TG4 All-Ireland Ladies SFC Final
16th September 2018
Croke Park, 4pm
Dublin v Cork
Dublin make their fourth consecutive appearance in an All-Ireland Senior Final on Sunday, 16th September in Croke Park. The Dubs take on Cork who are returning once again to the ultimate game of the championship after a brief hiatus last year. This is a familiar pairing with the two teams having faced each other in 3 finals between 2014 and 2016.
Cork and Dublin have shared the spoils of ladies gaelic footballing war for the last 15 years. Cork won their first 5-in-a-row in 2009, with Mary O’Connor’s memorable challenge to the Kilkenny hurlers “We’ll see your four and raise you one!” ringing out in the aftermath. Dublin rudely interrupted Cork’s winning ways when they beat Tyrone back in 2010 for the first time in their history. The status quo was restored the following year with the Rebels’ return to the final and the beginning of the quest for a second 5-in-a-row. This time around they went one step further and won 6 consecutive senior titles, to strengthen their claim as the GOAT – Greatest Of All Time.
Cork and Dublin had mirror image paths to the final. Both counties marched through the earlier stages of the championship, each coming out on top in the provincial deciders. They then put up high scores against their opponents in the All-Ireland Qualifiers (Monaghan and Armagh against Cork; Cavan and Mayo losing to Dublin). Cork then dominated Westmeath in their quarter-final, while Dublin also beat Kerry by a high margin at the same stage. By contrast, the semi-finals ended as much closer affairs. Dublin kept Galway at bay by 7 points, hammering home 4 goals in the process, while 2 goals separated the Rebels from Donegal in the end.
Dublin, of course, go into this year’s decider as All-Ireland Champions. Mick Bohan’s team threw the metaphorical monkey off their back in the 2017 win over Mayo after losing the previous 3 finals against upcoming foes, Cork. In addition to the desire to retain the Brendan Martin Cup for the second successive year, Dublin will be also be eager to see off the team that caused them so much pain 3 years in-a-row. Having also won the National League for the first time, in May, they go into Sunday’s final confident in the knowledge that they are the team to beat.
Cork, meanwhile, are no strangers to this, the very last stage of the Championship. The footballers won’t even need the recent camogie success of dual stars Libby Coppinger and Hannah Looney (both named on the starting team) to spur them on. The fact that they weren’t in contention for the 2017 All-Ireland will be enough to motivate this high achieving team. Since beating Tipperary by 5 points in the Munster semi-final all the way back in June, the Rebels have ruthlessly dictated the course of their championship and will look to continue that trend on Sunday.
With the Cork and Dublin forwards firing on all cylinders throughout the year, and the backs of both sides very stingy in defence, all things point to an evenly-matched contest. However, only time will tell.