Friday 24 November 2017

Gaelic Games

Today Tomorrow

Connacht SFC

semi-final replay

(Extra-time if necessary)

Sligo v Galway, Markievicz Park, 6.0

M Deegan (Laois) *LIVE TV3

There's no doubt that last week's near miss will have weighed heavily on Sligo this week. Padraic Joyce was the catalyst for Galway's comeback and much will depend on how Sligo deal with him this time around.

Joe Kernan's side might struggle at midfield once more but this Sligo team have no fear and the switch to Markievicz Park will do them the world of good. Kevin Walsh has hardly put a foot wrong so far and his side have enough character to finish the job at the second attempt.

Last championship meeting: Galway 1-10 Sligo 1-10 (2010 Connacht semi-final)

Odds: Sligo 11/10, Galway 10/11, Draw 15/2

Verdict: Sligo

Sligo -- P Greene; C Harrison, N McGuire, R Donovan; K Cawley , B Philips, J Davey; T Taylor, S Gilmartin; A Costello, M Breheny, K Sweeney; C McGee, E O'Hara, D Kelly.

Galway -- A Faherty; K Fitzgerald, F Hanley, A Burke; G Bradshaw, D Blake, G O'Donnell; J Bergin, N Coleman; G Sice, S Armstrong, M Clancy; M Meehan, P Joyce, E Concannon.

Connacht MFC semi-final

Mayo v Leitrim, Markievicz Park, 4.0


Mayo already have a game under their belt after beating Roscommon last weekend with captain Cillian O'Connor in superb form, hitting 1-6. That extra run will be key against a Leitrim side that impressed in the Connacht minor league and is captained by Conor McWeeney. Mayo by a couple.

Odds: Mayo 2/7, Leitrim 3/1, Draw 8/1

Verdict: Mayo

All-Ireland SFC

round-one Qualifier replay

(Extra-time if necessary)

Antrim v Kildare, Casement Park, 7.0

J McQuillan (Cavan)

Last weekend's clash was overshadowed by the burial of Dermot Earley snr just a few hours earlier. Liam Bradley's Antrim will be much happier in the familiar surroundings of Casement Park but the absence of CJ McGourty, who has travelled to the US, is a blow. Kildare can call on Alan Smith once more and his added scoring threat is a bonus with the Lilywhites well placed to advance to a home meeting with Leitrim.

Last championship meeting: Kildare 0-15 Antrim 0-15 (2010 All-Ireland qualifiers)

Odds: Antrim 5/4, Kildare 5/6, Draw 7/1

Verdict: Kildare

Antrim -- S McGreevy; A Healy, C Brady, J Crozier; T Scullion, K O'Boyle, J Loughrey; B Herron, A Gallagher; K McGourty, K Niblock, T McCann; P Cunningham, M McCann, K Brady.

Kildare -- S McCormack; P Kelly, H McGrillen, A McLoughlin; M O'Flaherty, E Bolton, B Flanagan; D Flynn, D Earley; J Kavanagh, P O'Neill, H Lynch; J Doyle, R Sweeney, E Callaghan.

All-Ireland SHC Phase One

(Extra-time if necessary)

Antrim v Carlow, Casement Park, 5.0

A Stapleton (Laois)

Carlow turned the tables on Laois last time out, which was a massive result for them. Antrim looked the part when collecting the Ulster title once more. The Saffrons had a point to spare when the sides met in February and it should be a similar story this time around.

Odds: Antrim 1/3, Carlow 5/2, Draw 11/1

Verdict: Antrim

ANTRIM -- C O'Connell; K McGourty, C Donnelly, S Delargy; P Shiels, J Cambell, C Herron; S McNaughton, K Stewart; C McFaul, N McManus, T McCann; PJ O'Connell, L Watson, K McKeegan.

CARLOW -- F Foley; A Corcoran, S Kavanagh, D Shaw; E Coady, E Nolan, R Coady; J Hickey, D Byrne; C Doyle, M Brennan, H P O'Byrne; A Gaule, D Murphy, P Kehoe.

Tipperary v Wexford, Thurles, 3.30

J McGrath (Westmeath), *LIVE RTE

Tipp and Liam Sheedy have had plenty of time to mull over their tame exit from Munster at the hands of Cork and could be primed for a backlash against a Wexford side managed by Colm Bonnar. The Model men coped with Galway for a period in their Leinster championship tie but ultimately were out of their depth. Tipp to get back on track in style.

Odds: Tipperary 1/14, Wexford 11/4, Draw 15/2.

Verdict: Tipperary

Tipperary -- B Cummins; M Cahill, D Fanning, C O'Brien; D Young, C O'Mahony, P Maher; B Maher, S McGrath; G Ryan, S Callanan, P Maher; N McGrath, L Corbett, E Kelly.

