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Previews: All-Ireland Ladies SFC qualifiers

Updated: Friday, 09 Aug 2013 12:40 | Comments

Cora Staunton looks likely to fire Mayo to victory again
Cora Staunton looks likely to fire Mayo to victory again

Westmeath v Mayo, Pearse Park, Longford, 2pm

Westmeath make the short trip to Longford high on confidence after beating pre-match favourites Donegal in their last outing at Carrick-on-Shannon.

Ruth Kearney, Karen Hegarty and Fiona Leavy are proven scorers but Donegal were understrength and Mayo will provide a higher class of opposition.

The Westerners are smarting from big game defeats against Cork in the Tesco Homegrown NFL Division 1 final, and against neighbours and provincial rivals Galway in the Connacht decider.

And while Westmeath will give it everything, a Mayo side spearheaded by attacking star Cora Staunton will have too much class.

Verdict: Mayo

Clare v Tyrone, Pearse Park, Longford, 3.45pm
Clare recovered brilliantly from their Munster championship mauling against Kerry by edging past Kildare in an extra-time thriller.

Niamh O’Dea was the scoring star from that round 1 qualifier as the full-forward finished with a haul of 2-7.

The Tyrone defence will need to keep a close eye on O’Dea but the Ulster semi-finalists are a superior calibre of opposition to Kildare.

Tyrone have dipped well below the high levels of 2010, when they reached an All-Ireland final, but the Red Hands still have enough about them to get the job done here.

Verdict: Tyrone

Laois v Meath, St Brendan’s Park, Birr, 4.15pm

This result could hinge on how badly Meath were scarred by their heavy Leinster final defeat against Dublin.

Their qualifier with Laois in Birr on Saturday is a repeat of the provincial semi-final between the counties, which Meath won by 3-7 to 1-8.

But Laois have been working away quietly behind the scenes to get their campaign back on track, with Meath left questioning themselves again after losing a third Leinster final in a row.

In recent years, Laois have provided tough opposition for most opponents and while this is the toughest of the four qualifiers to call, the O’Moore girls get the nod as they aim to gain revenge for the Leinster semi-final loss.

Verdict: Laois

Armagh v Cork, St Brendan’s Park, Birr, 6pm

Juliet Murphy looks to set to complete a remarkable retirement U-turn by featuring for Cork against Armagh.

And the All-Ireland champions could badly do with their seven-time All-Ireland medallist as they look to get their campaign back on track.

Cork lost twice to Kerry in the Munster championship and are now going through the back door in pursuit of the Brendan Martin cup for the very first time.

They won’t get anything easy against an Armagh team that lost the Ulster semi-final by a point against Tyrone but the Orchard County operate in Division 3 and Cork are top-flight opposition.

Verdict: Cork

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