Dublin v Monaghan BGE Ladies NFL
This Sunday is the penultimate round of the 2012 Bord Gáis Energy Ladies NFL, Dublin are once more on the road, their destination this time is to Aughnamullen and an encounter with 2011 All Ireland runners up, Monaghan.
This clash should be an fascinating one, all that currently separates both teams in the division one league table is Dublin's superior score difference as both sides have bagged twelve league points with four wins out of five. The only County to have defeated both Dublin and Monaghan has been reigning league champions Cork, the rebels remain the only unbeaten team to date in division one.
Sunday's contest could have another twist in the tale, as Dublin boss Peter Clarke, returns to Monaghan for the first time since he took up the Dublin post, Clarke was an integral part of the Monaghan management team who took the Farney women all the way to last year's All Ireland final.
Will Clarke's first hand knowledge of the Monaghan squad assist the Dubs' with their task of securing three additional league points thus rubber stamping the metropolitans place in the 2012 league semi-finals or will his presence on the opposite side line ignite the Monaghan women to victory?
Looking back over the record books, Dublin and Monaghan have both enjoyed the share of the spoils when it comes to their recent league clashes. In 2008 the sides played out a 2-08 a piece draw, while in 2009 a four goal strike helped the Dubs to a 4-07 to 1-07 victory over the Farney County. However in their last league clash back in March of 2010, Monaghan came away with the goods claiming a 0-13 to 0-8 win over the sky blues.
Clarke has been using the unlimited subs rule to good affect in all of Dublin's league games to date, giving the Dublin management team an opportunity to view all 29 players on their panel. Dublin fans can be heartened by their team's league performances with a number of players relishing playing top flight football again. The Dubs were relegated in 2010 to division two, Dublin's spell in the second grade was viewed by many as one of the factors in their championship demise last season.
On a positive note, Sinead Treacy is looking comfortable in the full back berth, while the Dublin half back line of Fay, McGrath and Hudson appear to have gelled well together, forming a formidable blue defensive wall.
Denise Masterson's timely return to the midfield sector has been welcomed by both management and fans alike, with the 2010 All Ireland winning Captain forming an impressive midfield partnership with the inform, Sinead Goldrick. This mix of experience with flare has worked extremely well for the Dubs in their last two games versus Tyrone and Donegal respectively.
Sinead Aherne, Dublin's leading scorer to date in the league, again showed her attaching prowess last week-end, notching up a tally of 2-5 against Donegal. Sharon Courtney, Monaghan's ace defender will be expected to pick up the Malahide sharp shooter on Sunday how Monaghan contain Aherne will be a factor in deciding the outcome of this encounter.
Monaghan boss Greg McGongle, will be looking for Niamh Kindlon and Ellen McCarron to hit form again both players having scored five points apiece in their sides win over Tyrone last Sunday.
Eugene O'Hare from Co Down is the man in charge of this enticing clash; throw in on Aughnamullen on Sunday is 2pm, with live updates from the game on Twitter @dublinladiesg