Salthill Devon Ladies, backboned by seven of last year’s victorious u-16 squad, will take on local rivals Galway Bohemians in an historic All Ireland Intermediate final Saturday in Terryland (7.30pm ).
This is a first time that at any grade two teams from Galway will contest an All Ireland final and will surely attract a huge crowd to the Dyke Road venue.
Salthill will be hoping to complete a unique double with already having defended their u-16 title with a comprehensive victory over Dublin side St. Josephs a couple of weeks ago. Bohs will provide stern opposition and will not lack confidence as they dispatched a weakened Salthill side 3—0 in the local Galway Cup semi-final last week. This match will count for nothing though as both sides will have a different look when they clash on Saturday night.
There are 20 of Stephen Lally’s Galway squad on view, who performed with such distinction in Europe earlier this month in Sarajevo where they finished runners up in a group which included the national champions of Bosnia , Belarus and the eventual winners Switzerland, doing battle in what should be a classic encounter.
Commenting on the final Lally says: “ It shows the strength of the ladies’ game in Galway . They were fantastic playing together for Galway, and I for one am really looking forward to a great game in Terryland next Saturday night.
“I would encourage football people to come along. They will be pleasantly surprised at the skill level and commitment of the players involved.”
Both sides have youth and experience with Salthill looking to their inspirational captain and full international Meabh De Burca in mid-field where she is joined by the impressive Ruth Fahy. On the flanks Julieann Russell and Brenda Flannery should be a constant threat to a Bohs’ defence that will look to the experience of Annette Clark, Theresa Fahy, and youthful pacy full backs Deirdre Connell and Tara Gavin to keep them under wraps. Bohs will not be shy going forward either, with Michelle Glynn a flyer on the right wing and potential match winner Kara Mullins who is bound to have a major say in where the title goes. Aoife Burke will also add pace and strength to the Bohs’ attack. Salthill’s defenders Aine Hannon, Becky Walsh, Caroline Carter, and Emer Flatley have all experienced victory at under age level and they will relish the test against the big names from Bohs.
Midfield will have a huge bearing on the outcome and Bohs’ Grainne Barrett (back after a long-term injury ), Linda Rice, and Heather Duffy will be hoping to win enough ball to supply their potent attackers. Likewise Salthill will be hoping that up front live wire Lucy Hannon and Richael O’Brien will keep the Bohs’ defence busy, where they will have it all to do to get past Mellisa Casserly.
Salthill Devon also have a great keeper in Nikki Cullina, while Anna McCormack, Daga Zolty, Anna McGrath, Imelda Gordon, and Ann Marie McDonough, who had a mighty game against Drogheda in the semi-final, will all be vying for a starting place in the final.
All of the players involved know each other very well but none we suspect better than the Mullins sisters Kara for Bohs and Tessa for Salthill - a case most definitely of a household split down the middle.