TG4 Ulster Ladies Senior Football Championship Final
Monaghan v Tyrone, Sunday, 3.45, Derry
Monaghan will be expected to make it four Ulster ladies SFC titles in a row when they renew rivalries with Tyrone in the final at Celtic Park on Sunday.
Monaghan, who are in their 13th provincial decider of the last 14, have re-emerged as the dominant force in Ulster ladies football, winning the last three championships and only being stopped in the All-Ireland series in the last two years by Cork – in the 2011 final and the 2012 semi-final.
Monaghan have certainly had their troubles in the past with Tyrone – the head-to-head in Ulster finals between them currently stands at four wins each – but Gregory McGonigle’s side have gained the upper hand on their neighbours in recent years, winning the last seven meetings, including a comprehensive victory in April. That result saw Monaghan finish their group games in the National Football League with a 100% record, although they missed out on another crack at Cork in the final after they lost to Mayo in the semis. Tyrone struggled through their league campaign, winning just two games and undergoing a change of management.
Tyrone did get their year back on track with a one-point Ulster semi-final win over Armagh, while Monaghan repeated last year’s final defeat of Donegal, albeit this time in a much tighter game, which should stand to them.
Monaghan have a settled team, with the possible return from injury of Amanda Casey the only likely change. They will be looking for big performances from the usual suspects like Sharon Courtney, Therese and Gráinne McNally, Ciara and Aoife McAnespie, Christina Reilly, Cathriona McConnell and Caoimhe Mohan, who has been in top form this year. Tyrone are said to have a number of injury worries, but (if fit), players like Gemma Begley, Niamh Woods, Joline Donnelly and Maura McMenamin can cause Monaghan problems.
This is, of course, the first of three Ulster football finals for the county in the next few weeks and hopefully the ladies can set the ball rolling.