A glance at this weekend’s ladies football games

Compiled by Jackie Cahill

EIGHT counties are aiming for coveted semi-final slots in the 2023 TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship over the coming weekend.

The last four clashes, which will be played at Semple Stadium on Saturday July 29, will be confirmed following what promise to be four brilliant quarter-finals.

Three games are down for decision on Saturday as Galway host Mayo in a Connacht derby, Armagh welcome Cork to the Box-It Athletic Grounds, while Kerry and Meath meet in a repeat of last year’s Final at Austin Stack Park, Tralee.

On Sunday, Dublin make the trip to Ballybofey to tackle Donegal, who knocked them out at this stage last year.

The winners of the Armagh/Cork and Donegal/Dublin games will meet in the semi-finals, while the teams who emerge from the Kerry/Meath and Galway/Mayo ties will play each in the last four.

Also on Saturday, Laois take on Cavan and Tipperary play Waterford in Senior relegation clashes.

The winners of both games will preserve Senior Championship status for 2024, while the losers will play off on Saturday July 22, with one team to be relegated from the Senior ranks.

Also on Sunday, the 2023 All-Ireland U16 champions in the A, B and C grades will be crowned.

 Saturday July 15   

 TG4 All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals 

 Galway v Mayo; Pearse Stadium, Salthill, 1.30pm – Live on TG4
Galway and Mayo meet again in a repeat of the TG4 Connacht Final, which Mayo won at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park.

But Galway now have home advantage in the All-Ireland quarter-final, and they’ll look to make that count against their neighbours.

Galway beat Cork and Tipperary impressively to secure a home quarter-final, while Mayo defeated Laois and lost narrowly to Armagh.

Galway are unchanged following victory over Tipperary, while Mayo have made two changes to the team that started the Armagh loss.

Sarah Mulvihill and Tara Needham are called into the starting line-up, with Saoirse Delaney and Shauna Howley dropping to the bench.

Galway: K Connolly; K Geraghty, S Ní Loingsigh (capt.), A Ní Cheallaigh; A Molloy, N Ward, S Brennan; L Ward, H Noone; O Divilly, L Coen, L Noone; T Leonard, A Davoren, R Leonard.

 Mayo: L Brennan; É Ronayne, C McManamon, S Lally; D Caldwell, C Needham, K Sullivan (capt.); A Geraghty, F McHale; M Cannon, S Cafferky, S Mulvihill; T Needham, D Doherty, S Walsh.

Armagh v Cork; Box-It Athletic Grounds, 3.30pm – Live on TG4
In the Ulster Final, Armagh were stunned by Donegal but the Orchard County have regrouped impressively since then.

On Saturday,  they meet Cork in the TG4 All-Ireland Championship for the first time since 2019 – and Armagh won that group fixture in Tullamore.

Cork have been moving steadily under Shane Ronayne, beating Kerry to win the Munster Final before falling to defeat against Galway in Salthill.

Cork had to beat Tipperary to advance and they did so impressively, to tee up this last eight clash with Armagh.

Cork have made one change to the team that defeated Tipp, with Katie Quirke named to start in place of Eimear Kiely, who went off injured last time out.

There’s also one change to the Armagh starting line-up following a last gasp victory over Armagh, as Niamh Marley comes in for Niamh Reel.

Armagh: A Carr; S Grey, C McCambridge, L Kenny; G Ferguson, L McConville, C Towe; N Coleman, E Lavery; B Mackin, A Mackin, E Druse; N Marley, K Mallon (capt.), A McCoy.

 Cork: M O’Sullivan; M Duggan, E Meaney, R Phelan; A Ryan, S Kelly, L O’Mahony; M O’Callaghan (capt.), H Looney; D Kiely, K Quirke, C O’Sullivan; O Cahalane, D O’Sullivan, E Cleary.

Kerry v Meath; Austin Stack Park, Tralee, 7.30pm – Live on TG4
A repeat of the 2022 TG4 All-Ireland Senior Final should draw a big crowd to Tralee.

Kerry have succeeded Meath as Lidl National League Division 1 champions and will now look to end the Royal County’s three-in-a-row All-Ireland bid.

Kerry regrouped from their Munster Final loss to Cork with victories over Dublin and Cavan in the group stages.

Meath, meanwhile, defeated Waterford but fell to Donegal last time out, denying the champions a home quarter-final.

