The lads are already safely through to this year’s All-Ireland final and the ladies are this evening bidding to do the same. They take on Dublin in this evening’s LGFA All-Ireland semi-final at Breffni Park, Cavan,where throw-in is set for 6.30pm.
The Dubs, beaten finalists for the last two years, will be a tough nut for Frank Browne’s charges to crack and the Leinster champions go into this evening’s tie as 8/13 favourites. The handicap is set at a single point, though, so the Girls in Blue aren’t raging favourites. I doubt if our women will be overawed by the challenge they pose.
As Darragh Berry noted in his match preview on the site the other day (thanks again for that one, by the way, Darragh), the Mayo ladies have only lost once this year. That was in the League final against Cork, where it was widely felt afterwards that we’d left a win behind us that May evening at Parnell Park.
Earlier in this year’s League campaign – the day after the lads lost to Dublin in the rain and wind at MacHale Park – the ladies beat this evening’s opposition, running out 2-9 to 1-9 victors at Swinford. There’s a world of difference, I know, between a League match in February and an All-Ireland semi-final at the end of August but that win should give our girls confidence that they can do the business this evening.
Ahead of the game, there are a few pieces in today’s papers with manager Frank Browne (Irish Independent, Irish Examiner), where he speaks bravely about the death of his six-year old daughter Emma back in 2003. In doing so, he places sport – and the importance we tend to put on it – in its proper context. If you can get through these without shedding a silent tear then you’re tougher than I am.
Hopefully there’ll be a big support at the Cavan venue for this one (which, sadly, won’t include me as we’re in the midst of post-holiday, back-to-school chaos right now). For those who can’t make it the match will be broadcast live on TG4 and Midwest will also be providing full commentary on it.
Best of luck to Frank and the ladies this evening as they bid to secure a first LGFA All-Ireland final appearance for the county since 2007.
Before I go, I’ve been asked to give a special shout-out to Crossmolina native Fiona Hiney who, ahead of the throw-in at Breffni Park, will take the field as the first semi-finalist in the LGFA TG4 All-Ireland final National Anthem competition. If you’re going to be at the game, make sure to give her a rousing reception when she performs Amhrán na BhFiann this evening. Give it socks, Fiona. Up Mayo!