Friday 22 September 2017

GAA previews - County final focus

Diarmuid Connolly, St Vincent's, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal
Diarmuid Connolly, St Vincent's, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

Ireland v Scotland, Bught Park Inverness, 2.0.

Ireland v Scotland, Bught Park Inverness, 2.0.

Verdict: Ireland

(2.30 unless stated)

DUBLIN SFC FINAL

Ballymun Kickhams v St Vincent's, Parnell Park, 3.0

After winning their first Dublin title in 27 years, Ballymun attempt to become the first team since Kilmacud (2004, '05) to successfully defend it. They have romped to this point, racking up 5-72 and conceding only 1-23. But Jason Whelan (suspended) is a loss and they are still relatively untested, with their semi-final against St Judes (0-15 to 0-9) their biggest challenge to date.

St Vincent's, with Ciaran Dorney playing a considerable role alongside Diarmuid Connolly and Mossy Quinn upfront, have serious fire-power. They racked up four goals against Ballyboden and pipped St Sylvester's in their quarter-final. They're more battle-hardened but Ballymun's midfield and defence looks superior.

Verdict: Ballymun

TIPPERARY SFC FINAL

Aherlow Gaels v Loughmore-Castleiney, Semple Stadium

Whatever happens, Loughmore-Castleiney will represent Tipp in Munster because Aherlow are now technically an amalgamation with Lattin-Cullen. Despite last weekend's heartbreak in Munster hurling, David Kennedy and the McGraths are looking to win Tipp's first ever senior hurling and football double here against the Barry Grogan-led Aherlow.

Verdict: Loughmore-Castleiney

CORK SHC FINAL

Sarsfields v Midleton,

Pairc Ui Chaoimh, 3.0

Sars – who include Conor O'Sullivan, Daniel Kearney, Cian McCarthy, Michael Cussen and Eoin Quigley and Eanna Martin of the Rebel seniors – are the new club power in the county. They are chasing their fourth title in the last six years – and each win was under a different manager.

Midleton last won the title in 1991 but, led by Conor Lehane, Luke O'Farrell and Brian Hartnett, have beaten Douglas, Bride Rovers, Bishopstown and Na Piarsaigh to get to this all east-Cork decider.

Verdict: Sarsfields

LONDON SHC FINAL

Brothers Pearse v St Gabriel's, Ruislip

Gerry Rea, who famously marked his brother Ned in an All-Ireland semi-final (1973) while playing for London, is still one of the men driving on Brothers Pearses but they're up against it here.

Verdict: St Gabriel's

LEINSTER CLUB SFC 1ST RND

(extra-time if necessary)

Longford Slashers (Longford) v Rathnew (Wicklow), Longford

The Slashers, led by Colin Smith and Peter Foy, held off Dromard to win their third Longford title in four years but Rathnew, with the Glynn brothers and James Stafford, only won their latest county title last Sunday, so the momentum looks with them.

Verdict: Rathnew

LEINSTER CLUB SHC Q-FINALS

(extra-time if necessary)

Clara (Kilkenny) v Oulart-The Ballagh (Wexford), Nowlan Park

It's just a week since Lester Ryan steered last season's All-Ireland intermediate champions to their first Kilkenny SHC since 1986. Martin Storey's five in-a-row Wexford champions, who have injury worries over Darren Stamp and Eoin Quigley, will be gunning for them after their litany of Leinster heartbreak.

Verdict: Oulart

Camross (Laois) v Kilcormac/Killoughey (Offaly), Portlaoise

Offaly's reigning Leinster champions racked up an impressive seven-point win over Birr in retaining their county title and now face the 24-time Laois champions, led by county star Zane Keenan and youngsters like Gearoid Burke and Dwane Palmer.

Verdict: Kilcormac/Killoughey

Castletown Geoghegan (W'meath) v Mt Leinster Rangers (Carlow), Cusack Park

Mt Leinster have won six of the last eight Carlow titles and also won the All-Ireland intermediate title two seasons ago. They have a tough away draw against Castletown, who won their first Westmeath title in nine years.

Verdict: Mt Leinster Rangers

LEINSTER CLUB IFC

(extra-time if necessary)

St Fintan's (Wexford) v Muckalee (Kilkenny), Piercestown. Verdict: Muckalee

Ballyroan Abbey (Laois) v Gael Colmchille (Meath), Crettyyard.

Verdict: Ballyroan Abbey

LEINSTER CLUB JFC

(extra-time if necessary)

Fenagh (Carlow) v Kilmore (Wexford), Fenagh. Verdict: Fenagh

Emmet Drumbarragh (Meath) v Two Mile House (Kildare), Pairc Tailteann.

Verdict: Two Mile House

St Paul's (Westmeath) v Birr (Offaly), Rochfortbridge. Verdict: St Paul's

Hunsterstown Rovers (Louth) v Carrickedmond (Longford), Ardee.

Verdict: Carrickedmond

LEINSTER CLUB JHC

(extra-time if necessary).

Setanta (Dublin) v Carlow Town (Carlow), Parnells. Verdict: Carlow.

Shanahoe (Laois) v Lisdowney (Kilkenny), Portlaoise, 12.45. Verdict: Lisdowney.

