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Dublin: 12 °C Saturday 23 August, 2014

Cork the favourites but Monaghan to come good and claim All-Ireland

Cork and Monaghan take centre stage at Croke Park, following the junior and intermediate finals.

Senior finalist captains Monaghan's Therese McNally and Ciara O'Sullivan of Cork.
Senior finalist captains Monaghan's Therese McNally and Ciara O'Sullivan of Cork.
Image: INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

TG4 All-Ireland ladies junior football championship final

Offaly v Wexford — Croke Park, Dublin — 12pm

THESE TWO SIDES have met twice already in this year’s championship and it is very much advantage Offaly.

The Faithful County won by 10 points in the Leinster final in July, before scoring a nine-point success in the round-robin section of the All-Ireland championship.

Another line of form points firmly towards an Offaly victory, as both sides have met Louth in the championship. Offaly beat the Wee County by 13 points but Wexford had just four points to spare against the same opposition, in their All-Ireland semi-final.

Offaly have been scoring for fun, registering 11-60 in their last four outings, and it would be a major surprise if they don’t finish the job by lifting the West County Hotel Cup.

Betting: Offaly 2-9 Draw 12-1 Wexford 7-2

Verdict: Offaly

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Junior finalist captains Kellie Kearney of Wexford and Siobhan Flannery of Offaly. INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan

TG4 All-Ireland ladies intermediate football championship final

Cavan v Tipperary — Croke Park, Dublin — 2pm

CAVAN, beaten finalists two years ago, and Tipperary, champions in 2008, go head-to-head for the Mary Quinn Memorial Cup.

Tipp scored a quite sensational semi-final victory over Ulster champions Fermanagh, with a finish that has gone viral on social media. The Premier County looked dead and buried before they hit 1-2 in the final minute to stun the Ulster champions in Thurles.

But despite bowing out of the Ulster championship at the semi-final stage, Cavan will provide a stiffer test for Tipperary at Croke Park. The Breffni County may have lost against Down in the last four of the provincial championship but when the sides met again in the All-Ireland semi-final, Cavan won by 13 points on home soil.

Bronagh Sheridan and Gráinne Smith were magnificent in attack, hitting 3-6 between them, and they have the firepower to inflict further damage on Tipperary. The beaten Munster finalists won’t lack for effort but Cavan have better scoring potential and that will see them home.

Betting: Cavan 2-5 Draw 10-1 Tipperary 9-4

Verdict: Cavan

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Tipperary’s Ann O’Dwyer is outnumbered two to one by Cavan’s Roisin O’Keeffe and captain Donna English. INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan

TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football championship final

Cork v Monaghan — Croke Park, Dublin — 4pm

FOR the third time in six seasons, Cork and Monaghan clash in the TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football championship final.

All-conquering Cork, the holders, are going for their eighth title in nine seasons while the Brendan Martin Cup has not visited Monaghan since 1997.

Monaghan have lost all four finals they have contested since then but this is their best chance to end that run. Under manager Gregory McGonigle, the Ulster champions have been knocking on the door in recent seasons and it really is now or never for them.

Monaghan possess the pace and firepower to really trouble Cork, who are chasing a third successive All-Ireland, but they will find it difficult to penetrate a half-back line brilliantly anchored by Geraldine O’Flynn and Briege Corkery.

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Cork’s Deirdre O’Reilly and Briege Corkery celebrate All-Ireland success last year. INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Monaghan had to work hard for their five-point victory over Galway in the semi-finals and while they looked comfortable throughout, Cork won’t have been unduly worried by the Farney County’s display.

The Rebelettes took care of business against Kerry, who had beaten them twice in the Munster championship, and look to have rediscovered something like their best form in their last two outings.

Nonetheless, Monaghan will take heart from the fact that Kerry were good enough to expose Cork not once, but twice. And McGonigle’s girls simply cannot afford to lose another All-Ireland final, with Seamus ‘Banty’ McEnaney performing an influential role in the backroom team.

Betting: Cork 8-11 Draw 9-1 Monaghan 13-10

Verdict: Monaghan

Cavan skipper English hoping experience proves the key against Premier

Here’s your GAA coverage on TV and Radio this week

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