Donegal poised to shock Cork in league final

Both sides will meet in today's Lidl National Football League Division 1 final

BY Sinéad Farrell 16:00 Sunday 7 May 2017, 16:00 7 May 2017

©INPHO/Tom Beary

Donegal might never get an opportunity like this again.

They have thrived in Division 1 this year, after earning promotion to the top flight division last year. They go into their first Division 1 decider as the table toppers, having suffered defeats against Dublin and Kerry.

Cork, who are seeking a fifth consecutive title, also have two losses on their books going into this game, but crucially, Donegal are responsible for one of those results. 

Micheál Naughton's side trounced the reigning All-Ireland champions in Mallow last month, where they inflicted a 3-16 to 0-12 defeat against the Ladies Football giants.

Indeed, getting the measure of Cork in their own territory is a desirable result for any team. But for Donegal, the final whistle must have brought an added layer of satisfaction, having previously taking an 8-27 0-02 pounding against Cork in the 2012 All-Ireland quarter-final.

Finals bring out a different beast in Cork however, and no scoring margin is too insurmountable. Their irrepressible work ethic is evidenced by their tremendous 10-point comeback in the 2014 All-Ireland final.

While Cork are without the services of Briege Corkery (on a break from the panel) and captain Ciara O'Sullivan, Donegal must be prepared to counter any resurgence from Cork, should they take the lead at any stage.

Ahead of throw-in, Cork have been dealt a blow, as their stalwart defender Brid Stack has been ruled out through injury.

Stack's absence is an encouraging sign for ace forward Geraldine McLaughlin. The Donegal captain has a penchant for clocking up high score tallies, and a defender of Stack's experience is needed to minimise the scoring damage of the Termon player.

Cork have to fall some time, and today is Donegal's best chance to exploit whatever weaknesses lie in Cork's seemingly impenetrable guard. As well as arresting the Division 1 title from the Rebellettes, a win today would also see them cement their name among the favourites for the All-Ireland title later this year.


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