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Kickhams boys are really up against it: Rock

WINTER football in a partisan venue - these are just two of the obstacles facing Ballymun Kickhams when they travel into Sarsfields' home den of Newbridge this Sunday, according to Barney Rock.

The Ballymun and Sky Blues legend has warned the new Dublin champions - including his own son, Dean - that Sunday's Leinster club SFC semi-final constitutes a whole new ball game.

"Our lads are a fast team, most of our games have been on good fast ground and it's unlikely we'll get that this weekend. This is winter football now, which is a lot different," he pointed out. "The other tough thing is going to Newbridge. When you cross the bridge there, the first thing you see is that huge Sarsfields jersey (hanging from a pub) in memory of Dermot Earley (senior).

"Very few towns have two strong teams like Newbridge, with Sarsfields and Moorefield, and they're very passionate about their football, which makes it a tough place to get a result."

Rock Snr knows plenty about Sarsfields from the four years he spent coaching Celbridge, who overcame 'the Sash' in a 2008 final replay to claim their first SFC crown. But he warned: "As far as I know, Sarsfields have only lost one game all year. They didn't just win the championship, they also won the league and the Aldridge Cup in Kildare, which is some achievement."

NEW Tipperary hurling manager Eamon O'Shea is set to hand a squad recall to 2010 All-Ireland winner Seamus Hennessy, who has recovered from a career-threatening knee injury. But it's understood O'Shea is planning without David Young and Shane Maher, who have withdrawn from inter-county hurling.

OUTGOING Meath GAA chairman Barney Allen has been nominated for five positions at their annual convention, with his name on the shortlist for vice-chair, secretary, assistant secretary, Central Council delegate and Leinster Council delegate. Allen, who was mired in controversy earlier this year over the botched attempted ousting of (now former) Meath football manager Seamus McEnaney, is stepping down from the hotseat under the five-year rule.

FORMER GAA president Seán Kelly has claimed the biggest rugby and soccer matches should still be played in Croke Park, even though the IRFU and FAI are tied into a ten-year naming rights contract with Aviva for Lansdowne Road.

"It could still be possible to work out a way for very big matches to be played at Croke Park," the Fine Gael MEP claimed. "It doesn't make sense that there are days when 32,000 people who want to go and support Ireland are not able to."


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