The New York Ladies football side head to Ireland on Wednesday, September 21 with the junior All-Ireland title in their sight. They play Wicklow on Sunday as the curtain raiser at Croke Park. The ladies intermediate and senior finals will follow.
What lies ahead for New York is a serious battle with a football side that will start as favorites due to their performances in the Leinster championship and also the group games that followed.
Wicklow was in the group that also contained a Wexford side that New York defeated in the semifinal two weeks ago, 0-10 to 0-5. New York has also beaten Carlo on their way to the final.
The challenge that is Wicklow will be a serious one as they are a physically strong side and are also able to hit the scoreboard.
Caoilfhionn Denney is a very dangerous center forward, while Lucy Mulhall and Niamh Carroll are clinical in the full forward line. Caitriona Byrne and Sarah Miley anchor the defense at the three and six slots.
The side won the Leinster title when they defeated Wexford by a point, but they did lose to the same side in group play.
The possible lineout for the All-Ireland final: Emer Miley, Lisa Brady, Caitriona Byrne, Aoife Heffernan, Lorna Fuisciardi, Sarah Miley, Niamh Kelly, Jackie Kinch, Loretta Gilbert, Ann Marie Doran, Caoilfhionn Deeney, Laurie Ahern, Eadaoine Lenihan, Lucy Mulhall, Niamh Carroll.
The New York side has changed for each of its two games in the championship thus far. They will have Alison Leydon in goal with Nora Kilkenny the backup. Both have had excellent years.
Cathriona Brady is anchored at center back and is the vice captain. She has experienced All-Ireland final day with Monaghan and that will be a big plus for the side.
Tracy Ann McCullough is an excellent full back, with Louise Lilly and Imelda Mullarkey set in the corners. Joanne Monaghan and Jesse Garcia have the inside track on the wings, while Caroline McBrien, a tenacious tackler, being introduced, or Karen Henry who is a very confident ball carrier, are also very good options in the backline.
Linda McKeon and Aine Dwyer are a strong midfield pairing. Their inter county experience in Ireland will be a huge asset. Dwyer has kicked some very inspirational points already this season for the side.
Up front Emma Clarke and Molly O’Rourke have been the scoring leaders, but Maeve DeBurca, Kelly Roche, Courtney Traynor, Mary O’Rourke and Fiona O’Dwyer also bring a variety of pluses to the forward line.
Michelle Brennan is a two-footed intelligent player who also may have a big part to play in the final.
The lineout that defeated Wexford was: 1 Alison Leydon, 2 Louise Lilly, 3 Tracy Ann McCullough, 4 Imelda Mullarkey, 5 Jesse Garcia, 6 Cathriona Brady, 7 Joanne Monaghan, 8 Linda McKeon, 9 Aine Dwyer, 10 Molly O'Rourke, 11 Kelly Roche, 12 Courtney Traynor, 13 Emma Clarke, 14 Fiona O'Dwyer, 15 Maeve De Búrca. Subs used: Caroline McBrien, Mary O’Rourke, Michelle McVann, Michelle Brennan.
It will be a very difficult assignment and the New York side will need to match the performance that they gave against Wexford to have aspirations for the title.
They certainly have the players capable and we wish them all the best on their historic voyage. You can watch the game on the TG4 website on Sunday morning. Bring it home girls!
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore