claimed All Ireland glory in Croke Park last September. Their inside forward line looks particularly dangerous with the Junior Player’s Player of the Year Paula Murray flanked by Eimear Murray and the excellent Kate Flood who is a match winner should she get enough possession. Wexford have a strong and very well organised team. Roisín Murphy will anchor the Wexford defense behind a strong midfield duo of Clara Donnelly and Niamh Moore, whilst players like Kellie Kearney and Ellen O’Brien will prove dangerous up front. Wexford already own a very big win over Louth in the TG4 Leinster championship and although this game will be a much closer contest Wexford will still be expected to emerge victorious.


Monday, August 1st


TG4 Ladies Senior All Ireland Championship Qualifier


Westmeath v Meath,

Cusack Park,

1:30pm (S. McNulty)


Westmeath and Meath are two sides who know each other very well having played in the same division of the Lidl NFL as well as the TG4 Leinster Championship. Westmeath have held the upper hand in their recent meetings but they will be aware that Meath are a side that have plenty of potential. In 2015 Meath also reached this stage but suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of a rampant Cork side on their way to a 10th TG4 All Ireland title. However, despite the nature of that defeat they showed that there was much potential in the Royal County. Sarah Powderly and Aisling Cassidy are strong defenders and Niamh Lister is a very strong presence in the middle of the field. Jenny Rispin will provide experience in the forwards whilst the presence of Vikki Wall and Shauna Ennis on the substitutes bench means that there is plenty of potential for impact outside the starting fifteen.


There is a familiar look to Westmeath’s team as they prepare to mount their challenge through the qualifiers. There is a feeling that this Westmeath team are capable of making a big impact on the championship but to date this challenge has failed to materialise as their Lesinter final drubbing at the hands of Dublin demonstrated. A meeting with Meath could be just the tonic for Westmeath. Jennifer Rogers will captain the team from full back. Their midfield pairing of Maud Annie Foley and Karen McDermott looks particularly strong and the return of Fiona Claffey to the forward division will increase their scoring potential. Watch out for Laura Walsh at full forward as she is a player that is capable of running up a big score.


Form points to a win for Westmeath although there will be no shortage of motivation for a Meath side that will be more than happy to be labelled as underdogs.


TG4 Ladies Senior All Ireland Championship Qualifier


Galway v Donegal,

Glennon Brothers Pearse Park,

3:00pm (Y. Duffy)


This is the tie of the round as Galway and Donegal go face to face. At the start of the year both of these sides were Provincial champions and were eyeing up an assault on All Ireland glory. However, things did not go as planned for either team. Donegal lost the services of several key players including Geraldine McLaughlin before being dumped out of the Ulster championship by Cavan. Galway also lost the services of some of their most experienced stars and suffered a defeat in the TG4 Connacht championship final against Mayo.


Donegal will want to get their season back on track and will view Galway as the ideal opponents. The newly promoted Lidl Division 2 champions will call on some of the best players in the country on Monday. Teresa Doherty is an excellent defender and she will play alongside Katy Herron who has switched to full back from her usual midfield berth. Gráinne Houston and Karen Guthrie will combine in the middle of the field in front of the excellent Ciara Hegarty at centre half back. Niamh Hegarty is the captan of the side at centre forward and her ability to supply ball to the brilliant Yvonne McMonagle could be a telling factor in this match.


In recent years Galway have been singled out as the team with the potential to end the dominance of Dublin and especially Cork in Ladies Football. However, despite having a talented squad that break through has yet to come. They will face very dangerous opposition on Monday without the services of Ger Conneally, Annette Clarke, Tracey Leonard, Sinead Burke and more. However, the underage talent coming through has helped to make up for those losses. Nicola Ward has been marked for stardom for many years and her battle with Ciara Hegarty will be a vital match up. Megan Glynn is a superb athlete at centre forward and her driving runs will be difficult for any defender to handle. However, for Galway their greatest hope lies in the full forward line of the experienced Edel Concannon, the talented Louise Ward and ace attacker Roisín Leonard who can cement her status as one of the premier forwards in the game.


There is very little to choose between these two sides who are sure to produce one of the games of the championship. Neither team is at full strength but despite their losses in personnel these are two excellent teams. Either team are potential dark horses for All Ireland glory but only one can progress to meet Dublin in the quarter final.

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