Mayo look to make it a fantastic five

Ladies Football: All Ireland SFC final

Ten years since they last graced Croke Park on All Ireland final day, the Mayo Ladies seniors are back in the big house for a crack at a fifth All Ireland title and their first since 2003. The last time that Mayo won the All Ireland they faced Dublin in the final and squeaked through in a very low scoring encounter on a score of 1-4 to 0-5, but this Sunday's meeting will be a far higher scoring encounter.

Dublin have been in very impressive form seeing off Laois on a score of 8-13 to 2-3 in their Leinster semifinal, before winning their provincial championship by beating Westmeath 3-18 to 0-8 in the final. In the quarterfinal they kept racking up the big scores, seeing off Waterford 2-15 to 1-7 before hammering the Munster champions Kerry 5-10 to 0-11 in the All Ireland semifinal, with Sinead Ahern who broke Mayo hearts with a last minute winning free in the 2016 semi-final scoring 2-7, while Noelle Healy bagged 2-0 and Nicole Owens 1-1 in that win. Ahern had scored 1-9 in their quarterfinal win, Owens 1-4, and Healy scored 0-2.

Much like Mayo manager Frank Browne, Dublin manager Mick Bohan is back for a second stint in charge of the side, having previously been their manager in 2003 when Mayo beat them in the final. This will be Dublin's fourth successive All Ireland final in a row having been beaten by Cork in the last four. Dublin last won the title in 2010, the only side to break Cork's winning run of 11 All Ireland titles.

Mayo have had to overcome the disappointment of losing the Connacht final to Galway, coming on the back of a poor league run that saw them battling to avoid relegation to division two. But since the Connacht final they have been in excellent form seeing off Kildare in a qualifier game, before knocking out a very fancied Donegal side who had gone to the league final and won the Ulster title. Mayo showed massive fight and quality to come back from conceding two early goals against Donegal in that game and winning well in the end. In their semifinal they caused the biggest shock of the year dethroning Cork after a classic encounter in Cavan. Cora Staunton is the lynchpin still of the Mayo attack, but Grace Kelly, Niamh Kelly, Sarah Rowe, and Ciara Whyte have been in brilliant form in the forward line. In the middle of the park, Aileen Gilroy and Fiona McHale have been in excellent form providing an attacking platform along with covering their defence. At the back Yvonne Byrne's experience in goal has been key to Mayo's success and her penalty save in the semifinal was a major game changing moment. Team captain Sarah Tierney will hold things together in the full backline with Orla Conlon and Martha Carter either side of her, while the half back line of Rachel Kearns, Fiona Doherty and Marie Corbett provides serious defensive cover along with a flying attacking support for the forward line.


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