Instead, they make the trip South to face Kerry and manager Jenny Rispin has named an unchanged starting team, while Kingdom joint-bosses Declan Quill and Darragh Long have made five changes to the team that lined out against Cavan.

Eilís Lynch, Aishling O’Connell, Lorraine Scanlon, Niamh Ní Chonchúir and Hannah O’Donoghue are all handed starting berths, as Ava Doherty, Ciara McCarthy, Amy Harrington, Danielle O’Leary and Caoimhe Evans are held in reserve this time.

Kerry: C Butler; E Lynch, K Cronin, C Murphy; A O’Connell, E Costello, C Lynch; L Scanlon, L Galvin; N Carmody, N Ní Chonchúir, A Galvin; H O’Donoghue, S O’Shea (capt.), L Ní Mhuircheartaigh.

 Meath: M McGuirk; Á Sheridan, M.K. Lynch, K Newe; N Gallogly, S Ennis (capt.), E Duggan; M O’Shaughnessy, A Minogue; M Thynne, V Wall, O Lally; M Byrne, S Grimes, N O’Sullivan.

TG4 All-Ireland SFC relegation play-offs 

Waterford v Tipperary; Piltown, 2pm  
Munster rivals Waterford and Tipperary battle it out for survival in Piltown.

The winners here will play Senior Championship football again in 2024, with the losers facing into a last chance saloon meeting with Laois or Cavan on July 22.

Waterford have the psychological edge following victory over Tipperary in the Munster Championship but neutral ground in Pltown could narrow the gap.

Waterford are unchanged after losing out to Meath in the group stages of the All-Ireland series, while Tipp have made two changes to the team that lost to Cork, with Nora Martin and Emma O’Sullivan coming in for Sarah English and Katelyn Downey.

 Tipperary: L Fitzpatrick; E Kelly, L Spillane, E Cronin; L Dillon, M Curley (capt.), C O’Dwyer; L Morrissey, Niamh Martin; C English, E Morrissey, Nora Martin; A McGuigan, E O’Sullivan, A Moloney.

 Waterford: E O’Brien; C Murray, L Mulcahy, A Murray; E Power, E Murray, Karen McGrath (capt.); Á O’Neill, B McMaugh; K Hogan, A Fitzgerald, A Waring; K Murray, Kate McGrath, L McGregor.

Laois v Cavan; Kiltoom, 2pm
Laois came up from the Intermediate ranks last year and will be anxious to avoid dropping back down quickly.

The O’Moore County tackle Cavan in Kiltoom, with the winners staying alive in the Senior grade, while the losers will play Waterford or Tipperary on Saturday week, July 22.

Cavan found themselves in a tough group in the All-Ireland series alongside Dublin and Kerry, and lost both games.

Laois were pitted with Armagh and Mayo, and suffered defeat in those two fixtures.

Laois have made two changes following the Mayo defeat, with goalkeeper Eimear Barry coming in for Naomi Luttrell, while Aoife Kirrane replaces Eva Galvin.

For Cavan, Keri McCormack replaces Geraldine Smith in the one change in personnel from the Kerry game.

Laois: E Barry; S Farrelly, C Dunne, A Kelly; S Havill, E Healy (capt.), L Nerney; A Healy, O Hennessy; A Kirrane, L.M. Maher, A Moran; S.A. Fitzgerald, M Nerney, K Donoghue.

 Cavan: Róisín O’Reilly; C Brady, S Lynch, C Charters; E Halton, N Byrd (capt.), Rebecca O’Reilly; C Madden, E Madden; A Walls, A Sheridan, K McCormack; M Cusack, G Sheridan, A Gilsenan.

Sunday July 16    

TG4 All-Ireland SFC quarter-final

Donegal v Dublin; MacCumhaill Park, Ballybofey, 2pm – Live on TG4
Donegal and Dublin meet for the third successive season in the quarter-finals.

Dublin won in 2021 but Donegal turned the tables last year in what was viewed as a shock win.

Dublin will know all about Donegal’s ability to frustrate them and the Sky Blues will need to be at their attacking best to advance.

The headline team news is a first start of the season for Donegal’s All Star forward Geraldine McLaughlin.

The ace attacker replaces Shannon McGroddy as boss Maxi Curran makes one change to the team that beat Meath impressively last time out.

