PREVIEW: Dublin and Mayo prepared to battle for place in the Ladies Football final

The sides meet at Kingspan Breffni Park

Cora Staunton, Mayo

Cora Staunton ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

TG4 All Ireland Senior Championship Semi Final

Dublin v Mayo,

Kingspan Breffni Park,

6:30pm (B. Rice)

Rarely has a match been more highly anticipated than the meeting of Dublin and Mayo in the TG4 Senior Championship semi final. Dublin have been there and done that as they have featured in the last two TG4 All-Ireland Finals where as Mayo, despite all of their experience have not progressed to this stage since 2010 when they lost to Cork and they are hoping to reach their first final since 2008 when they also lost to Cork, for a county like Mayo this is much too long of an absence from the final.

Dublin have progressed well through the championship. They easily claimed the TG4 Leinster championship before being tested to the limit by a very strong Donegal team. Dublin will be a better team for that stern test against good opposition and will have learned a lot about themselves. Deirdre Murphy retains her place at full back after impressing in the Donegal game and she holds off the challenge of Muireann Ní Scanaill who is injury free. Niamh McEvoy is named to start after performing brilliantly in that Donegal match with Siobhan Woods being held in reserve after making a big impact when introduced off the bench against Donegal.

The Mayo team shows just one change from the team that struggled to overcome a very resilient Westmeath side in their TG4 quarter-final meeting. Grace Kelly starts at wing forward with her sister Niamh, moving to corner forward where she replaces Danielle Caldwell. It was a real struggle for Mayo when they faced a Westmeath side they were expected to easily defeat but that was not how the game developed. Sarah Tierney played an excellent game at full back and she will return to the edge of the square where she will be expected to pick up Sinead Aherne. Martha Carter provides leadership and inspiration from centre back with the energy of Fiona McHale in the middle of the field being a vital component for Mayo. The inside forward line of Rowe, Staunton and Niamh Kelly is a very strong looking unit. However, for Mayo, much of their hope will be pinned on Cora Staunton. The Carnacon hero was unusually wayward against Westmeath but she will surely be back to her best with the prospect of Croke Park being so close.

Dublin, despite being a very young team, have much more experience of these big occasions in recent years and that will certainly stand to them against this very strong Mayo team. This game will hinge on Cora Staunton and how she plays. Olwen Carey was excellent against Donegal’s star forward, Yvonne McMonagle, in the quarter-final and she may reprise this role against Staunton, whoever is assigned the job of marking Cora will surely be aided by the likes of Goldrick and Sinead Finnegan. If Dublin keep Cora quiet it will leave them in really good shape but Mayo have some match winners like Rowe, Kelly and Aileen Gilroy that can do lots of damage. This will be a fascinating encounter in which tactics will be hugely important, you feel that this match will be effected as much by the battle on the sideline as it will on the field.