A first league title beckons for Galway ladies

Galway will put their unbeaten record on the line when they take on Cork in the Bord Gáis Energy Ladies National Football League division one final on Saturday (5.15pm ).

The Galway ladies, who topped the division, are facing the league runners-up and the current All Ireland champions in what promises to be a fiercely fought final in Parnell Park,

This is Galway’s first league final since losing to neighbours Mayo in the 2007 decider, while Cork are the past masters, seeking their third successive title and a fifth in six seasons.

The two sides met earlier in the league in Buttevant and that fixture proved to be a real thriller. Cork went out in front early on, helped by three goals, as Galway found themselves 10 points in arrears.

However a battling second-half display saw Galway come back to force a draw and in the end they were unlucky not to win it.

Galway’s character has shone throughout the campaign, and again in the semi-final in Kiltoom against Laois, Galway produced another gritty display. Laois edged it at half time, but the second-half introductions of Dora Gorman, Patricia Gleeson and Una Carroll, coupled with goals from Edel Concannon and Lorna Joyce, saw Galway book the final spot.

Now it is a case of third time lucky for Galway, having lost in 2005 to Cork, and then to Mayo in 2007.

Manager Gay O’Brien has no fresh injury worries ahead of the game with Gorman, Gleeson and Carroll all pushing for starts after proving their fitness against Laois.

It also remains to be seen whether O’Brien will stick with Joanna Connolly in goal or recall experienced Corofin stopper Tina Hughes.

Cork have won four of the last five national league titles, and it will not be easy to stop Valerie Mulcahy and Angela Walsh.

They were at their best when they defeated Monaghan by 1-21 to 0-11 in their semi-final, with some eight players registering scores, and Galway’s defence will need to stop Mary O'Connor, Ciara O'Sullivan, Amy O'Shea and Nollaig Cleary in attack.

However Galway have their own aces, not least Niamh Duggan, who finished with a top score of eight points against Laois, in addition to the scoring-taking ability of Concannon and Joyce.

Gay O’Brien’s side has enjoyed a remarkable campaign to date remain unbeaten in 2010 and it would be appropriate for Galway to complete the league unbeaten and win their first National League title.

 

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