The road to glory will be through Dublin’s Parnell Park this Saturday (May 9th) as the first of three Tesco Homegrown National League finals kicks off from 12.15pm.
First up it will be the battle for promotion from Division 3 as Sligo and Waterford go head-to-head in the final.
Waterford are hot favourites going into the game, with an unbeaten record in the League to date.
When the two sides met earlier this year back in February, Waterford had the edge overcoming the western side on a final scoreline of 5-13 to 0-6 but Waterford don’t think they will have it easy this weekend.
“None of us will take them for granted,” said Waterford’s Linda Wall.
“The League can be up and down so we don’t doubt that they will be fierce opposition and we will be focusing only on this game on Saturday.”
For Sligo, it was a moment to relish when the final whistle blew on their semi-final against Leitrim to see them back in a League final after a number of years.
“When that whistle blew against Leitrim, the feeling of relief was amazing,” said Stephanie O’Reilly.
“So many years of hard work, ups and downs came down to that moment, a moment of sheer relief. To see the commitment, hard work and dedication of all the girls and management being rewarded is just fantastic.
“We’re really looking forward to Saturday.”
Moving on to the second game of the day, it’s an all-Ulster affair as Donegal and Armagh go head-to-head in one of the most anticipated games of the year.
Donegal comes into the game on a winning streak, while a determined Armagh come in after a blistering semi-final performance against Cavan.
Speaking ahead of the game, Donegal’s Katy Herron stated that it’s not all their past victories that matter, but a win on Saturday that is key as each side vies for promotion to Division 1.
“It’s a big game, but we’re not going to let the pressure get to us,” she said.
“It’s a game we really want to win, to get up to Division 1 would be brilliant. Hopefully we’ll knuckle down and it’ll go right on the day.”
Meanwhile, Armagh’s Caroline O’Hanlon, who will surely be the one to watch from a Donegal viewpoint, was also looking ahead to the big day.
“Getting into Division 1 is the big thing, it’s important to be up there,” she stated.
“They [Dongeal] are the in-form team at the minute, they’ve shown their form throughout the League and we’re looking forward to getting another crack at them.”
Finally, the other big showdown of the afternoon will be the hugely-anticipated Division 1 clash between Galway and Cork.
It will be hard to pick a winner ahead of this game, with Galway coming into the match off the back of a 15-point defeat to a Dublin side that defeated Cork earlier in the year.
“It was a great win over Dublin, a tough game, but we were buzzing after it,” admitted Galway’s Ger Conneally.
“As Kevin said to us afterwards though, there were no cups there, there was nothing won that day.
“We have to get our heads back into the game though and we’re looking forward to the weekend.
“Our confidence levels have risen, but we have to focus – it’s Cork at the end of the day and we need to focus firmly on that.”
All-Ireland winning champions Cork were also looking forward to the clash, which will be their eighth League final in a row.
“Spirits are high, we’re putting a big effort into training,” said Doireann O’Sullivan.
“The defeat to Dublin set us back, but we’re ready now and have a positive attitude going in. Galway nearly beat us the last day, they put up a savage game against us and are a fast, lively team. We have to be very careful on the day.
“We’re really looking forward to it.”
The Division 1, 2 and 3 League finals are a triple header at Dublin’s Parnell Park. Sligo take on Waterford at 12.15pm, Armagh face Donegal at 2pm while Cork and Galway do battle at 3.45pm. All support would be gratefully appreciated.