Termon and Donaghmoyne, the big two in Ulster Ladies club football, go head to head again this Saturday in Killyclogher for the biggest prize in Ulster club football, the Senior Championship crown. (Throw-in 2pm)
Termon and Donaghmoyne have dominated the provincial championship for the best part of a decade. The Donegal champions are also the reigning Ulster and All-Ireland champions playing in their fourth final on five seasons. And they are also bidding for a third win while the Monaghan standard bearers are appearing in their eight provincial final in-a-row and are bidding for a fifth crown in that time and 11th overall.
They have been the top club team in Ulster ladies for well over a decade and prior to last year’s defeat their only other defeat in provincial football since 2007 had been to Termon.
Geraldine McLaughlin scored 4-4 of Termon’s 4-8 to 3-7 victory in Brewster Park, Enniskillen, last year. And the terminator McLaughlin holds the key to Termon’s success again on Saturday.
“Its all down to how they handle Geraldine,” said Termon manager Francie Friel.
“In the last few meetings they didn’t make much of a fist of at it and we are pinning our hopes that that is the case again on Saturday.
“She is in great form this season and is injury free and flying in training.
“There is no getting away from it, she is a big player for us and if Geraldine plays well and runs up a big score we usually come out on the right side of the result.”
Long term injured Dara Kelly (medial ligament) and Grainne McDaid (back) will once again miss Saturday’s shootout. But otherwise manager Friel has reported a clean bill of health.
“Dara and Grainne are the only two we will be missing; we have everybody else and preparations have gone well and we had a couple of very good sessions over the weekend. Roisin McCafferty was home from Coventry and Olive McCafferty was home form Edinburgh so we had the full squad for the two sessions which was great.”
Donaghmoyne are three times All-Ireland Club champions and a very strong side backboned by Monaghan county players Sharon, Cora and Fiona Lafferty and Cathriona McConnell.
Termon also ooze quality right through their team from Laura Gallagher in goals to veteran corner forward Maureen O’Donnell, who is playing the football of her life this season; Maria Carr, Emer Gallagher and Therese McCafferty in defence; Shannon McGroddy and Nicole McLaughlin in midfield while Rosin Friel and Roisin McCafferty, along with Geraldine McLaughlin, in the attack, were all members of the Donegal team that won a first Ulster senior title in the summer.
Termon began the defence of their Ulster crown with a comfortable 3-15 to 1-4 win over St Paul’s of Antrim in the first round.
But they had a much more sterner test in their 1-10 to 1-6 victory over Tyrone champions Errigal Ciaran in the semi-final in Dunmoyle.
The Donegal champions had to draw on their vast reservoir of experience to see off the challenge of the Tyrone champions on their home patch.
Like Termon, Donaghmoyne had it pretty easy in their first round clash with Armagh champions Carrickcruppen. Donaghmoyne won that game 5-18 to 2-3.
But they had it far from all their own way in the semi-final against Lurgan from Cavan last time out. They eventually won that game by five points, 2-13 to 3-5.
“They are a good side and have been the top team in Ulster for the last ten years or so and we are only the only team to beat them in that time in Ulster. We beat them in the 2010 final, the first year we won Ulster and we beat them last year so they will be going all out to put the record straight on Saturday.
“It is a massive game for both clubs. We know each other very well and it is going to take a big performance to get us over the line. But the girls are looking forward to the game and they are hungry for more success and hopefully that is enough to see us through.”
The winners of Saturday final will face a trip to London the following Saturday and an All-Ireland quarter-final meeting with the British champions.