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Eyes peeled! 8 players to watch out for in the Division 1 ladies football league semi-finals

Cork will battle it out with Mayo, while Dublin will face Galway for a place in the final of the top division.

THE HUNT FOR Division 1 honours heats up this weekend, as the remaining four teams battle it out for a place in the final.

Reigning champions Cork are vying for a sixth consecutive title and will have to navigate their way past Mayo in order to keep their quest on track.

Meanwhile, table-toppers Dublin are still seeking a first-ever Division 1 crown, and will face a Galway side who qualified for the semi-finals on account of their superior score difference against Donegal in their round 2 clash of the campaign.

Galway scored more points than their Ulster opponents in that fixture.

Here, we take you through a selection of players from all four sides who are likely to have a significant impact in determining the outcome of both ties, should they be called upon to play.

The teams will be announced tomorrow.

1. Fiona Doherty (Mayo)

Aoife Kane and Fiona Doherty Fiona Doherty in action for Mayo during their National League clash against Dublin. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Fiona Doherty of the Moy Davitts club is one of Mayo’s most important players and should she feature for Peter Leahy’s side on Sunday, her performance could have a major bearing on the result.

A pacy and skillful player, Doherty was superb for the Green and Red last year. She played an instrumental role in one of Mayo’s three goals in their All-Ireland semi-final victory over Cork, putting midfielder Aileen Gilroy through to score a goal in the second half.

Interestingly, she has been named among the forwards in some of Mayo’s games during this league campaign, which illustrates the kind of versatility she brings to their team.

2. Nicola Ward (Galway)

Nicola Ward celebrates scoring her side's second goal with Gillian O'Connor Galway midfielder Nicola Ward. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

The Kilkerrin/Clonberne clubwoman is an established member of the Galway contingent, who brings a lot of power and strength to the squad.

Ward is an exceptional ball-carrier and can ship tackles with ease while moving at speed. She can thrive in defence, midfield and attack, and will be a player that Dublin will have to subdue when they meet at the weekend.

Although Galway squeezed through to the last four, they are the only side who defeated Dublin in the divisional games, with Ward playing a pivotal role in that victory in Abbotstown.

3. Deirdre Murphy (Dublin)

Deirdre Murphy and Martha Byrne with Cora Staunton Deirdre Murphy tackling Cora Staunton alongside Martha Byrne in the 2017 All-Ireland final. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

A consistent performer in the Dublin defence, Murphy is a regular face in a fiercely competitive full-back line, which features 2017 All-Star nominee Martha Byrne.

When Dublin lost their stalwart centre back Sinéad Finnegan to injury in the early stages of their All-Ireland final last year, it was Murphy who was called upon to step into the action and help drive them to victory.

She previously started the 2016  All-Ireland final, which Dublin lost to Cork.

4. Marie Ambrose (Cork)

Marie Ambrose Marie Ambrose in possession for Cork during the 2016 All-Ireland final. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

2017 was a somewhat disappointing season for Cork, as they lost their All-Ireland title. But Ambrose is a defender who can influence a revival in the Munster side.

An All-Star corner-back from 2016, she has commanded a regular spot in the Cork starting team.

With seasoned campaigners including Briege Corkery, Rena Buckley and Bríd Stack still unavailable to manager Ephie Fitzgerald for selection, Ambrose can provide leadership for Cork as they look to exact revenge on Mayo.

5. Siobhán McGrath (Dublin)

Siobhan McGrath Siobhán McGrath playing for Dublin in the 2010 All-Ireland final. Source: James Crombie

A 2010 All-Ireland winner with the Sky Blues, McGrath is back in the Dublin fold after returning home from Australia.

She was previously cut from the panel along with All-Ireland winning captain Denise Masterson ahead of the 2012 championship, which left many followers of the game stunned by the news.

The Thomas Davis clubwoman has featured for Dublin during the national league, and could make a considerable impact for Mick Bohan’s charges from midfield against Galway.

6. Aileen Gilroy (Mayo)

Aileen Gilroy Mayo's Aileen Gilroy. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Mayo’s midfield is arguably their strongest line on the pitch, with long-time servant Fiona McHale usually forming a formidable partnership with Aileen Gilroy.

Gilroy provides a reliable link between the defence and attack, can carry the ball at pace, and is difficult to disposses.

Her performances in the 2017 championship deservedly resulted in her being awarded a first All-Star last November.

7. Aine McDonagh (Galway)

Source: LadiesFootballTV/YouTube

Moycullen’s Áine McDonagh is a rising star in the Galway senior ranks and scored two points  for the Tribeswomen in their victory over Dublin to end their winning streak in the league.

McDonagh featured in a recent edition of The42′s Ladies Football Show, where she told presenter Emma Duffy about her interesting background in sport, including her links to her late uncle, and Dublin GAA legend, Mick Holden.

8. Eimear Scally (Cork)

Source: officialgaa/YouTube

Scally famously burst onto the Ladies Football scene in the 2014 All-Ireland final, scoring one of the two goals that marked a victorious 10-point turnaround for Cork.

She was introduced as a substitute that day to try and rescue the side from a humiliating defeat, and took on that responsibility despite still being in the minor grade.

Scally has become a mainstay in Cork’s inside forward line, and will be keen to make amends against Mayo, after missing a penalty against them in the All-Ireland semi-final last year.

Lidl Ladies National Football League semi-finals – Sunday 22 April 2018

  • Division 2: Cavan v Waterford — St Brendan’s Park, Birr, Offaly, 1pm.
  • Division 1: Cork v Mayo — St Brendan’s Park, Birr, Offaly, 3pm.


  • Division 2: Tipperary v Armagh — Kinnegad, Westmeath, 1pm.
  • Division 1: Dublin v Galway — Kinnegad, Westmeath, 3pm.

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