City of Derry Women play Malone Women in the Junior Cup Final at Ravenhill on Saturday afternoon, kick off 12;30.

Having defeated all before them in the league this season, Malone Women go into the final as hot favourites, but a resurgent of City of Derry are able to call on some experienced players, including former Irish International Stacey Lea Kennedy, who will have a few tricks up their sleeves and will provide a stern test for the Malone youngsters on the sacred turf of Ravenhill!

The experienced Kennedy, who starts on the bench for Derry, will be up against her former Ireland team mate Grace Davit who has had a highly successful first season in charge at Malone. The Gibson Park outfit progressed unbeaten through their league campaign and they go into this match on the back of a successful promotion playoff semi final against, Connacht champions,  Westport last weekend.

That game took its toll on the Malone players, with a few missing out on the final, as they rest injuries, but the Red Sox are still able to call on the services of the influential Neve Jones.

Having missed most of the season due to illness, Jones is raring to go as she told The FRU:

I’m really glad to be back playing after missing quite a bit of the season and it’s great to be involved in big games like this.

I’m buzzing for the physical challenges that City of Derry bring, they always have strong forwards, but we got a good workout up front against Westport last week so we’ll be looking to meet Derry head on.

It’ll be a good game and it’s an awesome experience to play at Kingspan.

It’s been a mixed season for City of Derry who finished third in the Championship behind Malone and Ballynahinch. However, they have reserved their best form for the Cup with big wins against Dungannon and Omagh before turning the tables on Ballynahinch for an impressive semi final win.

The late cancellation of this game last weekend also seems to have given the Derry team a bit of extra incentive as captain Michelle McLaughlin tells The FRU:

The City of Derry girls have had a tough season with injuries. However, we have fulfilled every fixture which we are extremely proud off. We have new management and new systems in place and seeing these come together has been great.

The cancellation of last week’s match was an emotional knock back. But fair play to all the girls they have dusted themselves down and have worked hard to make themselves available for the final.

We have several new players, so getting to play at Kingspan in their first year is just fabulous. I’m so proud of them all.

Going in as underdogs really means no pressure, we are able to call on experienced players for this game and we look forward to giving Malone a strong challenge. We are going hit hard and ultimately enjoy the entire experience.

As McLaughlin say’s City of Derry do go into this game as underdogs, they have lost heavily, twice, to Malone in the championship this season.

However, Derry do have some hope. Malone had a tough game last weekend and have an even tougher one next Saturday against Suttonians, to decide who progresses to the AIL next season. That game is a big distraction for the Malone team and Derry have the experience to take advantage.

Ulstimately though, I suspect that the wiley Davitt will have her players in the right frame of mind and Malone will come out on top in what should be an entertaining final.

Malone City of Derry
Ella Durkan 15 Ruagin Doherty
Anna Stanfield 14 Niamh Wynne
Fern Wilson 13 Coral Lapsley
Brógáin Ni Chiarrain  12 Donna Redmond
Jasmine Ward 11 Amelia McFarland
Peita McAlister 10 Cíara Moore
Jenna McKeown 9 Maeve O’Neill
Sarah Murphy 1 Michelle Gormley-McLaughlin
Neve Jones 2 Kelly Gormley
Susan Kane 3 Joanna Ha’unga
Gemma McCamley 4 Claire McGill
Rebecca Lawlor 5 Julie Pollock
Eimear Hagan 6 Megan Deery
Ashleigh Currie 7 Kelly Holmes
Lauren Maginnes 8 Lizzie Ballentine
Nicole Hutchinson 16 Rachel Lennox
Darryl Donnelly 17 Stacey lea Kennedy
Louise McConville 18 Aisling Bonner
Zarah Joyce-Ryan 19 Sarah McKitterick
Aislinn McGinn 20 Stephanie Farrell
Holly Brannigan 21 Cíara McGurk
Sara Houston 22 Lauryn McLaughlin