Rarely has there been a highly more anticipated meeting between Mayo and Dublin on the TG4 Ladies All-Ireland Football semi-final. The game will take at Breffni Park in Cavan with both sides looking to book final spot against either Cork or Monaghan.
Dublin have been done there and done that as they have reached the last two finals, whereas Mayo have not progressed to the final since 2008 despite all the experience in the side. In fact Mayo have not reached an All-Ireland semi-final since 2010, so it will be a big game for all concerned. On both of these occasions Mayo lost to Cork and should they win on Saturday they will be likely opponents in the final.
For a county like Mayo and the talent they have at their disposal it’s a far too long of a wait of reaching this stage. Dublin on the other hand have progressed well in the championship. They easily won the Leinster title before being tested by a very strong Donegal side. The team managed by Gregory McGonigle will be a better team as that stern test would have brought them on and they would have learned a lot of themselves that day.
Deirdre Murphy retains her place at full back after she played very well against Donegal, this means that there is no place in the starting 15 for Muireann Ni Scanaill. Niamh Murphy is also selected to start after performing brilliantly against Donegal, this means that Siobhan Woods will be held in reserve. Woods made a huge impact when introduced against Donegal.
The Mayo team has just one change from the team that defeated Westmeath in the quarter final. Grace Kelly starts at wing forward, with her sister Niamh moving to corner forward, Danielle Caldwell loses her place. Sara Tierney is selected at full back, where she more than likely pick up Sinead Aherne. At centre back Martha Carter is a real leader and she provides the team with inspiration for here. The forwards are very dangerous, the inside line especially. This will compromise of Rowe, Staunton and Niamh Kelly. Mayo will once again for Staunton to pull the strings in attack, although she was quite wayward with her shooting in the game against Westmeath, she can still win the game on her own.
Although Dublin have a young team, in recent season they have more experience of reaching finals and this should stand to them as they face a very strong side Mayo team. If Dublin keep Staunton quite it will be half the battle, if players like Rowe, Gilroy and Kelly get on the ball and score enough I can’t see Dublin losing. I feel that Dublin will come out on top by 3 or 4 points.