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Ladies SFC previews: Champions Cork have Mayo in sights

Updated: Thursday, 14 Aug 2014 14:40 | Comments

2013 All-Ireland Champions Cork back in action after Munster final win over Kerry
2013 All-Ireland Champions Cork back in action after Munster final win over Kerry

TG4 Ladies Senior Football Championship

Saturday 16 August Armagh v Laois
O'Connor Park, Tullamore, 16:15

Armagh see their first action in the TG4 Championship since their surprise Ulster Final victory over hot favourites, Monaghan, when they face Laois at O'Connor Park Tullamore.

It will be a different build up for this round as Armagh enter this tie as favourites and will have to deal with that pressure.

Captain, Caroline O'Hanlon, has returned from international netball duty at the Commonwealth games with Northern Ireland and will be expected to lead the Armagh side from midfield.

Mairead Tennyson has been a revelation since her switch to defence with Fionnuala McKenna at centre forward enjoying a superb season to date as have Kelly Mallon and Mags McAlinden in the inside forward line.

Laois have not enjoyed the best of seasons having won their way to the Leinster final they were humbled by a rampant Dublin team who were merciless in their dismissal of their neighbours.

However, they took a major step on the road to recovery when beating Cavan last time out and will be hoping to take another Ulster scalp this weekend, Tracey Lawlor has been their talisman for years and it will be interesting to see if she lines up opposite O'Hanlon in midfield.

Laois will need more of the same from Meaghan Dunne, Martha Kirwan and Martine Dunne this weekend if they are to spring a surprise

Saturday 16 August Cork v Mayo
O'Connor Park, Tullamore, 18:00

Saturday marks the anxiously awaited return to action for the defending champions and current TESCO Homegrown National Football League Champions, Cork who haven't been seen since easily defeating Kerry in the Munster Final.

Cork won't need any warnings about how dangerous this stage of the championship can be having struggled against Armagh and Dublin last year.

There is an abundance of talent in this squad that gives this Cork team the looks of an even stronger outfit than in previous years.

However, it will be the usual suspects that you will look to on the Cork 15. Brid Stack and Angela Walsh have both been in fine form as is current Player's Player of the Year, Geraldine O'Flynn alongside Deirdre O'Reilly.

Rena Buckley and Briege Corkery will contest the midfield battle with Annie Walsh and Ciara O'Sullivan operating in the half forward line, Cork will again look to Valerie Mulcahy for the majority of their scores but watch out for rising stars Emma Farmer and Emer Scally being introduced.

Mayo lost to Galway in Connacht for the third time in a row and followed that up with a real struggle to overcome Westmeath in the last round.

They have yet to hit the heights expected of them but there is no better motivation than seeing the Rebellettes at the opposite end of the pitch.

Midfield will be hugely important in this match and in Claire Egan and Fiona McHale the Connacht side have a duo well capable of winning that dual.

Sarah Rowe returned from international soccer duty to be player of the match for Mayo in the last round and she will need to be at her best again to take the pressure of the great Cora Staunton in the full forward position.

Staunton scored 2-06 out of 3-08 against Westmeath, there can be no doubt where the threat to Cork will come from.

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