GAA Football

Donaghmoyne, Emmet Og and Trillick clubs aiming for All-Ireland ladies football final berths

Marie Ambrose of Cork in action against Donaghamoyne and Monaghan star Cora Courtney during the Lidl Ladies Football National League Division 1 Round 2 match at Mallow GAA Complex in Mallow, Co. Cork. Picture by by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Louise Gunn

All-Ireland Senior Club Championship semi-final: Foxrock Cabinteely (Dublin) v Donaghmoyne (Monaghan) (Tomorrow, Sunday: Bray Emmets, 1pm)

ULSTER champions Donaghmoyne renew old acquaintances with Foxrock Cabinteely for the third time in four years tomorrow hoping to book their place next month’s All-Ireland senior club final.

On the previous two occasions the sides have met – at this semi-final stage in 2015 and a year later in the final – Donaghmoyne have emerged victorious but with home advantage in Bray for Fox-Cab it will need their biggest game of the season to date if they are to inflict yet another defeat on the Dublin and Leinster champions.

Both sides are littered with stars and although there have been a few changes in personnel, but not many, there is not much Francie Coleman and Ann Marie Burns don’t know about Fox-Cab and vice-versa for Pat Ring and Peter Clarke.

Sinéad Goldrick, Niamh Collins, Amy Connolly, Hannah O’Neill, Emma McDonagh and Tarah O’Sullivan are all All-Ireland Senior championship winners with Dublin while captain Amy Ring is another former Dublin star.

Also in their ranks is Ireland under 17 soccer international Roisin McGovern, who scored 2-1 after coming off the bench in their Leinster final win over Sarsfields, their fourth successive provincial title the day after Donaghmoyne regained their Ulster crown to bring their total to an incredible 11 titles in 15 years.

Surprisingly, the last Dublin club team to win the Dolores Tyrell Cup was Ballyboden St Enda’s in 2005 and just two have reached finals since – Foxrock Cabinteely two years ago and Na Fianna back in 2011.

Donaghmoyne are aiming for an eighth All-Ireland final – only Ballymacarby of Waterford and Mayo’s Carnacon have been in more finals and of those two, only Carnacon, last year’s champions, continue to be competitive – but captain Cora Courtney knows that, especially after losing their Ulster and All-Ireland titles with defeat to St Macartans last year, nothing is a given.

“We have a long tough trip ahead of us. Having played them twice before we know what to expect from them,“ said Courtney. “Both the teams have had personel changes but we still expect to be in a battle. They have good footballers who have been involved with the county so they will be physically strong.”

After defeating Glenfin in the Ulster final, Courtney remarked how the feeling of losing, which they experienced against St Macartans stays with them more than the euphoria of winning and although they have won the All-Ireland club title on five occasions, they still feel the hurt of losing two.

“Tasting Ulster success again and celebrating makes you want more. When you get to this stage with only three or four weeks left of the season you want to go all the way and we would love to win another title. We have lost two semi-finals before so we will not take our minds off this match first,” she said.

Against Glenfin, Donaghmoyne were very impressive. Cathriona McConnell hit nine points of her side’s 1-15 to 1-8 victory, while 16-year-old Eimear Traynor’s first half goal was crucial at a time when Glenfin were on top. In the second half after seeing their three point half time lead cut back to a single point upped their performance reeling off seven unanswered points to open up a gap too big for Glenfin to claw back. Courtney knows they need to take that performance and more with them tomorrow.

“Each game we seem to be improving as a team and getting more confident in our play. Our ball retention and shots off improved on other days so these along with a high work rate is needed on Sunday.

“To think we could be in an All-Ireland final if we win on Sunday is unbelievable. These last few months have flown by that it doesn't seem real. I would love to experience that feeling of happiness at the final whistle on Sunday. All-Ireland final day is special with the build up, the bus journey, the atmosphere and Parnell Park and I hope that I could lead this team out on All-Ireland final day.”

The winner will face either Mourneabbey of Cork, who have lost three of the last four finals, or Galway's Kilkerrin/Clonberne who knocked out defending champions Carnacon in the Connacht final.

All-Ireland Intermediate Club Championship semi-final: Emmet Og (Monaghan) v Dunedin Connollys (Edinburgh) (Today, Saturday: Pairc Emmet, Aghabog, 1pm)

A WINNING habit is hard to break and for Ulster intermediate club champions Emmet Og now that they have tasted success they want more.

They are one step away from an All-Ireland final – just British champions Dunedin Connollys of Edinburgh stand in their way - and while captain Nicole Rooney has said what the Monaghan champions have achieved this year has gone beyond expectations, they don’t want it to end yet.

“We never expected to get out of Monaghan so to be Ulster champions was totally unexpected but it is an absolute dream. When you win one trophy, it is hard not to think about winning more as that is what you want to do,” said the 20-year-old.

“In two games you could be All-Ireland champions, in one game that could be it, you could be out and your season is over. We really don’t want that and although we know Dunedin will be extremely tough opposition we will be out to win. We are at home and while that does not guarantee anything, it is all on the day and we need to make not having to travel to play count.”

