This Saturday sees the eagerly anticipated clash between Cork and Monaghan in the TG4 All-Ireland ladies football senior championship semi-final in Birr.
With Kerry waiting in the wings having already secured their path to the final, both teams will undoubtedly want to book their final berth.
This has the potential to be an absolutely absorbing encounter, with Cork bidding for their seventh All-Ireland title in eight years – a remarkable statistic which they are no doubt eager to continue.
The Rebelette’s facile victory over Donegal in their quarter-final meeting yet again emphasised a huge gulf in class between the sides, with the ladies in red recording a comprehensive 8-27 to 0-2 victory.
To be fair, Donegal were depleted on the day, but this didn’t deter Eamonn Ryan’s ladies, who wreaked havoc in the Donegal defence at any given opportunity.
Nollaig Cleary and Valerie Mulcahy were in blistering form, to name but a few, as the current holders of the Brendan Martin Cup scored at ease against a helpless Donegal defence.
Monaghan, on the other hand, will have other plans. Having recorded an impressive 4-15 to 2-14 win over Mayo in their recent semi-final fixture, they will be feeling quietly confident of causing a shock this Saturday in Birr.
A personal tally of 3-3 from star forward Cathriona McConnell paved the way for her side’s victory over the Connacht side, with Ciara McAnespie and Niamh Kindlon also showing well on the day.
It may have been a different story had Mayo’s Aileen Gilroy thundering shot not hit the crossbar, but the Farney ladies took this is a clear warning sign, and led at all times throughout the course of their semi-final clash.
This clash should be nail-biting and end-to-end encounter, with both sides well capable of producing strong performances when necessary. Both teams should remain unchanged from their respective semi-final games, but the Rebelettes strong list of substitutions may prove to be the difference.
It will boil down to who wants it more, but Cork should prevail in this tight encounter. However, Monaghan will not give up without a ferocious fight.
Throw-in this Saturday is at 4pm in Birr, with TG4 providing live coverage of the game, which is preceded by the clash between Waterford and Fermanagh in the TG4 All-Ireland intermediate championship semi-final at 2.15pm.