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O'Toole's can cement progress as Boden look to step things up a gear

O'Toole's v Faughs (Blunden Drive, Tonight, 6.0)

AS Mick Hanley said on the radio the other night, this is a clash that captures all the essence of the Dublin Senior Hurling Championship.

"We love welcoming Faughs to Blunden Drive," responded O'Toole's man, Andy Cunningham, the former Dublin selector and the hurling analyst for Dublin City FM.

"Faughs are the kingpins of Dublin hurling. They have won more titles than anybody else," continued Andy.

Faughs have been the champs 31 times, the last occasion was 1999. It's a match that will reel back the years.

Manager Stephen McNamara has made impressive progress at Tymon. They have had two draws in the Championship, and they'll need something from this tie to keep afloat their hopes of a place in the quarter-final.

They couldn't have picked a more difficult assignment. The Larriers will be extra keen to cement their quarter-final spot after losing to Kilmacud on Wednesday night.

Kevin Flynn hit 11 points against Crokes, seven of them frees. Goalkeeper, Brendan McLoughlin, was up to his old tricks -- smashing in a goal from a free.

Paul O'Donoghue was his lively self, and O'Toole's have first-class hurlers in the Cartons, Ryans, Christy Mulligan, Ger O'Meara and Keith Horgan.

Faughs are not an easy team to beat these days. They have added pace, zest and resolve to their package. Maurice O'Brien is one of Anto's Aces.

Conor McCann, Cal Aherne and Ciaran Brennan are commendable stickmen. Faughs are getting better and better at keeping the windows closed.

The Ayrfield wicket will suit the two teams. Damien Hernon will be demanding the two points.

It should be a tea-party to savour. Two of Dublin's Kings of Swing.

SO FAR -- O'Toole's: Beat Boden by 4 points. Beat Patrick's (P) by 2 points. Lost to Kilmacud by 2 points. Faughs: Drew with Vincent's. Lost to Crokes by two points. Drew with Patrick's (P).

VERDICT: O'Toole's

Ballyboden St Enda's v St Patrick's (P) (Pairc Uí Mhurchú, Tonight, 6.0)

SURPRISINGLY, Boden have not been winning all around them. Maybe they are like one of those Olympic champions that just does what's necessary in the heats.

Boden will be anxious to record their second victory. At home and with the depth of their squad, they'll be expected to do it, but Pat's have developed into a neat, tidy hard-working side.

Liam Rushe will put a few bob on the gate. And he has quality cohorts in Dan Byrne, Aidan Glennan and Paul Faughnan.

In time, Boden will soar for four, but first they have to attend to the bread and butter, and no better men to do that than Gary Maguire, Stephen Hiney, Darragh Spain, Dave Sweeney and Conor McCormack.

SO FAR -- Ballyboden St Enda's: Lost to O'Toole's by 4 points. Beat Crokes by 11 points. Drew with Vincent's. St Patrick's (P): Lost to Vincent's by 6 points. Lost to O'Toole's by 2 points. Drew with Faughs.

VERDICT: Ballyboden St Enda's

Kilmacud Crokes v St Vincent's (Tomorrow, Silver Park, 10.30)

THE perfect start to All-Ireland Sunday. The gentle drive to Leopardstown, Paddy Cole on the radio and two premier sides on the pitch.

Crokes were cheered by their triumph over O'Toole's this week. You won't get a better confidence surge than that. Donal McGovern and James Burke got the goals.

Kevin O'Loughlin was sending them over from all over the shop and Ross O'Carroll made a welcome return. There's always merit in the donations of Niall Corcoran, Ronan Walsh, Aodan de Paor, Conor Clinton and Barry O'Rorke.

Vincent's will do well to preserve their unbeaten record here. They have been playing good stuff. Ruairi Trainor, Willie Lowry, Ronan Fallon, Mark Kirwan, Shane O'Neill, Diarmuid Connolly, Damien Russell, Tom Connolly and Mossy have been playing their part.

SO FAR -- Kilmacud Crokes: Lost to Boden by 11 points. Beat Faughs by 2 points. Beat O'Toole's by 2 points. St Vincent's: Beat Patrick's (P) by 6 points. Drew with Faughs. Drew with Boden.

VERDICT: Kilmacud Crokes

NIALL SCULLY


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