It’s the biggest day in Fox Lodge Women’s history as they face Leinster champions Merrion in the All-Ireland final at Malahide this Sunday.
Kara Bates side beat CSNI in the semi-final to set up the decider, but she acknowledges it will be a tough ask against the Dubliners who are packed with Irish internationals, as well as having overseas player Polly Inglis.
“The title of the ‘underdogs’ has really done us well this year,” said Bates. “It’s been absolutely excellent to get this far. An All-Ireland final is something the team and the club have always wanted to be in.”
“With some girls missing out on the final, great to have the experience of the Allen’s, both Emma and Laura, and they will be excellent additions to the squad.
“It will be sure to be an interesting day, and the girls have trained and played so well during the season that we have deserved this. We are hoping to be the First Ladies Team in the North West to bring back the Cup. If we can be the Ulster Champions, then we can also be the All Ireland Champs!”
Merrion have opted to give youth an opportunity for the clash as Celeste Raack explained.
"Myself, Isobel and Cecelia Joyce are sitting this one out due to a very competitive selection situation.
"We have plenty of young players putting in consistent performances and deserving of the opportuntiy to play in the final.
"16 year-old Niamh MacNulty will captain the side, and we will have Irish internationals Leah Paul and Rebecca Stokell back after their Irish duties this year."
Merrion will begin as strong favourites despite the absence of the high profile trio.
Action at Malahide begins at 11am on Sunday.
Merrion: Niamh MacNulty (capt), Leah Paul, Rebecca Stokell, Polly Inglis, Rachel Delaney, Julianne Morrissey, Annabel Squires, Isabel Light, Ally Boucher, Sophie Stewart, Sibha Bhoja. Cecelia Joyce (12th), Celeste Raack (13th). Isobel Joyce (Coach), Ursula Lewis (scorer).
Fox Lodge: Kara Bates (capt), Sarah Black, Hannah McLaughlin, Lucy Neely, Ashleigh McGuiness, Emma Allen, Laura Allen, Tanisha Hussain, Elle Moore, Jamee McCauley, Mollie Devine, Kerrianne Dinsmore (12th woman).