FOUR-in-a-row for Dublin – or Cork’s first title since 2016?

All will be revealed at Croke Park on Sunday afternoon, as the two counties contest the 2020 TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship Final.

Dublin are aiming for a fifth title in all (2010 was their breakthrough success), while Cork were winners 11 times between 2005 and 2016.

Between them, Cork and Dublin have carved up the last 15 All-Ireland Senior title wins – and that run will extend to 16 as the old rivals lock horns once again on the big day.

Dublin and Cork met first in a Senior Final in 2009, won by Cork, and they contested three successive Finals in 2014, 2015 and 2016, all three of those won by Cork also.

Dublin finally broke that hoodoo with a 2018 Final victory over the Leesiders, and followed up with another notable Croke Park success last year, when the Sky Blues won the clash between the counties at the semi-final stage.

Both sides have shown good form en route to another Final meeting. Cork scored a crucial group victory over Munster rivals Kerry to kick-start their campaign, before Áine Terry O’Sullivan’s hat-trick of goals helped Ephie Fitzgerald’s side to a 7-9 to 2-6 win against Cavan, to book a slot in the semi-finals.

At Croke Park last time out, Cork went through the gears against Galway, nine points from Orla Finn, and goals from Ciara O’Sullivan and Melissa Duggan sending them through to the Final.

Finn is out in front as Cork’s leading scorer with 1-17, followed by Saoirse Noonan (3-4), Áine Terry O’Sullivan (3-3), team captain Doireann O’Sullivan (0-8), and sister Ciara (1-4).

In total, Cork have had nine different scorers in Championship 2020, collecting a total of 10-40, and conceding 2-33 along the way.

Dublin, in contrast, have bagged 5-43 in their three matches to date, while conceding 6-28, three of those goals against Armagh in the recent semi-final.

Dublin’s 3-13, including 2-4 for Carla Rowe, was good enough for victory against the Orchard County, who deposited 3-8 at Kingspan Breffni.

That five-point winning margin was Dublin’s biggest in the Championship, as they got past Donegal in the opening round by three, before seeing off Waterford by four.

Captain Sinéad Aherne has been led the way with a total of 1-13, followed by Rowe (2-7), Noelle Healy (1-5), Nicole Owens (1-0) and Sarah McCaffrey (0-3).

Dublin have the ability, however, to contribute scores from so many areas of the pitch, with 15 different players on the scoreboard over the course of three games.

It was Dublin’s ability to score goals – two of them – that proved the difference at Croke Park in the 2019 semi-final.

Cork, with ten green flags to date, will feel that they will need to get more on Sunday in an attempt to topple the Champions.

Just two counties in the history of the Senior Championship have claimed four successive titles during winning runs – Cork and Kerry – and Dublin, appearing in a seventh straight Final, have the chance to join that elite band.

There’s one change for Dublin from the semi-final victory over Armagh – with Niamh McEvoy replacing Sarah McCaffrey.

Cork are unchanged from the team that accounted for Galway at the semi-final stage.

Cork (v Dublin): M O’Brien; E Meaney, R Phelan, S Kelly; M Duggan, A Hutchings, E O’Shea; M O’Callaghan, H Looney; E Kiely, C O’Sullivan, O Finn; Á O’Sullivan, D O’Sullivan (capt.), S Noonan.

Dublin (v Cork): C Trant; M Byrne, N Collins, A Kane; L Caffrey, S McGrath, S Goldrick; L Magee, J Dunne; N Healy, L Davey, C Rowe; S Aherne (capt.), N McEvoy, N Owens.

Referees announced for 2020 TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate & Senior Finals

THE Ladies Gaelic Football Association has announced the match referees for the TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate and Senior Championship Finals, to be played at Croke Park on Sunday, December 20.

Carlow’s Jonathan Murphy will take charge of the Senior Final between Cork and Dublin (3.30pm), while Kerry’s Seamus Mulvihill will oversee the Intermediate decider between Meath and Westmeath (1.15pm), with the Croker double-header live on TG4.

Both referees will now have the opportunity to complete the set of TG4 All-Ireland Finals.

Jonathan Murphy refereed the 2016 Junior decider between Longford and Antrim, and he was the man in the middle for last year’s Intermediate Final between Tipperary and Meath.

Seamus Mulvihill took charge of the 2015 All-Ireland Junior Final between Louth and Scotland, before he refereed the 2017 Senior decider between Dublin and Mayo.

From the St Mullin’s club in Carlow, Murphy’s refereeing career began in 2008 at local level and he completed the LGFA’s Accelerate programme in 2013, to join the National panel in 2014.

Among Murphy’s 2020 assignments were the Cavan v Kerry and Armagh v Mayo Senior Championship group fixtures.

Commenting on his appointment, Murphy said: “I’m absolutely delighted, not just for me, but also for my team officials, because this is very much a team effort.

“I’m expecting a hugely competitive game between Cork and Dublin, two teams renewing old rivalries and who have shown excellent form on their way to the Final.”

