All-Ireland JFC final preview: Same again for Antrim and Fermanagh

Both Antrim and Fermanagh have named unchanged starting teams for Saturday's TG4 All-Ireland Junior Football Championship final replay
All-Ireland JFC final preview: Same again for Antrim and Fermanagh

OPTIONS: Theresa Mellon of Antrim during the drawn TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Junior Championship final between Antrim and Fermanagh at Croke Park in Dublin. Pic: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Both Antrim and Fermanagh have named unchanged starting teams for Saturday's TG4 All-Ireland Junior Football Championship final replay at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh (5pm, live on TG4).

For the first time since 2017, the destination of the West County Hotel Cup, the prize on offer for the TG4 All-Ireland Junior Championship, will be decided by a replay, and both management teams have opted for a ‘same again’ approach.

The sides fought out a 1-13 apiece draw at Croke Park on July 31 but this replay will be decided on the day, with extra-time and potentially free-kicks, if necessary.

Five years ago, in Clones, Fermanagh were also involved, and they got the better of Derry to win this title for the very first time.

Since then, the Erne County have been regular finalists, losing out to Louth in 2019 before defeating Wicklow in 2020.

For Antrim, redemption following last year’s final loss to Wicklow is still within their grasp but they’ll have to work hard for it.

Antrim had scored two previous victories over Fermanagh in the TG4 Ulster Championship prior to the sides meeting in the All-Ireland Final but the Saffrons needed Orlaith Prenter’s late free for a second bite of the cherry.

It was a fixture that showcased the scoring prowess of Prenter, Maria O’Neill and Grainne McLaughlin on the Antrim side, while captain Cathy Carey also chipped in with two points.

For Fermanagh, Bláithín Bogue was simply outstanding with seven points from play, while Eimear Smyth added 1-3, including a crucial penalty goal.

Ahead of throw-in on Saturday, Smyth starts on a haul of 5-20, 11 points adrift of leader Mo Nerney from Laois in the race for the 2022 ZuCar Golden Boot award, which will be awarded to the top scorer in the TG4 All-Ireland Championships.

This is another interesting sub-plot as Antrim and Fermanagh prepare for their fifth competitive fixture in 2022, with the score currently reading 2-1 to Antrim, and that one draw.

Antrim (v Fermanagh): A McCann; D Coleman, A McFarland, N McIntosh; M Mulholland, S Tennyson, S O’Neill; L Dahunsi, Á Tubridy; C Taggart, C Carey (capt.), M O’Neill; B Devlin, O Prenter, G McLaughlin.

Fermanagh (v Antrim): R Gleeson; E Keenan, M McGloin (capt.), S McQuade; N McManus, S McCarville, C Bogue; B Bannon, A O’Brien; E Maguire, B Bogue, S Britton; C McElroy, E Smyth, L Grew.

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