Wexford -- N Carton; P Roche, K Rossiter, C Kenny; R Kehoe, D Stamp, D Redmond; C Farrell, H Kehoe; P Atkinson, T Waters, E Quigley; R Jacob, S Banville, T Mahon.

Christy Ring Cup final

(Extra-time if necessary)

Kerry v Westmeath, Croke Park, 4.0

T Carroll (Offaly)

Kerry are unbeaten since the first round of the league and showed great character to beat Wicklow in the semi-final despite having 14 men for the majority of the game. Westmeath are grizzled and experienced at this level with dual player Paul Greville back at HQ for the second time in seven days. However the former Dublin goalkeeper Brendan McLoughlin is no longer on the panel. Kerry have momentum and have Shane Brick in reserve to help see them home.

Odds: Kerry 1/1, Westmeath 10/11, Draw 10/1.

Verdict: Kerry

Kerry -- B Rochford; C Harris, T Murnane, J Fitzgerald; J Godley, L Boyle, A Healy; M Conway, J Griffin; J Egan, M Boyle, D O'Connell; J Flaherty, G O'Brien, S Nolan.

Westmeath -- P Burke; A Price, J Shaw, O Price; R Whelan, A Mitchell, D McCormack; J Clarke, L Smyth; S Bardon, B Murtagh, E Loughlin; P Greville, B Leharte, D Carthy.

Nicky Rackard Cup final

(Extra-time if necessary)

Armagh v London, Croke Park, 2.0

D Magee (Down)

A cracking game between the pair last month saw the Ulster men come out on top after extra-time in an earlier round. However, in Martin Finn, London have a superb marksman who could be the difference.

Odds: Armagh 1/1, London 10/11, Draw 9/1

Verdict: London

Lory Meagher Cup FINAL

(Extra-time if necessary)

Donegal v Longford, Croke Park, 12.0

R Mathews (Antrim)

Donegal won out in Letterkenny when the sides last met in the competition, with both sides having comprehensive wins in their semi-finals. In Gareth Ghee and Neil Casey, the midlanders have the firepower to edge them home.

Odds: Donegal 4/9, Longford 15/8, Draw 10/1

Verdict: Longford


All-Ireland Senior Championship

Galway v Cork, Athenry, 2.0

E Mac Suibhne (Dublin)

Galway, boosted by their dramatic late win against Wexford last weekend, will be chomping at the bit against champions Cork this afternoon. Boosted by the return of Jessica Gill and having recorded a decisive victory the Westerners will be tough to beat at home. Cork had a facile win over Dublin at Portmarnock and face a sterner test of their credentials today. Galway, at home, to secure the points.

Verdict: Galway

Kilkenny v Tipperary, Nowlan Park, 7.0

F McNamara (Clare)

Kilkenny enter this tie as the only side to remain unbeaten in the round robin series of the championship and with a home tie against Tipp, the Cats should prevail. Tipperary cannot afford to drop any more points, but the odds favour Kilkenny.

Verdict: Kilkenny

Munster SFc final

Kerry v Limerick, Killarney, 2.0

P Fox (Westmeath), *LIVE TV3

It's now the value of those dogged performances against Cork in the draw and replay becomes apparent for Kerry. Home advantage against a Limerick team recently promoted from Division 4 puts them in a good place to secure an All-Ireland quarter-final spot for a 10th successive year, whereas Cork need to win three qualifier ties to reach the same stage.

Having invested so much energy in beating Cork, it's now most unlikely that Kerry will make enough serious errors to undermine them against Limerick.

Kerry have done extremely well without several of the men who looked so central to their All-Ireland success last year but then they do have strength in depth, an asset which is absolutely vital in what have become 20-man games.

Limerick have been solid, competent and, as ever, well-organised by Mickey 'Ned' O'Sullivan all year but they have also been operating at a lower level. And while Sligo have shown that coming out of Division 3 presents no real barrier to advancing, Limerick were a division lower so it's asking an awful lot to expect them to beat the unquestioned championship specialists on home ground.

Mind you, Limerick came very close to beating Cork in last year's final so nobody can query their self-belief. It will sustain them through a concerted challenge tomorrow but ultimately the scoring power of Colm Cooper, Kieran Donaghy and Co will break their resistance.

Still, Limerick are good enough to turn in a big performance, leaving them in good stead for re-entry to the race for Sam via for the qualifiers.

Last championship meeting: Kerry 2-10 Limerick 0-10 (2005 Munster semi-final)

Odds: Kerry 1/6, Limerick 11/2, Draw 11/1.

Verdict: Kerry

Kerry -- B Kealy; M O Se, T Griffin, T O'Sullivan; T O Se, M McCarthy, K Young; S Scanlon, A Maher; Darran O'Sullivan, Declan O'Sullivan, D Walsh; C Cooper, K Donaghy, B Sheehan.

