Crunch time for south Dublin Ladies

by Stephen Findlater
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There’s plenty of South Dublin interest as the Dublin Ladies Football Championships head towards the sharp end this weekend, with four quarter final games down for decision.

Holders Foxrock Cabinteely face a fast-rising St Sylvester’s side at home as they bid for a fourth consecutive Dublin title. The dominant force of Dublin ladies football have been steady and impressive in their season so far, and currently top AFL 1.

In a tough Championship Group B, where they were matched with perennial rivals St Brigid’s – a solid bet for a repeat in the final – Foxrock Cabinteely didn’t match the goal scoring prowess of their rivals, who hit an astonishing 17 goals across their three group games.

Foxcab have plenty of players out regularly with the Dublin senior side, however, and didn’t pull any punches when it mattered, beating St Brigid’s into second place with a comfortable 3-20 to 3-8 win in late May, and ending the group with three wins from three.

The Foxes will go into their quarter final as strong favourites against a Sylvester’s side that have built steadily in recent years, but came through group A in second place and were well beaten by group winners Kilmacud Crokes in the process. After the 6-11 to 3-10 defeat in that opener, they recovered well to finish second in the group and reach the quarters. They’ll bring that momentum into the contest.

Another quarter final sees the two other big south Dublin threats pitched against each other, with classy looking group A winners Kilmacud Crokes – another potential winner, and unbeaten in AFL 1 and the Championship so far in 2018 – facing rivals Ballyboden St Enda’s.

Crokes hit 14 goals in comfortably winning three from three against St Sylvester’s, St Maurs and Clanna Gael/ Fontenoy in Championship Group A, with nobody getting within two goals of the Stillorgan side.

They won’t have been thrilled to draw Ballyboden, however, who have long been hanging around the top end of the game in Dublin, and pose a real threat. Enda’s have the strongest history of any side in the competition, having taken the title ten times since it was founded in 1985.

They’ve had a relatively poor start to 2018, and their last Championship title win came in 2010, but Enda’s made the final last year, and could easily trouble Crokes. Ballyboden came through a strange Group C, in which everyone beat everyone, and were beaten in a goal-hungry contest by Fingallians first game out. They recovered to see off Na Fianna in the three-team group, before Na Fianna’s heavy win against Fingallians saw them come out on top on goal difference and Fingallians slide to third.

The three-team groups are inevitably cut throat, and while Ballyboden might consider themselves unlucky to have been drawn in one, they’ve also been a little fortunate, and will need to pick up their game if they’re to move past old rivals Crokes.

In the other two quarterfinals, traditionally powerful St Brigid’s will go in as favourites against St Maurs, while Tomas Davis away at Na Fianna probably leans towards to north Dubliners, but looks hard to call.

All games take place at 7.30pm on Saturday evening, with venues to be confirmed via the Dublin Ladies GAA website in the coming days.

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