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Saturday 3 December 2016

Football final between arch-rivals promises to be a cracker at Croker

Dublin’s Noelle Healy and Cork’s Angela Walsh in the 2014 All-Ireland final in Croke Park Picture: Sportsfile
Dublin’s Noelle Healy and Cork’s Angela Walsh in the 2014 All-Ireland final in Croke Park Picture: Sportsfile

Tomorrow's All-Ireland ladies' senior football final is shaping up to be an almighty showdown, with a record att-endance of more than 30,000 expected to cheer on the Jackies at Croke Park.

After losing out to arch-rivals Cork in the last two years - by a point in 2014 and two points last year - the Girls in Blue are chomping at the bit to taste their first All-Ireland success since their last title victory in 2010.

However, the Rebelettes have more than lived up to their hype and have won every All-Ireland final they have played in since 2005, as well as winning the Brendan Martin Cup the last three times in a row.

A spokesman for the Ladies' Gaelic Football Association said tomorrow's match was the women's football equivalent of the "Thrilla in Manilla" between Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier in 1975.

He urged Dublin supporters bitterly disappointed by the Boys in Blue's draw with Mayo in last Sunday's All-Ireland men's football final to come out and support the ladies.

"They'll be cheering on perhaps the best rivalry that currently exists in Irish sport," he said.

"The Jackies are the only team that has laid a glove on Cork in recent years. These girls from both teams are exceptional.

"It's an opportunity for spectators to see the players whose names will live on in sporting history.

Glory

"I don't see any other rivalry with two teams who are at the very top of their game who have consistently played so well."

The rivalry between star players including the Jackies' Sinead Aherne, Lyndsey Davey and Noelle Healy versus Cork's Deirdre O'Reilly, Brid Stack and Rena Buckley is "without compare", the spokesman added.

He said the level of skill and rivalry between the two is comparable to the glory days of hurling between Tipperary and Kilkenny and men's football between Dublin and Kerry.

However, neither side will be taking anything for granted tomorrow.

The Jackies were this week in "lock-down mode" as they focused on their day jobs and prepared for battle.

The Rebelettes, who will be arriving in Dublin this afternoon, are equally as focused and ready to get stuck in.

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