Cork coach Eamonn Ryan is expected to make changes to his team for Saturday’s All-Ireland Ladies SFC quarter-final against Galway (Gaelic Grounds, 6pm) from the side which defeated Meath earlier this month.
Dual star Rena Buckley missed the Rebels’ qualifier win last week due to her brother’s wedding. However it is expected the Donoughmore star will start against the Tribeswomen.
The performance of Beara’s Áine T O’Sullivan on her senior championship debut against the Royals — she scored 3-5 — has also given Ryan selection headaches, ahead a repeat of the Division 1 League final replay in May.
On that occasion, Buckley scored the winning point in the 60th minute (0-14 to 1-10), and her presence in midfield with Briege Corkery will be key if Cork are to secure a place in their fifth successive semi-final.
The sides have met three times this year, with a point separating them on two occasions, and All Star-winning forward Valerie Mulcahy is wary that Galway will be out for revenge.
“We’ll have to be at our best if we’re to win. Galway have been our toughest opposition and it’s been the smallest of margins that have separated us. The league final and the replay were cracking games, and I wouldn’t expect it to be any different Saturday.”
For many, the fixture is akin to the All-Ireland final, with the two best teams in the country going head-to-head. But Mulcahy isn’t sharing that view.
“It’s the biggest game of the year for us but I wouldn’t be reading into what people are saying, that it’s potentially the All-Ireland final. If we’re to progress, there’ll be bigger games, but Saturday is all that matters. We know it’s going to be extremely tough, but these games is what it’s all about.”
Galway boss Kevin Reidy is also expected to make a few changes in the side that overcame Mayo in the Connacht final, but reports are he has a clean bill of health.
Meanwhile, Mayo captain Cora Staunton will look to continue her scoring ways against Kerry in the first quarter-final at 4pm. The Carnacon player-coach has registered 3-25 in her last two championship games, against Galway (1-15) and Tyrone (2-10).
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