Donaghmoyne hoping for a double celebration as they prepare to take on Croke's
Currentaccount.ie All-Ireland Ladies Club Football Championship semi-final: Donaghmoyne (Monaghan) v Kilmacud Croke's (Dublin) (tomorrow, Donaghmoyne Fontenoys, 1.30pm)
DONAGHMOYNE hope it will be a weekend to remember with a wedding and an All-Ireland semi-final on the cards the Ulster champions.
Their very own Cathriona McConnell is getting married today and in and around 24 hours later she will line out with her team-mates against Dublin and Leinster champions Kilmacud Crokes to battle it out for a place in next month’s All-Ireland Senior Club Championship final.
As well as a final berth being at stake, there is the added attraction of playing this year’s club final in Croke Park, a first for ladies football. Donaghmoyne have already won the Dolores Tyrell Cup five times but the opportunity to try and win a sixth at GAA HQ has been a real driver for Francie Coleman’s side.
They clinched their 14th Ulster senior title a couple of weeks ago defeating first time finalists Moneyglass in the final. They had to grit their teeth and dig deep to overcome the challenge from the Antrim champions and in the end it was their experience of 18 consecutive finals that saw them through. They had to do it a player down for a lot of the game and Hazel Kingham misses out on tomorrow’s game.
Donaghmoyne have not reached an All-Ireland final since 2016 – the last time they clinched the title – having fallen at this semi-final hurdle in 2018, 2019 and 2021. Last year they lost to eventual champions Kilkerrin-Clonberne, who are in the other semi-final against Wexford and Munster champions Ballymacarbry today (Dungarvan, 1.30pm).
Kilmacud Crokes finally broke Foxrock-Cabinteely’s stronghold in Dublin to land their first ever senior county title before going on to blaze a trail in Leinster to clinch their maiden provincial title.
The unfamiliar territory continues for them in the All-Ireland series and that is where Donaghmoyne will hope to make their experience count, as well as having home advantage, and Pairc Fontenoy is never an easy place for any opposition team to come to.
Crokes have former Dublin inter-county players Michelle Davoren, who has been instrumental at full-forward, as well as defenders Molly Lamb and Aoife Kane, while Eabha Rutledge will be one to keep an eye on, the centre half-forward scoring a hat-trick in their Leinster final win over Wicklow side Tinahely. Along the way to this stage, they also dethroned defending provincial champions Dunboyne in the quarter-final, so there is plenty for Donaghmoyne to be wary of.
Equally, Crokes have plenty to think about when it comes to stopping Donaghmoyne. Seven players got in on the scoring act in the Ulster final including five of their six starting forwards. The combined years of experience of the likes of McConnell, Linda Martin, Sharon and Cora Courtney to name but a few is scary and Crokes know they will be entering a cauldron of fire.
With McConnell’s wedding today, the last of the preparations will have been done by now. All attention will be firmly on the big day for McConnell and her fiancé Darren Murnaghan and all the Donaghmoyne players will be there to help them celebrate; it might even be a good distraction. However, by the time throw-in comes around tomorrow afternoon their focus will have firmly turned to the job in hand and hopefully with extra celebrations to come after.