Tuesday 24 April 2018

Club Focus - Weekend Previews

Colm Cooper
Colm Cooper
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Ulster Club IFC Final

(extra-time if necessary)

Truagh (Monaghan) v Eskra (Tyrone), Athletic Grounds, 7.45

Eskra are on a roll having come from three points down in their provincial semi-final – after securing senior football for the first time in the club's history.

Truagh have only recently stepped down to intermediate and have a player on form in Christopher McKenna, but Eskra look set to follow in Cookstown's footsteps and keep this title in Tyrone.

Odds: Truagh 4/5 Eskra 5/4 Draw 7/1

Verdict: Truagh


(extra-time if necessary)

Emyvale (Monaghan) v Killeeshil (Tyrone), Athletic Grounds, 6.0

Another Monaghan-Tyrone decider, with both sides convincing winners in their semi-finals, but the Red Hand men look to have superior fire power, having hit 2-14 last time out.

Verdict: Emyvale


(extra-time if necessary)

St Gabriel's (London) v Youghal (Cork), Ruislip, 1.0, A Stapleton (Laois)

Former GAA president Christy Cooney's bid to return to Croke Park can take another step as he leads his side to London. Brendan Ring and Ollie Dempsey can provide the scores, but the home side, who reached this year's All-Ireland final, will be no pushover with Martin Finn their 'go to' man.

Odds: St Gabriel's 13/8 Youghal 8/15 Draw 9/1

Verdict: Youghal


(Extra-time if necessary)

Oulart-The Ballagh (Wexford) v Mount Leinster Rangers (Carlow), Nowlan Park, 2.0, J Keenan (Wicklow). *Live TG4

After missing out in the last three Leinster finals, Oulart-The Ballagh are finally expected to seal provincial honours here. Once again, Martin Storey's side have reached this stage via a difficult route, defeating Kilkenny champions Clara and last year's beaten All-Ireland finalists Kilcormac/Killoughey last time out.

Their cause has been further boosted by the news that county star Darren Stamp is available once more.

However, Mount Leinster Rangers have already pulled off one shock so far, beating Dublin champions Ballyboden to become the first Carlow side to reach the final of this competition. They are also managed by Tom Mullally, who will know the Wexford side well since he was also part of the Clara set-up this year.

But Oulart have waited long enough and they have more than enough experience to see them past a game Rangers outfit.

Odds: Oulart 1/3 MLR 5/2 Draw 11/1

Verdict: Oulart


(extra-time if necessary)

Geraldines (Louth) v Naomh Olaf (Dublin), Drogheda, 2.0, A Nolan (Wicklow)

Geraldines dug out a dramatic win in their semi-final thanks to a last-gasp Michael Rogers free. Naomh Olaf have looked the part all year, with Eoin Christian leading the way as they took a deserved win over Ballyroan Abbey from Laois, and they look too strong here.

Odds: Geraldines 13/8 Naomh Olaf 8/13 Draw 7/1

Verdict: Naomh Olaf


(extra-time if necessary)

Two Mile House (Kildare) v Hunterstown Rovers (Louth), Newbridge, 2.0, N Ward (Westmeath)

So often the hard luck story in Kildare's junior championship, Two Mile House, powered by the likes of one-time Clare footballer Niall Browne and Aidan Casey, are enjoying life in Leinster.

Hunterstown have played with flair, landing 2-15 in their semi-final win over Birr, with all six of their forwards scoring. But Two Mile House have waited long enough for a crack at the province and this looks to be their day.

Verdict: Two Mile House


(extra-time if necessary)

Ballinamere (Offaly) v Lisdowney (Kilkenny), Tullamore, 2.0, D Hughes (Carlow)

Lisdowney were much too strong for Carlow town in their semi-final, with Rory Hickey in good from, while Ballinamere continued Offaly's impressive run in these competitions as they waltzed past Wicklow side Eire Og.

Verdict: Lisdowney


(extra-time if necessary)

Dr Crokes (Kerry) v Cratloe (Clare), Gaelic Grounds, Limerick, 2.0

They won't like to admit it, but the road looks to have opened up a little bit for Dr Crokes in their pursuit of an elusive All-Ireland club title with the departures of the likes of Crossmaglen and Corofin from the competition.

And such is their form, Colm Cooper and Co are expected to make light work of Clare champions Cratloe, who boast eight members of the Banner's Liam MacCarthy winning side.

Brendan Bugler has gone on the All Stars trip to China, but he was mostly used as a sub, while others like Podge Collins have opted to stay back as they bid to continue their remarkable run of success. However, Crokes look too experienced.

Odds: Dr Crokes 1/33 Cratloe 8/1 Draw 28/1

Verdict: Dr Crokes


(extra-time if necessary)

Ballinderry (Derry) v Glenswilly (Donegal), Omagh, 3.0. *Deferred TG4

Ballinderry were handed a massive boost with Kevin McGuckin's clearance to play in this Ulster final after he was sent off against Kilcoo as the Derry kingpins look to reclaim the provincial title for the first time in 12 years.

They are favourites for this game after seeing off Kilcoo, who had beaten Crossmaglen. But Glenswilly have an obvious trump card in Michael Murphy as well as county midfielder Neil Gallagher.

However, they looked vulnerable at times against Roslea as they seek to become the first Donegal side to win the title since St Joseph's in 1975. Ballinderry look too strong.

Odds: Ballinderry 2/5 Glenswilly 5/2 Draw 15/2

Verdict: Ballinderry



All-Ireland Club JF Final

Dunedin Connolly's (Edinburgh) v Na Gaeil (Kerry), Crettyard, 1.30

Dunedin are chasing a unique double, having become the first Scottish club to win the all-Britain championship in September. However, Na Gaeil hammered Shannon Gaels of Roscommon by 4-17 to 0-5 in their All-Ireland semi-final and they should do enough to lift the silverware.

Verdict: Na Gaeil

All-Ireland Club IF Final

Claregalway (Galway) v Thomas Davis (Dublin), St Loman's, Mullingar, 1.30

IT'S just a year since Thomas Davis were crowned All-Ireland junior champions and further silverware beckons for the Dublin standard-bearers in this higher grade, with county senior star Siobhán McGrath pulling the strings.

Verdict: Thomas Davis


All-Ireland club SF Final

Carnacon (Mayo) v Donaghmoyne (Monaghan), Carrick-on-Shannon, 1.30

The Páirc Seán MacDiarmada clash has been billed as a shootout between Mayo and Carnacon's nine-time All Star Cora Staunton and Donaghmoyne's Monaghan ace Cathriona McConnell – but both sides can boast a host of other inter-county stars in their ranks.

A year ago, Donaghmoyne restricted Staunton to just a point from play and if the lethal Mayo forward can be contained again, Donaghmoyne will create history by retaining the Dolores Tyrrell memorial cup.

Verdict: Donaghmoyne

Irish Independent

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