From the St Senan’s men’s club, and the Finuge/St Senan’s Ladies Football club, Seamus Mulvihill, who is also a member of the men’s National Refereeing panel, began his refereeing career 22 years ago, and he graduated to the LGFA’s National Panel in 2013, having come through the Accelerate programme.

Mulvihill took charge at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in January when the Cork Senior Ladies made history by playing at the famous Leeside venue for the very first time, against Westmeath in Division 1 of the Lidl National League.

Among Mulvihill’s other notable 2020 assignments were the Intermediate Championship group fixture between Clare and Kildare, the Cork v Cavan Senior Championship group match, and last Sunday’s Senior semi-final between Cork and Galway at Croke Park.

The LGFA has also confirmed that Mayo’s Garryowen McMahon is the stand-by referee for the Senior Final, with Galway’s Shane Curley named as 4th official.

The Intermediate Final stand-by referee is Wexford’s Barry Redmond, with Galway’s John Devlin to act as 4th official on the day.

Cork dominate Galway to qualify for All-Ireland Senior Final date with Dubs.

Cork 2-17

Galway 0-13


Melissa Duggan and Ciara O’Sullivan scored first-half goals as Cork qualified for a TG4 All-Ireland Senior Final against champions Dublin following this comprehensive performance against Galway.

With the game switched from Parnell Park to Croke Park at short notice due to an unplayable pitch at the Donnycarney venue, it was Cork that bossed the first-half and Duggan’s seventh minute goal put them on the road to victory.

Tracey Leonard tried her best to keep Galway in touch, but when Ciara O’Sullivan raced through the centre to score Cork’s second goal 12 minutes from the interval, it was a long road back for Galway.

Orla Finn kicked nine points for Ephie Fitzgerald’s side, who were never in danger of losing this game, despite the efforts of Mairéad Seoighe and substitute Andrea Trill for Galway.

Galway took the lead in the second minute when Tracey Leonard scored from a free, having missed a similar effort 30 seconds earlier.

Cork soon equalised with Finn scoring her first free, but with seven minutes gone they took the lead. It came through a combination many wouldn’t have expected as a brilliant run from wing back Erika O’Shea – which started in her own half – played in another half-back Duggan and she cooly slotted to the net.

Leonard pulled a point back from another free, but two scores from Ciara O’Sullivan and another Finn free, saw Cork lead 1-3 to 0-2 at the water break.

Within a minute of the restart Cork had their second goal, as their pressure on the Galway kick-outs began to tell. Áine Terry O’Sullivan won possession and she played Ciara O’Sullivan in to make it 2-3 to 0-2, with Cork dominant at this stage.

A great point from distance from Seoighe reduced the deficit, with Finn replying from another free at the other end for Cork.

Seoighe pointed again, another long distance effort, to make it 2-4 to 0-4, but right on the hooter Finn got her fourth free to see Cork in control at half-time as they led by seven points.

Ciara O’Sullivan increased Cork’s lead at the start of the second-half, but two Leonard frees reduced the deficit again.

But Cork were still well in control and points from Áine Terry O’Sullivan and Duggan meant they were still well clear with 37 minutes gone.

Leonard, with her first from play, and half-time substitute Trill kept Galway’s tally moving, but with Eimear Kiely also on target for Cork the gap wasn’t getting any smaller.

Olivia Divilly and Finn exchanged points, but with 13 minutes remaining Galway were dealt another blow when Sinead Burke was sin-binned for a tackle on Libby Coppinger.

While Trill pointed again for Galway there was to be no miraculous comeback, while late points from Finn, Sadhbh O’Leary and Marie O’Callaghan saw Cork run out comfortable winners, as they now face a final against Dublin on 20 December.

Scorers – Cork: O Finn 0-9 (8f), C O’Sullivan 1-2, M Duggan 1-1, A O’Sullivan 0-1, E Kiely 0-1, D O’Sullivan 0-1, S O’Leary 0-1, M O’Callaghan 0-1. Galway: T Leonard 0-6 (5f), M Seoighe 0-3, A Trill 0-2, O Divilly 0-1, A Morrissey 0-1.

Cork: M O’Brien; E Meaney, R Phelan, S Kelly; M Duggan, A Hutchings, E O’Shea; M O’Callaghan, H Looney; E Kiely, C O’Sullivan, O Finn; Á O’Sullivan, D O’Sullivan, S Noonan. Subs: L Coppinger for A O’Sullivan (42), D Kiely for E Kiely (50), S O’Leary for Noonan (55), O Farmer for D O’Sullivan (56), M Cahalane for Duggan (58).

Galway: L Murphy; S Gormally, S Lynch, S Burke; L Coen, C Cooney, N Ward; A Davoren, L Ward; O Divilly, M Glynn, L Noone; M Seoighe, T Leonard, L Hannon. Subs: S Molloy for Gormally (h-t), A Trill for Davoren (h-t), S Fahy for Coen (44), A Morrissey for Hannon (48), A McDonogh for Seoighe (51).

Referee: Seamus Mulvihill (Kerry).