Fever Pitch

Battle for remaining semi-final places heats up in last round of Division 1 group games

Mayo, Donegal and Galway are all vying for the last available semi-final spots in Division 1.

WITH CORK AND Dublin already assured of their places in the last four of the Division 1 Lidl Ladies National Football League, three counties will battle it out for the remaining spots in the last round of group games this weekend.

Galway, Mayo and Donegal are all chasing those last two places, with Mayo currently best placed to take one of them as they sit in third place on the table with a two-point advantage over Galway and Donegal.

They will be looking for a victory against Monaghan to put that beyond doubt, and if Donegal lose that will also be enough to secure Mayo’s passage to the semis.

Meanwhile, Donegal need to win and hope that Galway slip up against Westmeath for them to claim the other semi-final berth.

If both Donegal and Galway finish on level points, the Connacht side will progress to the semi-finals having scored more points in their clash against Donegal in round 2 of the campaign.

The situation could become complicated if both Galway and Donegal win, and Mayo draw against Monaghan. This will mean that all three teams would be level on 13 points each and score difference will come into play.

Donegal currently have the best score difference (+50), compared to Mayo (+9) and Galway (+8) ahead of the weekend’s fixtures.

Donegal have arguably the toughest task of the three counties as they prepare to welcome reigning league champions Cork to Letterkenny.

Maxi Curran has named a strong side for that encounter with Yvonne Bonner, Niamh Hegarty and Geraldine McLaughlin providing the scoring power in Donegal’s attack.

Ciara Hegarty will be expected to marshal the defence from her centre-back position.

Galway travel to take on Westmeath with an experienced starting team.

Sinéad Burke and Nicola Ward will provide defensive strength among the backs, while Olivia Divilly can impose herself on the contest from midfield to feed the ball into the forwards.

Westmeath’s defenders will have to keep a watchful eye on Tracey Leonard who has been selected to start at centre-forward.

Mayo are aiming for a win in their home tie against Monaghan following a mixed campaign which consisted of three wins, two defeats and one draw.

Manager Peter Leahy is putting out an experienced side out to face the Ulster side, with Fiona McHale, Sarah Rowe and the Kelly sisters Niamh and Grace all forming a formidable attack for Mayo.

Dublin have something of a dead rubber contest against the already relegated Kerry at DCU on Saturday, although a win would see them temporarily secure top spot on the table ahead of Cork’s clash against Donegal.

Ciarán McCabe from Southern Gaels will take charge of the Kerry side who are making the trip up to the capital, after manager Graham Shine stepped down from his position earlier this week.


Saturday April 7

Donegal v Cork, 6pm, O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny

Dublin v Kerry, 4pm, DCU

Sunday April 8

Westmeath v Galway, 2pm, St Loman’s

Mayo v Monaghan, 2pm, Swinford

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