Ballinamere (Offaly) v Sarsfields (Kildare), Ballinamere. Verdict: Ballinamere

Eire Og (Wicklow) v Pearse Og (Louth), Greystones. Verdict: Eire Og

LEINSTER CLUB SPECIAL JHC

(extra-time if necessary)

Wolfe Tones (Longford) v Mountmellick (Laois), Edgeworthstown

Verdict: Mountmellick.

Palatine (Carlow) v Castleknock (Dublin), Palatine. Verdict: Castleknock

MUNSTER CLUB SFC Q-FINALS

(extra-time if necessary)

Dr Crokes (Kerry) v Castlehaven (Cork), Killarney (Dr Crokes), 2.15.

Damien Cahalane has postponed hip surgery to line out for the two in-a-row Rebel champions, who also have key men in Sean Collins, Brian Hurley and Sean Dineen. But they face multiple Kerry champions who have a mobile half-back line, a powerful midfield and some sublime forwards. 'Crokes haven't lost a game in Munster since 2010 provincial final and look on a mission again.

Verdict: Dr Crokes

Ballinacourty (Waterford) v Dromcollogher-Broadford (Limerick), Dungarvan, 2.0.

The seven-time Limerick champions will be without key defender Tom McLoughlin (honeymoon) and home advantage could also be a deciding factor for the Abbeyside men, who are packed with Deise seniors.

Verdict: Ballinacourty

MUNSTER CLUB IHC S-FINALS

(extra-time if necessary)

Whitegate or Feakle (Clare) v Youghal (Cork), Sixmilebridge, 2.0.

St Brendans (Kerry) v Ballina (Tipperary), Nenagh, 2.0. Verdict: St Brendan's

MUNSTER CLUB IFC Q-FINALS

(extra-time if necessary)

Ballyporeen (Tipperary) v De La Salle (Waterford), Clonmel, 2.0.

Verdict: Ballyporeen

St Mary's Sean Finns (Limerick) v

St Joseph's Milltown-Malbay (Clare), Askeaton, 2.0. Verdict: St Joseph's

ULSTER CLUB SFC Q-FINALS

(extra-time if necessary)

Kilcoo (Down) v Crossmaglen (Armagh), Newry

Joe Kernan is back at the helm and Cross are chasing an Ulster four in a row. Despite losing Oisin McConville, Jamie Clarke and the injured Paul Kernan and James Morgan, they are still racking up big scores with a new-look team for whom Kyle Carragher is starring. Kilcoo lost to them in last year's controversial Ulster final and they too put up big scores, but only got past Burren by two points in the county final.

Verdict: Crossmaglen

Glenswilly (Donegal) v St Gall's (Antrim), Ballybofey

Glenswilly have injury worries about Kealan McFadden and Leon Kelly but have Michael Murphy and home advantage. Experienced St Gall's have Kieran McGourty and Sean Burke back from suspension. Verdict: St Gall's

Scotstown (Monaghan) v Ballinderry (Derry), Clones

Scotstown are back in the big-time after 20 years, managed by Mattie McGleenan and led by the Hughes brothers and Donal Morgan, but they face the experienced three-in-a-row Derry champions, who beat Tyrone's Clonoe by four points.

Verdict: Ballinderry

Roslea Shamrocks (Fermanagh) v Ballinagh (Cavan), Enniskillen

Roslea's chances have substantially improved after the Quigley brothers – Sean and Seamus – had bans lifted, and they also feature James and Peter Sherry. Ballinagh did a brilliant job on Cavan Gaels' forwards when they won their first county title but first-time champions tend to struggle.

Verdict: Roslea

ULSTER CLUB IFC Q-FINALS

(extra-time if necessary)

Killeshandra (Cavan) v St Teresa's (Antrim), Breffni Park.

Verdict: Killeshandra

Eskra (Tyrone) v Enniskillen (Fermanagh), Omagh. Verdict: Enniskillen

Truagh (Monaghan) v Drumgath (Down), Ballybay. Verdict: Truagh

Foreglen (Derry) v Naomh Mhuire (Donegal), Celtic Park. Verdict: N Mhuire

ULSTER CLUB JFC Q-FINALS

Kill (Cavan) v Annaghamore (Armagh), Breffni Park, 12.45. Verdict: Annaghmore

Emyvale (Monaghan) v Ardmore (Derry), Clones, 12.45. Verdict: Emyvale

Teconnaught (Down) v Kileeshil St Mary's (Tyrone), Newry, 12.45.

Verdict: Teconnaught

Michael Davitts (Antrim) v Milford (Donegal), Lamh Dearg. Verdict: Milford

CONNACHT CLUB IFC S-FINALS

(extra-time if necessary)

Eslin (Leitrim) v Boyle (Roscommon), Carrick-on-Shannon, 1.30. Verdict: Boyle

Drumcliffe Rosses Pt (Sligo) v Kiltane (Mayo), MacHale Park, 3.30. Verdict: Kiltane

CONNACHT CLUB JFC S-FINAL

(extra-time if necessary)

Headford (Galway) v Cill Chomain (Mayo), McHale Park, 2.0. Verdict: Cill Chomain

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