Limerick -- B Scanlon; M O'Riordan, J McCarthy, A Lane; S Lavin, S Lucey, P Ranahan; J Galvin, J O'Donovan; P Browne, J Ryan, S Buckley; G Collins, I Ryan, S Kelly.

Leinster SHc final

Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, 4.0

M Wadding (Waterford), *LIVE RTE

It would probably have been better for Kilkenny if Galway had built on their second-half lead in the drawn semi-final against Offaly and powered away to an easy win. That way, Galway wouldn't have had another game to sharpen up for what is a historic Leinster final as they attempt to take the Bob O'Keeffe Cup out of the province for the first time.

Of course, the alternative way of looking at it is that if Galway had beaten Offaly easily it would have been a sign of continuing progress, instead of which serious doubts about the defensive set-up re-emerged. The draw allowed John McIntyre an extra week to work on them. Offaly hit Galway for a total of 5-34 in two games which, when weighed against the possible harvest a superior Kilkenny attack might yield, is really worrying for Galway.

Still, every game tends to take on its own personality and Galway will certainly be hoping their defence forms a better alignment and works much more as a unit once they come up against the familiar faces in the Kilkenny attack.

In attacking terms, Galway have the range to stretch the Kilkenny defence. Tipperary proved in last year's All-Ireland final that it's possible to create quite a few goals openings against Kilkenny but they failed to exploit them and paid a high price as Kilkenny launched their trademark burst over the final seven minutes, thanks to two goals.

Galway need to take their goal chances -- and in Joe Canning they have a real finisher -- if they are to have decent chance of winning but ultimately the game is likely to be decided by how the Galway defence shores up for the threat of King Henry and his courtiers. Just like DJ Carey before him, Shefflin has an excellent record against Galway, which is ominous at a time when there's a doubt about the solidity of the Galway defence.

Galway have the flair to extend Kilkenny and also have a habit of producing a really big performance after a less-than-convincing one. Still, it looks like Kilkenny will rack up their 20th successive championship win and leave just two fences to jump in the five-in-a-row chase.

Last championship meeting: Kilkenny 2-20 Galway 3-13 (2009 Leinster semi-final)

Odds: Kilkenny 2/5, Galway 9/4, Draw 10/1.

Verdict: Kilkenny

KILKENNY -- PJ Ryan; J Dalton, N Hickey, J Tyrrell; T Walsh, B Hogan, JJ Delaney; M Rice, M Fennelly; TJ Reid, E Brennan, E Larkin; M Comerford, R Power, Henry Shefflin

Leinster MHC final

Dublin v Kilkenny, Croke Park, 2.15

A Lagrue (Kildare)

Dublin have come through the back door after suffering a 10-point drubbing at the hands of the Cats in May. They have improved since then but it's unlikely to be enough against a fancied Kilkenny side.

Odds: Kilkenny 1/6, Dublin 4/1, Draw 12/1

Verdict: Kilkenny

Dublin -- E Dillon; C Murphy, E McKenna, S McClelland; C Crummy, D Sutcliffe, B Quinn; N Maguire, F Heavey; G Whelan, A Clabby, D Forde; J Hetherton, C Kilkenny, D Flood.

Kilkenny -- D Walsh; J Corcoran, W Phelan, B Kennedy; P O'Carroll, L Harney, O McGrath; K Kelly, O Walsh; C Buckley, G Aylward, P Walsh; M Brennan, J Power, T O'Hanrahan.

Munster MFC final

Kerry v Cork, Killarney, 11.45

K O'Brien (Tipperary)

Despite conceding two late goals against Tipp, Cork were always in control in their semi-final. The Kingdom hammered Limerick in the other semi-final. Eanna O'Connor should keep the scoreboard ticking over for Kerry.

Odds: Kerry 1/2, Cork 2/1, Draw 7/1.

Verdict: Kerry

Ulster MFC semi-final

Cavan v Armagh, Clones, 7.0

Reigning All-Ireland champions Armagh are heavily fancied and although Cavan were impressive in their win over Fermanagh, the Orchard beat a decent Monaghan team.

Odds: Cavan 5/2, Armagh 4/11, Draw 15/2.

Verdict: Armagh

Leinster MFC semi-final

Longford v Kildare, Longford, 7.0

Fresh from their epic series against Dublin, Kildare look well placed to earn a place in the provincial decider with Padraig Fogarty in good from for the Lilywhites.

Odds: NA.

Verdict: Kildare


All-Ireland Senior Championship

Wexford v Clare, Wexford Park, 2.0

K O'Brien (Dublin)

Wexford snatched defeat from the jaws of victory last weekend and will be anxious to get back to winning ways in front of a home crowd. Clare, a youthful side, acquitted themselves well against Tipperary last weekend. A physically powerful Wexford side, smarting from last weekend's loss, should make no mistake this time around.

Verdict: Wexford

Irish Independent

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