Compiled by Declan Rooney
ALL eyes will be on Cork this weekend as the 2019 Lidl National League Division 1 champions have their first outing in the TG4 Championship.
Runners-up in front of a record 50,141 attendance at Croke Park last September, the Rebelettes are determined to go one step further in the forthcoming Championship campaign.
The long and winding road to Croker gets underway for Cork on home turf on Sunday, when they entertain a confident Waterford outfit at Cork IT (5.0).
There’s also action in the TG4 Munster Intermediate Championship this weekend, when Tipperary can book their place in the final if they overcome the challenge of Clare.
Tipp host the Banner County on Saturday at Sean Treacy Park in Tipperary town, and that game has a 2pm start.
Saturday May 25
TG4 Munster IFC – Tipperary v Clare; Sean Treacy Park, Tipperary Town (2.0).
Tipperary served notice of their Championship intentions with a massive Round 1 victory over Limerick at Semple Stadium.
The Premier County can now seal a place in the provincial decider when they welcome Clare to Sean Treacy Park in Tipperary town on Saturday (2.0).
Aishling Moloney was in sensational form for Tipp in their first outing, and she’s a player that the Banner County defence will have to keep a close eye on.
Tipp were relegated from the Senior grade last year but are targeting a swift return to the elite championship ranks.
They’re many people’s favourites to land the TG4 Munster and All-Ireland crowns – but Clare have presented stiff opposition to Tipperary through the years.
A very capable outfit in their own right, Clare will look to the leadership qualities of Laurie Ryan and the firepower of Niamh O’Dea as they look to spring a surprise.
Clare also arrive in Tipperary with the knowledge that even if they come up short in this one, they have another chance to claim a Munster Final slot when they face Limerick in Round 3.
Tipperary (v Clare): L Fitzpatrick; E Buckley, M Curley, N Martin; A R Kennedy, S Lambert, L Dillon; R Daly, A McCarthy; N Lonergan, A Moloney, C Condon; C Lonergan, A Carey, E Morrissey.
Clare (v Tipperary): C Harvey; E O’Dea, E O’Gorman, G Harvey; C O’Leary, L Ryan, S Ni Chonnaill; A Reidy, E O’Connor; R Considine, T Kelly, S Bohannon; G Nolan, N O’Dea, C Callinan.
Sunday May 26
TG4 Munster SFC – Cork v Waterford; Cork IT, (5.0).
Cork recently landed a 12th Lidl National League Division 1 crown – and a first since 2017.
That Final victory over Galway – and two quick-fire wins against Dublin in Round 7 and in the League semi-final – have set Cork up nicely for a huge assault on the TG4 Senior Championship.
They’ll first and foremost aim to retain their Munster title but Waterford will be in no mood to roll over against their much-vaunted opponents.
The in-form Déise claimed the Lidl National League Division 2 title at Parnell Park and will be locking horns with Cork in the top flight next year.
On Sunday, they get to pit their wits against the pre-match favourites in the Championship but Waterford won’t be overawed by the challenge.
Ciaran Curran’s charges also have a notable Championship victory under their belts, as Waterford followed up the League Final win against Kerry with success against the same opposition in Round 1 of the TG4 Munster Championship a fortnight ago.
Cork have named 13 of the players who lined out in the Lidl NFL Division 1 Final, while Waterford have decided to name an unchanged 15 following their impressive victory over Kerry last time out.
Cork have found the Munster Championship a tricky environment in recent times and they won’t need reminding that in 2017, Waterford turned them over with a six-point win.
But 2018 marked a return to provincial silverware for Cork, who will now target back-to-back titles.
A victory for Waterford, however, would send them through to the provincial decider, and leave Cork and Kerry to battle it out in Round 3 for the right to join them in the June 15 showpiece.
Cork (v Waterford): M O'Brien; C O'Shea, E Meaney, M Duggan; S Kelly, A Hutchings, E Kiely; O Farmer, M O'Callaghan; C O'Sullivan, N Cotter, D Kiely; S O'Leary, L Coppinger, O Finn.
Waterford (v Cork): R Landers; A Mullaney, C McGrath, R Casey; Kate McGrath, Karen McGrath (c), R Tobin; E Murray, K Murray; K Hogan, C Fennell, M Delahunty; E Fennell, M Ryan, A Wall.Tweet