Cork and Donegal meet tomorrow at Dr Hyde Park in an All-Ireland semi-final that will revive memories of their classic Lidl NFL Division 1 final at Parnell Park last year (throw-in 2.45pm).
By Jackie Cahill
Donegal will take heart from an impressive 4-11 to 2-3 victory over Cork in the group stages of this year’s League campaign but Cork were already through to the knockout stages by then.
From the outside looking in, Donegal appeared to have tailed off slightly following their impressive cruise to the TG4 Ulster championship.
They had to work hard to achieve qualifier victories over Kerry and Tipperary and were run to three points by Armagh in the All-Ireland quarter-final.
Manager Maxi Curran is an astute character, however, and will aim for his team to peak for the business end of the campaign, as Donegal prepare for the county’s very first All-Ireland senior semi-final appearance.
Cork have been hugely impressive to date and have bagged 23 goals in just five championship outings, including six for Ciara O’Sullivan and five for teen sensation Saoirse Noonan, who’s made big impacts off the bench.
The quarter-final victory over Westmeath, when Cork scored 8-18, was a statement performance from the Rebelettes.
Manager Ephie Fitzgerald has made one change to his starting line-up from that game, with fit-again Hannah Looney coming at midfield to replace Daire Kiely, who was a late replacement last time out.
Skipper Karen Guthrie, who was carrying a knock, returns to the Donegal starting team after she came off the bench against Armagh.
Anna Maria McGlynn switches to wing-back and Emer Gallagher drops to the bench in the only change in personnel.
Donegal’s Geraldine McLaughlin is the current senior championship top scorer, with a running total of 4-34.
Cork: M O’Brien; E Meaney, R Phelan, M Duggan; M O’Callaghan, S Kelly, E Spillane; A Hutchings, H Looney; C O’Sullivan, L Coppinger, E Scally; Á O’Sullivan, D O’Sullivan, O Finn.
Donegal: L Gallagher; T Doherty, N McLaughlin, D Foley; T McCafferty, C Hegarty, A.M. McGlynn; K Herron, A McDonnell; K Guthrie, N Hegarty, S.J. McDonald; G McLaughlin, Y Bonner, E Ward.