Kilkerrin-Clonberne take historic title defence to Croke Park

It will be another big day for Kilkerrin-Clonberne on Saturday when the ladies take on Donoghmoyne in the All-Ireland Senior Ladies Football Championship in Croke Park.

The Galway champions are looking for their second title in a row, having won their first crown last season when they overcame Cork's Mourneabbey by 1-11 to 1-07, and this year they are up against another seasoned outfit, Ulster's Donoghmoyne who have five titles to their name - the last in 2016.

The two sides met recently in the 2021 semi-final which was played in January this year, and on that occasion two goals from Nicola Ward was the difference as the Galway side prevailed and went on to claim their first title.

Galway manager Willie Ward says that game in January is a tell-tale sign how close Saturday's final could be against the Ulster champions who have huge experience of title wins behind them.

"They have loads of All Ireland experience, and have won numerous Ulster titles, so there is a lot of experience, ability, and also dangerous players who can hurt any team. They have good finishers and a lot threat round the field - halfback, midfield and full-forward."

However, the Galway outfit has also improved since their breakthrough last season, and the appetite for success continues among players, management, and the hugely supportive community.

Kilkerrin Clomberne will be mindful of Donoghmoyne's scoring threat, knowing how significant goals proved against the Ulster outfit last year. In a 50:50 game a goal can be the winning or losing of a title, particularly in a game of tight margins, which is expected between these two sides.

However, the Galway outfit has matured since last season's final, gaining valuable experience and understanding from that journey, which will hopefully stand to them on Saturday. They come into the final on the back of a solid 2-10 to 0-2 win over Waterford's Ballymacarbey last month - a game in which Ailish Morrissey was the scorer-in-chief with 1-3 in her side's 14-point victory.

Louise Ward captains the side, which boasts experienced players in Morrissey, the Noone sisters, Chloe Miskell, Nicola Ward, and Olivia Divilly.

On this historic occasion playing for the first time in Croke Park, the scene is set for a closely-fought battle between these two outfits. Donoghmoyne will be out to avenge last year's exit in the semi-final; Kilkerrin-Clonberne, having prevailed last season, have banked that experience and know that possession is key to winning the crown again.

In the junior decider, first-time finalists Salthill-Knocknacarra will hope to become the second club from Galway to win this competition, following victory for Caltra Cuans in 2010.

They will face Naomh Abán from Cork, who were All-Ireland intermediate champions in 2003, on Sunday in Killmallock (1pm ).

Salthill-Knocknacarra defeated Dublin club O’Dwyers in their recent semi-final, while Naomh Abán got the better of Monaghan opponents Castleblayney Faughs.


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