Saturday 18 November 2017

GAA Previews - Club Focus

Conor Lehane
Conor Lehane
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

(2.30 unless stated)

MUNSTER CLUB SFC S-FINAL

Dr Crokes (Kerry) v Loughmore-Castleiney (Tipperary), Dr Crokes Killarney, M Collins (Cork).

John Meagher and the McGraths have helped make Loughmore-Castleiney Tipp's first dual-champions and, after being edged out by Na Piarsaigh in the hurling, they're back in Munster, but really up against it. Not only are the Gooch and Co chasing their third provincial title in-a-row, but they haven't lost a domestic championship game since 2009 or a game in Munster since Nemo beat them in the 2010 edition. They also have home advantage.

Odds: Crokes 1/50, Draw 28/1, L'more 10/1

Verdict: Dr Crokes

MUNSTER CLUB JFC Q-FINAL

Drom and Inch (Tipperary) v Feohanagh/Castlemahon (Limerick), The Ragg, 2.0. Verdict: Drom & Inch

CONNACHT CLUB JFC FINAL

Fuerty (Roscommon) v Headford (Galway), Pearse Stadium, 2.0. Verdict: Headford

CONNACHT CLUB JHC FINAL

An Spideal (Galway) v Calry-St Joseph's (Sligo), Connacht GAA Centre, 2.0.

Verdict: An Spideal

CLARE SFC FINAL

Cratloe v Doonbeg, Ennis.

New Clare boss Colm Collins manages a Cratloe side full of dual players, including new hurling All Stars Podge Collins (his son), Conor Ryan, Conor McGrath and Brendan Bugler (who plays his hurling with Whitegate), plus several more Clare hurling seniors. They've never won the county title and face the 18-time champions, who are led by David Tubridy and veteran Padraig Gallagher (38), in his 10th county final.

Odds: Cratloe 8/13, Draw 6/1, Doonbeg 7/4

Verdict: Doonbeg

(2.30 unless stated)

LEINSTER CLUB SFC Q-FINAL

Longford Slashers (Longford) v Portlaoise (Laois), Pearse Park,

D Gough (Meath).

A tragedy in the Portlaoise club forced this clash to be postponed last week, which will give even more motivation to the side who've won a record seven Leinster titles, but none since 2010.

Denis Connerton's Slashers have key men in Mark and Colin Smith. They easily accounted for Rathnew first-time out to get their first Leinster win since 1989 and home advantage should help, but Portlaoise should have too much experiencefor them.

Odds: Slashers 5/2, Draw 15/2, P'laoise 2/5

Verdict: Portlaoise

LEINSTER CLUB SHC

SEMI-FINALS

Mt Leinster Rangers (Carlow) v Ballyboden St Enda's (Dublin), Dr Cullen Pk, J Owens (Wexford).

Half of Carlow's unsung county team hail from the Rangers, including the Coadys and Byrnes, and they beat Castletown-Geoghegan by two points to get here, but, in Ballyboden, who won the Dublin title last week, they meet a different class of county player in the likes of Conal Keaney, Paul Ryan, Stephen Hiney and Shane Durkin.

Odds: Mt Leinster 3/1, Draw 11/1,

Ballyboden 2/7.

Verdict: Ballyboden

Kilcormac/Killoughey (Offaly) v

Oulart-The Ballagh (Wexford), B Kelly (Westmeath), Tullamore. *Live TG4

A massive grudge match here as Oulart lost their third consecutive Leinster club final last year to, yes, new boys Kilcormac-Killoughey. The Offaly men, who had only just won their first county title, won by four points and went all the way to the All-Ireland final. They've already knocked out Camross and, with Daniel Currams, Conor Mahon and Ciaran Slevin, are a side that can score goals.

Darren Stamp and Eoin Moore are rated doubtful after missing Oulart's defeat of Clara, but Wexford's five in-a-row champions – featuring Keith Rossiter, the Jacobs, Stamp and Nicky Kirwan – won't lack motivation and have Martin Storey now at their helm.

Odds: KK 8/13, Draw 9/1, Oulart 6/4

Verdict: Oulart

LEINSTER CLUB IFC S-FINALS

St Fintan's (Wexford) v Geraldines (Louth), Piercestown. Verdict: Geraldines

Naomh Olaf (Dublin) v Ballyroan Abbey (Laois), O'Toole Park. Verdict: Naomh Olaf

LEINSTER CLUB JFC S-FINALS

Fenagh (Carlow) v Two Mile House (Kildare), Fenagh. Verdict: Two Mile House

Birr (Offaly) v Hunterstown Rovers (Louth), Birr. Verdict: Hunterstown

LEINSTER CLUB JHC S-FINALS

(extra-time if necessary)

Ballinamere (Offaly) v Eire Og (Wicklow), Ballinamere, 1.0. Verdict: Ballinamere

Carlow Town HC (Carlow) v Lisdowney (Kilkenny), Carlow HC, 12.45.

