Dublin in must-win match against Cork to make NFL knockout stages
Women’s National Football League: Cork v Dublin, CIT (Cork),
Dublin goalkeeper Cliodhna O’Connor: the two-times All Star has announced her retirement from the intercounty team. Photograph: Inpho
On Sunday Dublin travel to CIT for their seventh-round NFL clash with their old rivals Cork knowing that in order to reach the competitions knockout stages they must win. Anything less will see last year’s beaten league finalists out of the competition.
Reigning champions Cork have already qualified for the semi-finals but as to be expected Eamon Ryan has named a strong starting 15. Eleven of Cork’s starting 15 for Sunday’s clash in CIT lined out for the county in last September’s epic All-Ireland final win over Dublin.
Dublin have gone through a mini transition in personnel since the teams last meet in Croke Park with Siobhan McGrath, Natalia Hyland and Sinead Aherne no longer available due to overseas travel commitments.
Two-times All Star goalkeeper Cliodhna O’Connor yesterday announced her retirement while former All-Ireland winning Captain Denise Masterson is another Dublin stalwart not available for selection due to personnel commitments.
Rachel Ruddy and Molly Lamb have been on the long-term injury list while Lamb has come back into contention in the last fortnight having played the final 10 minutes of Dublin’s win over Tyrone in Parnell Park two weeks ago.
Last season All Star nominee Leah Caffrey is not available to the senior panel in 2015 again to travel commitments while fellow 2014 All Star nominee Lindsay Peat is yet to confirm her availability to Gregory McGonigle following the conclusion of her college and basketball commitments to DCU.
So in stark comparison to Cork Leinster champions Dublin throughout their NFL fixtures to date have only been in a position to name at best five of their starting All-Ireland 15. However over the course of the league McGonigle has given a number of the 2014 Under-21 All-Ireland winning team the opportunity to experience top flight football. Players like Olwen Carey, Lucy Collins and Amy Connolly have grabbed the opportunity to command a first-team place with open arms displaying strong performances throughout the league campaign.
While Muireann Ní Scanaill, Kim Flood, Nicole Owens and Hannah Noonan have shown all the attributes to potentially grab a starting position.
Dublin will announce their team on Thursday evening following team training in DCU.
CORK: 1 Martina O’Brien (Clonakilty), 2 Aisling Hutchings (Fermoy), 3 Roisin Phelan (Aghada), 4 Brid Stack (St. Marys), 5 Vera Foley (St. Vals), 6 Roisin O Sullivan (Mourneabbey), 7 Briege Corkery (St. Vals), 8 Rena Buckley (Donoughmore), 9 Geraldine O’Flynn (St. Marys), 10 Jennifer Barry (Bride Rovers), 11 Doireann O’Sullivan (Mourneabbey), 12 Annie Walsh (Inch Rovers), 13 Valerie Mulcahy (Rockbán), 14 Grace Kearney (Bride Rovers), 15 Orla Finn (Kinsale).