IN essence there is no form to assess these four teams on as it is all their competitive debuts in this year’s event but it probably will even matters up somewhat as defending champions Riverdale, Lakeside, St Bridgets and St Bridgets/Poulaphouca bid to win the 2014 National Ladies Inter/Club title in Erry (Semi-Finals) and Tullamore (Finals) on Saturday. Communications & Press Officer Jason O’Connor looks at a contest for a title that is destined to go to either Tipperary, Kildare or switch between the Kildare/Wicklow border!
Semi-Final One: St Bridgets vs. Riverdale
RIVERDALE’s defence of their title is likely to get a very stern test in Erry on Saturday as they face the team they defeated in last year’s semi-finals in Bruff and a club renowned for producing consistently strong Lady players in the form of St Bridgets. A lot of Gents teams would be cautious about playing the Byrne sisters (Chrissie, Margaret and Marian) along with Tara Dillon in full flow but they key thing to remember here is that this is not a Gross competition and Riverdale will look to take advantage on the holes where they will have shots.
The Tipperary club have added to their ranks with Liz Forde joining the three Margaret’s (Clear, Courtney and Forde) along with Megan Courtney and Catherine Dunne in their side. Margaret Clear is just coming off the back of retaining her National Seniors Junior title in Gaeil Colmcille last weekend while she along with Margaret Courtney were on the Tipperary Junior Ladies team that won the inaugural Munster Junior Ladies Inter-County title last month. That will give them some confidence ahead of the challenge of facing some of the country’s finest on Saturday.
After their success in the Kildare colours in Tullamore three weeks ago, the St Bridgets Ladies would no doubt love the chance to claim another National title at the same venue on Saturday afternoon; however this will be an interesting taste of their capabilities in the fact that they will have to concede shots at various holes to their opponents. How they manage to cope with that will be a big factor in determining the winner on Saturday you feel.
Semi-Final Two: Lakeside vs. St Bridgets/Poulaphouca
IN contrast to the other semi-final this is an encounter between two teams probably more similar to each other in terms of handicap and certainly there is no shortage of inter-county experience for the respective teams to call on this year. Lakeside provided a good share of the members of the Munster Senior and Junior winning Tipperary Ladies last month with Martha and Lily O’Brien, Bridget Shelley, Mary Quinn, Helen McMorrow, Elaine Quinn and Josie McCormack all winning provincial medals this year.
St Bridgets/Poulaphouca have three Inter-County medal winners between the Kildare Senior and Intermediate teams themselves with Mairead O’Toole on the Kildare Senior Ladies team that won the National and Mary Sherry and Bernie Dunne on the winning Kildare Intermediate team from the Leinster in McDonagh. This has all the makings of a tight contest and how both teams are set up for the various doubles and singles stages will no doubt be crucial to the eventual outcome. Lakeside just missed out on making the knockout-stages of last year’s inaugural event on match difference while this is this particular set of St Bridgets and Poulaphouca players first outing in the event. Dina Dillon, Evelyn Miller and Gabrielle Sweeney make up the rest of the St Bridgets/Poulaphouca squad.
This is a tough call either way and could well need extra holes to decide the outcome of some of the matches. It may well be the team whose players that have taken the most confidence for their respective 2014’s are the ones who make the big difference in deciding the overall outcome.
Regardless of which of the four teams come out on top on Saturday, countywise both Kildare and Tipperary can be happy with how their Ladies have performed in 2014. The big question now whether we will have an all Tipperary Final, a Kildare vs. Tipperary decider or could we even have the spectacle of club-mates facing off against each other in a National Final? All will be revealed in both Erry and Tullamore this Saturday.
That concludes our look ahead to this Saturday’s National Inter-Club Finals Day, tomorrow we will look at the National Mixed Foursomes Finals in Ringcommons on Sunday.
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