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Champions Cork set for rematch of 2016 semi-final with Monaghan after senior championship draw

The winners will take on Galway at the quarter-final stage.

Cork's Orla Finn and Monaghan's Rachel McKenna in opposition last September.
Cork's Orla Finn and Monaghan's Rachel McKenna in opposition last September.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

REIGNING ALL-IRELAND ladies football champions Cork face a rematch of last year’s semi-final against Monaghan as they bid to get their season back on track after tonight’s TG4 senior championship draw.

After losses to Waterford and Kerry in Munster, Ephie Fitzgerald’s Cork side are set to head down the qualifier route.

In this evening’s draw at Croke Park, they were pitted against Monaghan in a repeat of last September’s semi-final tie at the Gaelic Grounds, which Cork won by 2-10 to 1-10.

The winners of that game will take on Galway, crowned Connacht champions last weekend with a 3-12 to 1-8 win over Mayo, at the quarter-final stage.

Fresh from their Ulster final win over Monaghan last weekend by 4-11 to 0-15, Donegal are the only other side currently assured of a place in the quarter-finals.

After clinching the Lidl Ladies National League Division 1 title title earlier this season against Donegal, Cork have found themselves in a position where they will not contest the senior Munster decider for the first time since 2004.

They’ve also lost some key members of the panel, with Rena Buckley committing exclusively to camogie this year, while Briege Corkery is unlikely to feature in the championship.

An apparent drop in form, coupled with the absence of those aforementioned players from the Cork squad, could present Monaghan with a significant opportunity to derail the reigning All-Ireland champions.

Speaking at the draw this evening, Monaghan All-Star legend Niamh Kindlon remarked that meeting Cork at this stage of the All-Ireland campaign, could work in her county’s favour.

Niamh Kindlon Niamh Kindlon in action for Monaghan in 2012. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“It’s (Cork) the team that was surprisingly in the hat for the first time in a decade. I suppose anyone coming up here tonight was hoping to avoid Cork.

“Monaghan had a tough match last week in the Ulster final against Donegal but I feel that this is the time to get Cork — early in the rounds.

“The one year that they slipped up and didn’t win the All-Ireland (2010), they were beaten in the quarter-final, so this might be the stage to get them. You never know (after that).”

She also pointed to Cork’s victorious display in the league final, and said that Cork still have an ability to play with composure in pressure situations.

“They’re a young crop, and probably a little bit inexperienced. But they’ve been training with those experienced players the last number of years.

“You could see it in the League final, they still have this unbeaten mentality. When Donegal went ahead they never panicked and despite this young team, they never panicked.

“They have that quality, I don’t know where they get it from but they have that quality instilled in them and they’re never beaten. It proved in the League final.

“They’ve got a feel for winning something and they’ll want to push on to win another All-Ireland.”

The Leinster and Munster finals take place this weekend with Kerry face Waterford in Mallow on Saturday and Dublin taking on Westmeath in Carlow on Sunday.

The intermediate championship was also made tonight with the draws in full reading:

TG4 Ladies Football Senior championship

Preliminary Round
Laois v Cavan

Qualifiers
1. Winners Laois/Cavan v Loser Kerry/Waterford
2. Armagh v Loser Dublin/Westmeath
3. Monaghan v Cork
4. Mayo v Kildare

Quarter-finals
Winner Dublin/Westmeath v 1
Winner Kerry/Waterford v 2
Galway v Monaghan/Cork
Donegal v Mayo/Kildare

TG4 Ladies Football Intermediate championship

Preliminary Round
Limerick v Wicklow
Offaly v Louth

Qualifiers
1. Loser Clare/Tipperary v Winner Limerick/Wicklow
2. Loser Meath/Wexford v Winner Offaly/Louth
3. Down v Roscommon
4. Leitrim v Longford

Quarter-finals
Winner Meath/Wexford v 1
Winner Clare/Tipperary v 2
Sligo v Down/Roscommon
Tyrone v Leitrim/Longford

Additional reporting by Sinead Farrell.

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