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Dublin ladies set for Monaghan test
30 Jan 2015 09:09
TESCO NFL Division 1 (2pm unless otherwise stated) Dublin v Monaghan, DCU, St Clares
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This meeting of two of the top sides in the country is always a keenly contested fixture. Monaghan had a poor campaign by their own standards in 2014 but yet reached the championship and legue semi-finals.
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This year they must plan without the services of All Stars Amanda Casey and Therese Scott but still have some great players to call on including Christina Reilly, Grainne McNally, the Courtney sisters and will be hoping that Caoimhe Mohan can rediscover her best form.
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Dublin will be returning to competitive action for the first time since their stunning defeat at the hands of Cork in Croke Park last September.
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Their squad has been shorn of players like Denise Masterson (retired), Siobhan McGrath and Sinead Aherne who are both travelling and question marks remain over the future of Cliodhna O’Connor.
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Lyndsey Davey has been named as captain for the new season and will be hoping to rediscover her form of last year along with Sinead Goldrick, Noelle Healy and Carla Rowe who are all match winners on their day. Very hard match to call but home advantage should see Dublin edge it.
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Tyrone v Kerry, Gardrum Park
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Tyrone need to get off to a good start to avoid the relegation battles that they have endured in recent years but they start off with a very tough test against the Kingdom.
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Gemma Begley is their star player but they need to discover some more stars to lighten her load. Kerry are under new management and have expanded their panel after using 60 players during preseason.
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They have lost Aoife Kelly and Deidre Corridan but still can call on Bernie Breen, Louise Ní Muircheartaigh and Sarah Houlihan along with key player and new captain, Cáit Lynch. Kerry should be able to get off to a winning start on the road.
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Mayo v Cork, Swinford Community Park
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Cork never have it easy against Mayo and will not fancy getting their quest for three in a row under way in Swinford. Traditionally Cork are sluggish starters so this is the perfect time for Mayo to host the Rebellettes.
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Sarah Rowe should be available along with fellow international soccer player, Aileen Gilroy, who is returning from a knee injury. Fiona McHale, Martha Carter and star player Cora Staunton will all be expected to lead the line in the place of long term injury victim Clare Egan.
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Cork have lost some big names this year with the retirment of All Ireland winning captain, Anne Marie Walsh and Norita Kelly, dual star Angela Walsh is also a long term and questions still remain over the availability of Nollaig Cleary.
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Cork might appear to be weakened but there is no shortage of young talent like Emer Schally, Emma Farmer and Roisin Phelan to go along with players like Briege Corkery, Geraldine O’Flynn and Valerie Mulcahy. You can never write off Cork but this could be an opportunity for Mayo to claim a big victory.
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Galway v Laois, Tuam Stadium
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Recently promoted Galway open up their campaign with a home match at Tuam Stadium against Laois. Galway have emerged as a top 4 side in recent years and will feel that they have the perfect blend of youth and experience to make 2015 their year.
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Annette Clarke, Emer Flaherty and Ger Conneally will provide the expereince with the exceptional Ward twins along with Olivia Divilly providing the youth. Laois will be hoping to banish the memories of a poor 2014 with a good start to the league.
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Phil O’Keefe has introduced plenty of young talent and will be hoping that some returning faces can make up for the loss of the retired Tracey Lawlor. Laois will put up a fight but expect the Tribes to make it a happy return to Division 1.
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DIVISION TWO Meath v Kildare, Ashbourne
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Former Mayo player, Diane O’Hora, has taken the reigns in Meath and will be hoping to make a successful return to management having been involved with Down in 2014.
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Kildare are a team in transition and are under new management with Stephen Maxwell, they will hope to start with a good display against their Leinster rivals but may fall short.
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Cavan v Clare, Kingspan Breffni Park, K Phelan
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Conor Barry leads Cavan into the new season safe in the knowledge that they had a promising campaign with a young squad in 2014 who will build on their experience and hope to improve again this season.
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Clare can be a brilliant football team when they hit their stride and have plenty of individual talent but travelling to Cavan to get a result might be beyond them at this stage of the season.
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Donegal v Armagh, Glenfin
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This is the tie of the round in Division 2 with two teams of who much is expected meeting in Glenfin. Donegal football is on the crest of a wave following the victory of Termon in the All Ireland Club Championship.
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They will be without Geraldine McLaughlin but can call on an abundance of talent. Armagh are in their first year in Division 2 following promotion in 2014 but should waste no time adjusting. In Caroline O’Hanlon and Fionnuala McKenna they have some of the best attacking talent in the country and will have plenty of support from players like Sinead McCleary and All Star Mairead Tennyson.
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Donegal will want to make a statement in this one and with home advantage they should get those early points on the board.
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Westmeath v Down, Kinnegad
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Westmeath lost out to a very talented Galway team in last year’s final and, under new management this year, will be hoping to at least reach that stage again. Down will prove to be a strong threat in the league with star players like Kyla Traynor in their ranks but there is uncertainty over the future of some of their players which should turn the momentum in favour of Westmeath.
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