LGFA National League – Preview: GALWAY vs DUBLIN (Sunday, 3pm Kinnegad) 

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Galway’s senior ladies football team go in search of a sixth league final appearance when they aim to complete back-to-back victories over the All-Ireland champions. 

Caitriona Cormican’s goal and two late Tracey Leonard points earned the Tribeswomen a crucial 1-17 to 1-15 victory against Dublin in Abbotstown last month that was essential in qualification.

Their 0-16 to 1-13 draw against Donegal in February was the defining result but Stephen Glennon’s charges will come into this semi-final with confidence even if they are rank outsiders.

Galway’s resilience has been notable in 2018 and it’s essential they are competitive in this contest.  Donegal hammered them 5-11 to 1-8 in last year’s league semi-final.  And their championship elimination was no better going down 6-19 to 1-10 to Cork in the All-Ireland quarter-final.

However, this year’s results against Dublin and Donegal showed Galway have matured and coupled with wins against Monaghan, Kerry and Westmeath booked their knock out appearance.

Panelists Sarah Conneally, Fabienne Cooney and Lisa Gannon will be buoyed following their roles in leading Colaiste Bhaile Chlair to All-Ireland silverware and all three are strong contenders to start.

Dearbhla Gower and Lisa Murphy will battle for the goalkeeping position; Sinead Burke, Nicola Ward and Charlotte Cooney should be among the defence; and fit again Cormican is expected to start in midfield with Aine McDonagh.

Captain Tracey Leonard, top scorer with 1-32, will lead the attack at centre forward with cousin Roisin likely to be in the inside line.  Leanne Coen, Mairead Seoighe, Olivia Divilly and Ailbhe Davoren are others in the mix.

Dublin have six wins from seven.  Ciara Trant is among the country’s top goalkeepers; Martha Byrne, Sinead Goldrick and Niamh Collins are accomplished in defence as are Lyndsey Davey, Sinead Aherne and Noelle Healy up front.  Lauren Magee and Olwen Carey are an established midfield unit and the battle in this sector will have a significant bearing on the result.  Plus, the impact of both benches will be a factor.

Galway could do with a win as they don’t meet Mayo in the Connacht Final until the end of June.  But Dublin are in a similar boat having only to face Westmeath in the Leinster competition.  There will be a championship feel to the contest and Galway must still be in the hunt in the closing stages.

Verdict: Dublin