While Emmet Og formed only a few years ago and have, Dunedin Connollys have been here before going all the way to the All-Ireland intermediate final in 2013 before losing out to Na Gaeil of Kerry, a defeat they avenged in the All-Ireland quarter-final two weeks ago, winning 2-11 to 2-9.

The majority of the Dunedin team has changed a lot from five years ago. With a lot of underage work being done in the club, there are a few natives now breaking through onto the senior team, which is made up mostly of southern Gaels studying and working in the Scottish capital, but also includes Donegal and Gortahork native and their captain Karen Feeney while another player Caoilfhionn Deeney used to play for Wicklow and has also represented Scotland on an inter-county level.

They may have caused a shock on the outside by winning their British provincial title this year but a fourth in six years does not hide the fact this is a side capable of producing the goods.

Emmet Og and Kinawley served up a thrilling Ulster final with the victors needing an Ellen McCarron injury time winning point to seal victory by the narrowest of margins. While McCarron, with her Monaghan inter-county experience, will be on Dunedin’s radar, the likes of 15-year-old Fearne Monaghan, centre half back Chloe McBride who scored 1-1 in the final and the experience of Marion McCarville and Laura Boylan, who has also played for Monaghan, will be key to Emmet Og success.

“What we have achieved in few short years after amalgating the two clubs – Eire Og and Aghabog – has been amazing but we have worked hard and we have found what works for us,” said the e-Commerce student in Galway. She along with teammate Orla Reilly, makes the trek from uni back home during the week for trainings in the lead up to crunch games like this one.

“It shortens thejourney travelling with Orla. A lot of our team-mates are in a similar positions so a lot of work is done on our own during the week before then coming together twice at the weekend.

“We were on a real high after winning Ulster but the Wednesday after the final we were back training. You don’t mind that it is cold, dark and wet – you are playing football, you are winning and you want to keep on going.”

The other semi-final takes place tomorrow between St Brendan's Ballygar (Galway) and Clontarf (Dublin).

All-Ireland Junior Club Championship semi-final: Trillick (Tyrone) v Glanmire (Cork) (Tomorrow, Sunday: Páirc Uí Dhonnghaile, Trillick, 1pm)

TRILLICK captain Cathy Donnelly will tell her team-mates to have no regrets when the Tyrone and Ulster champions take on Cork and Munster counterparts Glanmire tomorrow afternoon for a place in the All-Ireland junior club final.

After coming through a tough provincial final against Cavan side Lavey two weeks’ ago, winning 0-6 to 0-4 to collect their first piece of Ulster silverware, the ante is upped once more in the form of Glanmire. The have blazed a trail in both their county and provincial championships to date on top of their recent their All-Ireland quarter-final 5-21 to 1-1 win over Roger Casements (Coventry) in Birmingham.

They are on their travels again from East Cork and at this level and stage of the competition what opposing teams know and can find out about each other is limited, and while Donnelly says managers Don Goodwin, Iggy Gallagher and Bernie Kelly have done some homework, they are not going to get too hung up on the opposition.

“Any team from Cork is going to be hard to beat. We have looked at their previous results and they have put up some big scores and where they have come from but at the same time, we have to concentrate on ourselves too,” said Donnelly. “There were a few things we have worked on after the final where we felt we could have did better and we have concentrated too on what we did well.

“It’s a huge thing to be at home and we want to take advantage of that. No one likes being beaten at home and we want to do everything to make sure that doesn’t happen to us.”

Donnelly was player-of-the-match in the Ulster final against Lavey and as one of the older and more experienced team members she knows that opportunities like reaching an All-Ireland final do not come about too often.

“It is a huge opportunity,” says the centre half back who has put her wedding preparations to one side for the moment, despite the ‘big day’ to finance Charlie only being a couple of weeks away. “We have a lot of younger players on our team who have now won a county and Ulster title and there are older players who have waited 15 years to win something as huge as a provincial title.

“We don’t know when this opportunity might come around again and we have to make sure we leave everthing on the pitch. If we play as best as we can and get beat on the day then we can’t ask anything more of ourselves. If we don’t play to our potential and get beat there will always be those regrets. It’s important we don’t have any regrets.”

The other side of the draw sees Carlow and Leinster champions Old Leighlin face Sligo and Connacht winners Tourlestrane.

Fixtures

Today

All-Ireland Intermediate Club Championship semi-final: Emmet Og (Monaghan) v Dunedin Connollys (Scotland) (Aghabog, 1pm)

Tomorrow

All-Ireland Senior Club Championship semi-finals: Kilkerrin/Clonberne (Galway) v Mourneabbey (Cork) (Clonberne Sports Field, 2pm), Foxrock Cabinteely (Dublin) v Donaghmoyne (Monaghan) (Bray Emmets, 1pm)

All-Ireland Intermediate Club Championship semi-final: St Brendan's Ballygar (Galway) v Clontarf (Dublin) (Duggan Park, Ballinasloe (1pm)

All-Ireland Junior Club Championship semi-finals: Trillick (Tyrone) v Glanmire (Cork) (Trillick, 1pm), Old Leighlin (Carlow) v Tourlestrane (Sligo) (McGrath Park, Bagenalstown, 1pm)

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