Megan Thynne of Meath is tackled by Shelly Twohig of Donegal during the Lidl Ladies Football National League Division 1 Final
Meath stand between Donegal at a first ever appearance in the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship final at Croke Park next Saturday.
Meath are the current All-Ireland champions and defeated Donegal 2-9 to 1-8 in the Ladies Football National League Division One final in April at Croke Park.
Emma Duggan kicked a last-minute point to earn defending champions Meath a dramatic 1-12 to 1-11 win over Galway in a tense quarter-final at O’Connor Park in Tullamore on Saturday.
At 1-11 to 0-9 in front with the finishing line in sight, the Royals found themselves pegged back. The prospect of 20 additional minutes of action was starting to loom large in the Offaly venue, but the outstanding Duggan decided the outcome to book Eamonn Murray’s charges into a semi-final showdown with Donegal, who enjoyed a fantastic 3-7 to 1-7 victory over Dublin at Carrick-on-Shannon.
Maxi Curran's side were 0-4 to 0-1 in front at half-time, before striking three second half goals through Yvonne Bonner and a brace from substitute Karen Guthrie to confirm Donegal's second ever appearance at the semi-final stage, with the first coming in 2018 when they lost to Cork. Donegal were All-Ireland Intermediate champions in 2010 having won the Junior seven years' beforehand.
Donegal's win means Dublin will not be in the All-Ireland final for the first time since 2013. They were beaten by Cork in 2014, 2015 and 2016, prior to four successive victories and then last year's loss to Meath.
The other semi-final, part of Saturday's upcoming double-header, will see Mayo take on Kerry. Lisa Cafferky scored the crucial second goal to help Mayo secure victory over Cork at Cusack Park in Ennis. This was always going to be a competitive tie and it proved to be but Mayo were the better side and deserved to advance on a 2-14 t0 0-17 scoreline.
Like Dublin, Cork have dominated the competition in recent seasons, winning 11 out of the 12 All-Irelands between 2005 and 2016, with only Dublin breaking that run in 2010. Cork started that series with a five-in-a-row from 2005 to 2009 before adding six on the bounce from 2011 to 2016.
Donegal and Mayo's respective wins over Dublin and Cork means this year's All-Ireland final will be the first without the dominant Leinster and Munster duo since Mayo defeated Monaghan back in 2002.
Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh struck 2-6 at O'Connor Park in Tullamore as Kerry set up a semi-final against Mayo with a four-point triumph over Armagh, 4-12 to 2-14.
In addition to Ní Mhuircheartaigh’s scoring prowess, Niamh Carmody and Siofra O’Shea also rattled the net for the Kingdom. The majestic Aimee Mackin finished with an astonishing 0-11 haul for Ulster champions Armagh but the Orchard County ultimately suffered a second consecutive quarter-final exit.
Sunday's semi-finals start at 2pm and 4pm respectively, with the running order as yet unconfirmed by the LGFA. The finals day takes place at Croke Park on Sunday, July 31, with the Senior final taking place at 4pm, preceded by the Junior showpiece at 11:45am and the Intermediate decider down for 1:45pm.
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