Familiar foes will square off in Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada in Carrick on Shannon on Sunday at 1.30pm, with the Dolores Tyrrell Cup up for grabs. For the second time in as many years, Mayo’s Carnacon will square off against Donaghmoyne from Monaghan for the right to be crowned the best club side in Ireland. The game also sees the meeting of the last two All Ireland champions with Carnacon preceding the Monaghan ladies as the holders of the title, having won their fourth All Ireland senior club title in 2011 with a win over Na Fianna from Dublin. While the Mayo ladies are going for their fifth national title on Sunday, the Monaghan ladies are looking for their fourth, having won the title in 2006 and 2009 to go with their win last year. The side from Farney County also have the upper hand over Carnacon when it comes to final meetings, having beaten the Mayo side twice on the big day, last year and back in 2006 when they claimed their first national senior crown.
Last year’s final saw Monaghan win out by five points on a scoreline of 1-10 to 1-5 in Ballinamore last December, with an impressive display that saw the Donaghmoyne defence hold Cora Staunton to just a single point from play on the afternoon, and their midfield duo of Amanda Casey and Cora Courtney got the better of Claire Egan and Martha Carter in the vital sector.
The game which was played in heavy conditions, saw the eventual winners outscore Carnacon by 0-5 to 0-2 in the second period with Carnacon hanging in there at the break thanks to a goal late in the first half from Natasha Beegan.
Long road to here
In this year’s championship, Carnacon blitzed Castlebar Mitchels in the Mayo final before working their way through the Connacht championship final, where they picked up their eighth provincial title on the bounce with a 0-19 to 0-11 win over Kilkerrin/Clonberene where Cora Staunton kicked 16 of her side’s 19 scores with another match winning display.
In their All Ireland semi-final Carnacon held off a second half fight back against the Laois and Lenister champions Mountmellick Sarsfields to edge home 4-8 to 3-10 winners. The first half saw the unusual sight of Carnacon scoring four goals and only one point and they went in leading by 4-1 to 0-5 at the break. Staunton (who finished up with 2-7 to her name ) scored two of her team’s first half goals with Aoife Brennan adding another brace before the turnaround. Carnacon looked to have the game well wrapped up and were leading by nine points with only 15 minutes to go, but three goals from the Laois ladies in the final quarter saw the Mayo champions holding on for a slender one point victory.
In their semi-final the Monaghan team had a far handier affair seeing off the challenge of Clare and Munster champions Banner by 14 points on a scoreline of 2-16 to 0-8, with Niamh Callan and Cathriona McConnell bagging the goals for Donaghmoyne en route to victory.
Big players on both sides
The Monaghan team will be looking for big performances from the likes of McConnell and Callan along with the three Courtney sisters Fiona, Sharon, and Cora on Sunday. But Carnacon’s management team led by Jimmy Corbett, Michael McHale, and Beatrice Casey will have plenty of ideas worked out how to curb the influence of the Donaghmoyne star players. While in their own ranks they have as much experience and star quality that you could hope for. Cora Staunton is scoring for fun this year, while Claire Egan, Fiona McHale, Noelle Tierney, Martha Carter, and Michelle McGing have all been there and done it before for the ladies in green and red.
Sunday’s meeting of these sides promises to be an exciting encounter full of end to end action and a ding-dong battle on the scoreboard come full time. Carancon are looking for that little bit of revenge for last year and added to their own special qualities they have what it takes to bring the title home to Mayo.