This year’s LGFA Senior Championship has provided a few shocks on the way to this weekend’s semi-finals. The biggest one is that neither Dublin nor Cork feature in the final four this summer, which means that it’s set to be the first final since 2002 without either of them in it.
The semi-finals will be played as a double-header at Croke Park on Saturday. We’re in action against Kerry at 2pm while reigning champions Meath take on fast-improving Donegal at 4pm.
Tickets for Saturday are available to purchase here. TG4 will be broadcasting both semi-finals live while Midwest will provide full live radio commentary on our game.
Kerry are joint top with Cork on the overall roll of honour in the LGFA SFC but the last time they won the title was back in 1993. Prior to that, nine of their total of eleven title victories were recorded in succession, from 1982 to 1990.
It’s been a while, though, since the Kingdom were in the shake-up for the Brendan Martin Cup. They last reached the final in 2012 but lost out in that one to Cork. That’s Kerry sole All-Ireland final defeat in the women’s game, by the way.
The most recent time we contested a decider was in 2017 but for the last decade and more we’ve been operating at a higher level than Kerry. The Kingdom are, however, on an upward curve. This spring they won the League Division 2 title, beating Armagh in the decider, the same team they beat last weekend in the All-Ireland quarter-final.
Their Championship form this year contrasts strongly to 2021, where Kerry lost out in the group stage to both Galway and Donegal. This meant they only retained their place in this year’s Senior Championship courtesy of a play-off win over Tipperary.
The year before that they didn’t qualify from the group stage but the win they recorded over Cavan meant they avoided a relegation battle then. Back in 2019 and 2018 they made it through the group stage and onto the All-Ireland quarter-finals, where in both years they were beaten by Dublin.
Saturday’s meeting is pretty much a toss-up according to the bookies. The two sides don’t have much direct experience of playing each other and both will come into Croke Park with momentum, having come through tough quarter-final ties.
Now, for both, just one match stands between them and a place in this year’s All-Ireland final. Getting this far would have been a hope rather than an expectation at the start of this year but both ourselves and Kerry have exceeded expectations so far this year.
Now one of them is set to take the big step into the final and, with it, the right to play for possession of the Brendan Martin Cup. It’s set to be a fascinating tussle, one I can’t wait to see for myself.
We’ll have a bonus pod for our club members tomorrow night, when Mike chats with injured Mayo player and vice-captain, Saoirse Lally. Stay tuned for that.