Dublin boss Mick Bohan has made six changes to the team that beat Cavan.

Leah Caffrey, Martha Byrne, Aoife Kane, Caoimhe O’Connor, Jodi Egan and Orlagh Nolan come in for Grainne Fitzsimons, Faye O’Connell-Bell, Niamh Hetherton, Annabelle Timothy, Danielle Lawless and Sinead Wylde.

Caffrey, Byrne and Kane have shrugged off knocks picked up against Kerry in the group fixture at Parnell Park.

 Donegal: C Friel; N Carr, A Temple Asoko, E Gallagher; A Boyle Carr, Nicole McLaughlin, T Hegarty; R Rodgers, Niamh McLaughlin (capt.); S White, K Long, K Dowds; N Hegarty, K Herron, G McLaughlin.

 Dublin: A Shiels; N Crowley, L Caffrey, N Donlon; L Magee, M Byrne, A Kane; E O’Dowd, J Dunne; C O’Connor, C Rowe (capt.), J Egan; H Tyrrell, K Sullivan, O Nolan.

All-Ireland U16 A Final  

Cork v Cavan; Bretland Park, Clara, Co. Offaly – 3pm
This fixture pits last year’s runners-up, Cork, against Cavan, who are appearing in their first All-Ireland U16 A Final since 2003.

Cork will look to bridge a nine-year gap by landing the All-Ireland U16 A title on Sunday, and what would be their tenth in total should they succeed, while you have to go all the way back to 1977 for Cavan’s solitary title.

For Cavan, Sunday will mark their fourth All-Ireland U16 A Final, following previous appearances in 1977, 1979 and 2003.

Cork and Cavan are fresh from their respective semi-final victories over Dublin and Mayo.

Cavan: F Higgins; C Hegarty, C McDonnell, K Grigerenko; A Kennedy, K.M. Reilly (capt.), C Crowe; E Mussi, L Miney; R Gilmartin, E Sheridan, K Fegan; M Lynch, C Clarke, K O’Meara.

Cork: A Toye; É Walsh, A Tobin, A O’Sullivan (capt.); R Breen, M McRea, M Barrett; J Foskin, K McEntee; C Murphy, E O’Donovan, C Horgan; E Nagle, L Walsh, K Carey.

All-Ireland U16 B Final 

Kerry v Sligo; Duggan Park, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway – 2pm
This fixture features two counties appearing in the All-Ireland U16 B Final for the very first time, namely Kerry and Sligo.

Kerry have played in 11 A Finals, winning four of them, while Sligo’s only previous experience of All-Ireland U16 Final was a 2019 defeat to Louth in the C grade.

Kerry and Sligo are fresh from their respective semi-final victories over Meath and Armagh.

Kerry: L Harrington; J.L. O’Connor, G Murphy, A Collins; S Colleran, L O’Connor, E O’Brien; A O’Sullivan, M.K. Smith (capt.); K O’Sullivan, L Slattery, K Riordan; M Mulvihill, L O’Connor, S Fitzgerald.

Sligo: R Davey; C Crawley, K Feeney, S Walsh; A Durcan, L Henry, G O’Callaghan; R McGoldrick, L Galvin; C Burns, K Flynn, G Cooke; C Gallagher, S Corcoran, E Giblin.

All-Ireland U16 C Final  

Antrim v Clare; Clane, Co. Kildare – 2pm
This fixture pits Clare, who have won the A title four times, against Antrim, who are appearing in an All-Ireland U16 Final for the very first time.

Clare have appeared in All-Ireland U16 A, B and C Finals at various times, and their last C Final was against Laois in 2013.

Clare are chasing a very first All-Ireland C title so history is in the making for Sunday’s winners, whoever they may be.

Antrim and Clare are fresh from their respective semi-final victories over Leitrim and Louth.

Antrim: H McGahey; C Scullion, J Peoples, O Neeson; S Bradley, N Munce (capt.), L Cassidy; E Neeson, A Rice; L Stewart, M Mills, A Monaghan; H Donaghy, K McCloskey, E Stewart.

Clare: N O’Loughlin; K Culligan, A Cahill, E Burke; Abi Kelly, Aisling Kelly, H Keating; A Cowe, S Clancy; L Kelly, S Culleton, E Nagle; H O’Shea, Á McNamara, R Meaney.

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