Verdict: Lisdowney

LEINSTER SPECIAL CLUB

JHC SEMI-FINALS

Castleknock (Dublin) v Moylagh (Meath), Parnells. Verdict: Castleknock

Mountmellick (Laois) v Knockbridge (Louth), Mountmellick.

Verdict: Knockbridge

MUNSTER CLUB SFC S-FINAL

Cratloe or Doonbeg (Clare) v Ballinacourty (Waterford), Ennis or Doonbeg, D O'Mahony (Tipperary) 2.0.

Whoever wins today's Clare final has an immediate turnaround, which stacks the odds in favour of the Waterford champions. They are loaded with inter-county experience in Shane Briggs, the Hurneys and Michael O'Halloran and have already survived a dogged tussle with the Limerick champions

Verdict: Ballincourty

MUNSTER CLUB IFC S-FINAL

Clyda Rovers (Cork) v Ballyporeen (Tipperary), Clonmel, 2.0.

Verdict: Ballyporeen

MUNSTER CLUB JFC Q-FINAL

Mitchelstown (Cork) v Keel (Kerry), Fermoy, 2.0. Verdict: Mitchelstown

MUNSTER CLUB SHC S-FINAL

Midleton (Cork) v Sixmilebridge (Clare), Pairc Ui Chaoimh, J Ryan (Tipperary) 2.0. *Deferred TG4

Two teams back in the big-time after bridging gaps of 11 (Sixmilebride) and 22 years (Midleton) to win their county titles. Conor Lehane (below) has been in blistering form for Midleton, who shocked Sarsfields in the Cork final but they're reportedly going to be without Luke O'Farrell, who is abroad.

The weather didn't allow The 'Bridge to showcase their youthful talent last week, when Niall Gilligan's heroics were enough, but they're going to find this full-forward line harder to contain.

Odds: Midleton 1/2, Draw 9/1, 'Bridge 15/8

Verdict: Midleton

MUNSTER CLUB IHC FINAL

Youghal (Cork) v Ballina (Tipperary),

S Hourigan (Limerick) Mallow, 2.0.

Youghal, led by Andrew Curtin, have dispensed with the Waterford and Clare champions – including a replay with Whitegate after their first game went to extra-time – so they're battle-hardened ahead of this decider with Ballina, who beat the Limerick and Kerry champions.

Odds: Youghal 8/11, Draw 9/1, Ballina 5/4

Verdict: Youghal

MUNSTER CLUB JHC Q-FINAL

Ballysaggart (Waterford) v Grenagh (Cork), Dungarvan, 2.0. Verdict: Grenagh

Bodyke (Clare) v Feenagh/Kilmeedy (Limerick), Sixmilebridge, 2.0.

Verdict: Bodyke

ULSTER CLUB SFC S-FINALS

Glenswilly (Donegal) v Roslea (Fermanagh), Omagh,

C Brannigan (Down).

Only formed in 1982, and playing senior football for seven years, Glenswilly, led by Donegal star Michael Murphy, have already dispensed with former Ulster champions St Gall's. Roslea took out the Cavan champions and James Sherry and the Quigley brothers are their key men.

Odds: Glenswilly 1/6, Draw 12/1, Roslea 9/2 Verdict: Glenswilly

Kilcoo (Down) v Ballinderry (Derry),

Athletic Grounds Armagh, M Higgins (Fermanagh)

Jim McCorry's Kilcoo, with a plethora of Down stars like Conor Laverty, Ryan Johnston and the Branagans, exacted revenge on Crossmaglen last weekend in the season's biggest shock to date. Ballinderry, featuring big names like Conleith Gilligan, Colly Devlin, James Conway, Ryan Bell and Daniel McKinless, come into it more rested, but momentum is with the Down men.

Odds: Kilcoo 11/10, Draw 6/1, B'derry EVS

Verdict: Kilcoo

ULSTER CLUB IFC S-FINALS

Truagh (Monaghan) v Foreglen (Derry), Omagh, 12.45. Verdict: Foreglen

Eskra Emmets (Fermanagh) v Killeshandra (Cavan), Enniskillen.

Verdict: Killeshandra

ULSTER CLUB JFC S-FINALS

Emyvale (Monaghan) v Annaghmore (Armagh), Athletic Grounds, 12.45.

Verdict: Emyvale

Milford (Donegal) v Killeeshil St Mary's (Tyrone), Enniskillen, 12.45.

Verdict: Killeeshil-St Mary's

CONNACHT CLUB IFC FINAL

Boyle (Roscommon) v Kiltane (Mayo), MacHale Park, 2.0. Verdict: Kiltane

CONNACHT CLUB IHC FINAL

Kilnadeema/Leitrim (Galway) v Tooreen (Roscommon), Athleague, 2.0.

Verdict: Kilnadeema/Leitrim

Irish Independent

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