Tesco Homegrown NFL, Division 1 final
Cork V Galway
Parnell Park, 3.45pm
Live on TG4
TWICE Galway have lost to Cork in Division 1 National League finals, but Saturday could be third time lucky.
The first time the sides met competitively was in 2004 during Eamonn Ryan’s fifth game in charge, when the Tribeswomen ventured to Donoughmore, and took off home happy following their two-point win.
It was about this time that Ryan was getting to know the players, and they he, but it wasn’t a bad ole loss considering that Richard Bowles’ side would go on to win the All-Ireland title later that year against Dublin.
Cork would avenge that first league defeat to Galway a few weeks later however when, in Corofin for the league semi-final, Cork defeated them 0-8 to 0-6 to set up their first place in a Division 1 League final against Mayo.
Incredibly, since then, Cork have featured in 11 finals in the last 12 years, and in Parnell Park on Saturday, they’ll go for their ninth title, in what will be their eighth successive final appearance.
They’re also going for their second three in-a-row, the first of which they completed in 2010 – against Galway in Parnell Park.
Galway on the other hand have reached the final three times – losing in 2005 and 2010 to Cork, and in 2007 against Mayo, who had ousted the Rebels in a shock semi-final defeat in Banagher.
Much comparison has been made of the Galway team of today and the up-and-coming Cork team in 2004/2005. There are a lot of similarities in the fast, attacking football they both delight in, but it’s surprising to see that Galway have in fact more players remaining since their 2005 league final pairing.
Of the starting 15 for Galway in the All-Ireland final in Croke Park in 2005, seven players will be involved on Saturday – Annette Clarke, Edel Concannon, Geraldine Conneally, Emer Flaherty, Lorna Joyce, Johanna Connolly and Patricia Gleeson.
Remaining for Cork are Bríd Stack, Rena Buckley, Briege Corkery, Geraldine O’Flynn, Valerie Mulcahy and Deirdre O’Reilly, however the latter will be absent given she’s on honeymoon following her wedding last weekend.
In 2005, Cork and Galway both qualified for the final in Gaelic Park, Limerick. The game was in fact postponed the first day after a flooded pitch in Dr Hyde Park in Roscommon saw the game called off just half-an-hour before throw-in, which angered many of the travelling Cork fans. The game was then put down for the following week in Limerick, and Cork won 2-13 to 0-6.
It was their first national title under Eamonn Ryan, and a first for the county in that division, and Donoughmore’s Juliet Murphy had the honour of lifting the trophy.
That day however, no one was going to stop Cork. They were unbelievably hungry, and the fact that they had lost the final the previous year to Mayo, having led by six points at half-time, they had a serious point to prove to themselves.
No one had expected them to even get to the final, not a mind beat Mayo. The players were content just to get there, and when they came face to face with the prospect of beating Cora Staunton and Co, they clammed up.
Galway will be in the position Cork were in 10 years ago now. They might not have the experience of contesting the 2014 division 1 final, but they do have the experience of winning the division 2 crown.
Not only that, but just like Cork went into 2005 looking to create history, so too will Galway on Saturday, in that they’ve never claimed the league crown in the top tier.
They’ll be incredibly hungry, and knowing the ins and outs of Parnell Park a year on will very much put them on par.
When the sides met in Mourneabbey in the league earlier this year on a wet, miserable night, Galway were without a number of key players with captain Ger Conneally absent while All-Star winner Aoibheann Daly didn’t tog out due to her upcoming wedding. But, even with so much experience absent, they had players willing and well able to step up to the mark, and in fact had Cork on the ropes.
The visitors had led by a point entering the final minute, but two Cork substitutes managed to defuse the situation as Rhona Ní Bhuachalla hit the equaliser in the 6th minute, before Aine T O’Sullivan pointed the winner in injury time.
With Kevin Reidy and Eamonn Ryan’s sides both reaching their peak now, it’s going to a cracker.
* The game will be broadcast live on TG4 at 3.45pm, following the Division 2 final between Armagh and Donegal at 2pm.
CORK V GALWAY BATTLES:
2005 Division 1, NLF: Cork 2-13, Galway 0-6, Gaelic Grounds, Limerick
2005 All-Ireland final: Cork 1-11, Galway 0-8, Croke Park
2010 Division 1, NLF final: Cork 2-10, Galway 0-9, Parnell Park Dublin
PATHS TO THE FINAL
Rd 1: Cork 2-13, Mayo 1-8, Swinford
Rd 2: Cork 1-13, Kerry 1-12, Cloughduv
Rd 3: Cork 2-10, Monaghan 2-11, Blackhill
Rd 4: Cork 1-14, Galway 3-7, Mourneabbey
Rd 5: Cork 3-12, Tyrone 0-7, Fermoy
Rd 6: Cork 5-18, Laois 1-4, Crettyard
Rd 7: Cork 2-7, Dublin 5-13, CIT
SF: Cork 0-13, Kerry 0-10, Dromcollogher
Rd 1: Galway 6-15, Laois 1-4
Rd 2: Galway 2-9, Dublin 1-12
Rd 3:Galway 4-15, Tyrone 1-6
Rd 4: Galway 3-7, Cork 1-14
Rd 5: Galway 3-12, Kerry 2-9
Rd 6: Galway 2-10, Monaghan 1-8
Rd 7: Galway 1-16, Mayo 2-6
SF: Galway 4-13, Dublin 3-4
Thursday, May 7, 2015