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Chloe Towey tries to keep the ball out of reach from Megan Downes Rigney. Photography by Eugene McCafferty Kilmihil 3-08 Doora Barefield 1-06

Banner and Kilmihil likely to renew rivalry in senior final

Senior Ladies Football
Championship Semi-Finals

Kilmihil v St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield at Hennessy
Memorial Park, Sunday 12pm
(Michael Talty,
Kilmurry Ibrickane)

EXPERIENCE was the key separator when the sides clashed in Kilmihil at the start of October as the hosts weathered the storm to eventually carve out a 3-8 to 1-6 victory over the Parish.
With a perfect championship record under their belts before coming up against champions Banner Ladies in a sobering group decider a fortnight ago, Kilmihil have managed to hone their side and blend the likes of exciting talent Edel McNamara into their established core of Ellie O’Gorman, Becky Mahon, Laura Egan, Micaela Glynn, Rosie Currane, Dervla Higgins and Catriona Callinan.
That consistency is something that St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield have struggled to match but their arduous dual commitments of having to play two senior championship ties in the same weekend certainly would have played a part in that. With the camogie side out of the running, the Parish’s full focus will be on Sunday’s high noon showdown but in order to cause an upset, they will require more leaders than just Chloe Towey, Aisling Reidy, Siofra Ní Chonaill and Megan O’Brien to stand up especially up front.
Kilmihil meanwhile are gunning for a fifth final appearance in six seasons, a carrot that should be within their grasp if they can recapture the heights of the group stages.

Verdict: Kilmihil

Banner Ladies v Kilmurry Ibrickane @ Lissycasey,
Sunday 12.30pm
(Frank Culleton, Lissycasey)

It’s a showdown between the current senior and intermediate champions and following a ten point margin in their group meeting, it’s all about how much Kilmurry Ibrickane have improved in their first year back in the top flight.
After all, everyone knows what to expect from the Banner who have invariably been ruthless in their pursuit of silverware and even without the services of injured talisman Niamh O’Dea, if anything it has only forced others to up the ante throughout the field.
There have been slight dips along the way but nothing that their vast experience of 11 senior crowns in the last 13 seasons couldn’t negotiate as they have preserved their perfect record thus far.
Kilmurry Ibrickane saved their best for the knock-out stages last season but would have preferred any other opponent in their long-awaited return to the senior semi-finals. That said, with all the expectations heaped on the Ennis side, there is an element of freedom surrounding Kilmurry Ibrickane as they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
However, anything other than a Banner Ladies victory would be the upset of the decade so far.

Verdict: Banner Ladies

The race to make the leap to senior for 2022 also intensifies this Sunday with a double header in Shanahan McNamara Memorial Park in store for Burren Gaels and Fergus Rovers at 12.30pm and then Miltown and Kilrush at 3pm.
Of course, Miltown are bidding for a third successive final and it’s back to the scene of the crime as it was in Doonbeg that neighbours Kilmurry Ibrickane blitzed them in the decider last September.
They will be wary of a Kilrush side that have been the surprise package of the championship so far while beforehand, it will be an equally intriguing showdown between the 2017 champions Burren Gaels and last year’s semi-finalists Rovers who have clashed in several underage deciders in recent seasons.
Finally, in Clarecastle at 3.30pm on Saturday, the Junior A decider sees the Banner Ladies second string take on Clooney-Quin.
It’s a third final in four seasons for the Ennis side while for Clooney-Quin, a lot will depend on the outcome of their intermediate camogie championship semi-final which takes place the the previous afternoon.

by Eoin Brennan

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