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London Ladies determined to overcome All-Ireland semi-final barrier

London Ladies determined to overcome All-Ireland semi-final barrier
Hannah Noonan in action against Carlow at McGovern Park. Photo: Sheila Fernandes

By Damian Dolan

London Ladies are determined to bury their semi-final demons and reach a first All-Ireland JFC final since 2008, says Exiles star Hannah Noonan.

Paddy Bowles’ side defeated Carlow at McGovern Park on Saturday, 4-12 to 1-11, to set up a showdown with Fermanagh on 24 August at for a place in the Croke Park decider.

It’s a repeat of the sides’ 2017 epic semi-final meeting which Fermanagh won with the last kick of extra-time.

A heart-breaking loss for London which was followed last year by another painful semi-final exit, this time at the hands of Limerick.


London also missed out in the semi-finals in 2016 against Antrim.

Noonan, one of only two survivors from London’s 2008 All Ireland winning team (Anne Murphy being the other), believes it’s time for the Exiles to show what they’re truly capable of.

“We’ve had a lot of semi-final upset and that needs to change,” Noonan told the Irish World.

“I believe you have to lose some in order to win some, and I’m hoping this year we can show what we know we’re capable of.

“Every year, we go out of the All Ireland thinking ‘we could have done more’. This year, we want to change the past, which has been lingering over us.”

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London Ladies determined to overcome All-Ireland semi-final barrier
3 September 2017; Hannah Noonan of London after the TG4 Ladies Football All Ireland Junior Championship Semi-Final match between Fermanagh and London at Lannleire in Dunleer, Co Louth. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Noonan, who also played in a senior All Ireland final for Dublin in 2015, can see encouraging similarities between the London squads of 2008 and today.

“The mentality is very similar to 2007 (when London reached the final) and 2008. We’ve got a lot more club representation – nearly every club in London is involved and that’s huge,” she said.

“London isn’t about a dominance by one or two clubs, it’s about the best players in the county coming together and showing what we can do. That’s a huge difference from previous years.”

Noonan and Murphy aren’t the only London players with All Ireland final experience.

London Ladies determined to overcome All-Ireland semi-final barrier

Captain Catriona McGahan reached a senior final with Tyrone in 2010, while Naoimhin Daly was part of the Fermanagh team which got to the intermediate final in 2014.

“We’re not setting our sights further than a semi-final, but that’s not where we want to finish up. We want to go the whole way,” said Noonan.

“We really want to do ourselves justice in this All Ireland campaign, and had we gone out against Carlow, there was so much more in the tank that we had to give.”

Louth face Antrim in the other All Ireland JFC semi-final.

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