Promotion to Division 1 of the Lidl Ladies National Football League is the big prize on offer for Kerry and Waterford at Parnell Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Munster counties meet in the Division 2 showpiece – just six days before their Round 1 clash in the TG4 Munster Championship.
The winners on Sunday would have a distinct psychological advantage ahead of their Championship clash – and safe in the knowledge that they will be playing top-flight football in 2020.
The form book suggests that there will be little to separate two talented sides, with Kerry looking to bounce back to Division 1 at the first attempt. Relegation to Division 2 for the 2019 campaign was a setback for the Kingdom but they have displayed admirable talent and skill to put themselves in a position to make a swift return to the elite Division.
The group stages were a mixed bag for Kerry, with three wins, two draws and two losses, but they still did enough to reach the semi-finals. There, Kerry opened up with an impressive display against an admittedly under-strength Armagh, and now they’ll prepare for the stern challenge of Waterford, who have taken big strides forward in recent years.
The Déise finished with four wins, two losses and a draw from their seven group games, which pitted them with Cavan in the semi-finals. In 2018, the sides also met in the last four but this time, it was Waterford who came back on top, as experienced forward Michelle Ryan collected a hat-trick of goals.
This is a first League decider for Waterford since victory over Tipperary in the 2016 Division 3 Final, a game that was decided by Maria Delahunty’s late free at Semple Stadium.
Kerry’s last League title was achieved in 2013, when they beat Galway in the Division 2 Final.
These two sides drew in the group stages – and it could be just as tight again.
Kerry have drafted in former TG4 All Star Aislinn Desmond in defence in place of Emma O’Sullivan, while Chloe Fennell comes in for Katy Hayes on the Waterford team.
The match is live on TG4 at 2pm.
Waterford (v Kerry): R Landers; Karen McGrath (captain), C McGrath, R Casey; Kate McGrath, M Dunford, R Tobin; K Murray, E Murray; K.A. Hogan, M Ryan, C Fennell; E Fennell, M Delahunty, A Wall.
Kerry (v Waterford): R White; T Breen, A Desmond, C O’Brien; S Murphy, A O’Connell, A Galvin; L Scanlon, A Brosnan (captain); M O’Keeffe, C Murphy, N Carmody; S Houlihan, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh, H O’Donoghue.