Just as Halloween is about to roll around again for another year, one of the other seemingly annual events is also coming up this weekend, Carnacon are in a Connacht senior club final and the favourites for victory.
The defending All Ireland and Connacht club champions will face off against the Galway champions Kilkerrin-Clonberne on Sunday at 3.30pm. This time last year the same two sides met in the provincial decider with the Mayo women coming out on top by eight points on a scoreline of 0-19 to 0-11. That win gave Carnacon their eighth Connacht title on the bounce and they will head in on Sunday looking to make it nine titles on the trot.
So far this year in the championship, Carnacon steamrolled Hollymount on a score of 9-16 to 0-4 in the Mayo final, before they saw off the challenge of the Leitrim champions, St Patrick’s in the quarter-final in Tubbercurry at the start of the month. They ran out 3-15 to 1-6 winners that day, with Cora Staunton scoring 1-12 over the hour to go with the 7-5 she already had to her name from the Mayo final. Last weekend, it was the turn of the Sligo champions Geevagh to have a crack at the immovable object of women’s club football, but they came up short as Carnacon ran out 3-19 to 3-6 winners , a comfortable 13 point win for the defending champions. Carnacon had to work though to get that win and were trailing in with 20 minutes to go, but were able to push on and Staunton this time chipped in with 1-16 for her side, to bring her championship total to 9-32 from just three games. Going into the final in that kind of form will have the Kilkerrin-Clonberne management having to plot a serious plan to try to curb her influence.
As for their opponents on Sunday, Kilkerrin-Clonberne have had a much tougher route to the final, having being brought to a replay by Corofin in the Galway final, the second year in a row this has happened. But the team captained by Annette Clarke were comfortable winners in the replay under lights in Glenamaddy on a scoreline of 0-11 to 1-3. In their semi-final, the Galway women had it a bit easier when they saw off the challenge of the Roscommon champions St Brigid’s by 15 points a fortnight ago on a scoreline of 2-20 to 1-8 in Ballinlough.
Both sides will be familiar with each other after last year’s tussle in the final, along with both sides providing a number of inter-county players. The Galway side will boast the likes of the previously mentioned Annette Clarke, Nicola Ward, and Louise Ward. Other players who have impressed in this year’s championship run for them are Lisa Murphy in goal along with Lisa Gannon, the Divilly sisters Olivia and Siobhan, and Clare Dunleavey.
While Staunton is the stand out player for Carnacon, there is plenty of other quality through the side with Aoife Brennan, Fiona McHale, Martha Carter, Sharon McGing, and they managed to get over the Sligo champions in the semi-final without the services of key players like Claire Egan ad Michelle McGing who did not line out that day.
Sunday’s clash should be a good game and as they proved last year the Galway girls will not fear the Mayo champions, but Carnacon have made winning at this level more than just a habit, it hass become the expected.
Charlestown bid of maiden provincial success
On Saturday afternoon in Michael Glavey’s GAA grounds in Ballinlough Charlestown will go looking for their first Connacht title. The east Mayo girls will take on St Ciaran’s from Roscommon, champions in the junior final. Charlestown won the Mayo final after a 5-23 to 1-4 win over Achill in the middle of September with Mayo star Deirdre Doherty scoring 2-12 of their total on the way. It was not just Doherty who found the net that day, with Karena Finn also hitting the net twice, and Abigail Doherty also grabbing a major. In their semi-final at the start of the month, Charlestown saw off the challenge of Owenmore Gaels, while their opponents beat Kilgass Gaels to book their spot in the final.