Friday 23 March 2018

Football final rivals plunge back into club action

Cormac Costello lifts the Sam Maguire Cup after the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final Replay match at Croke Park. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Cormac Costello lifts the Sam Maguire Cup after the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final Replay match at Croke Park. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Dermot Crowe

After his heady accomplishment in scoring three points in last weekend's All-Ireland final replay at Croke Park, Cormac Costello will return to more grounded territory this afternoon when he is expected to line out in the local senior football championship for his club Whitehall Colmcille at the north county venue of Garristown, where his club will encounter Skerries Harps, whose own Bryan Cullen raised the Sam Maguire in 2011.

Cullen was a member of Dublin's backroom team this year but he and Costello will be on opposite sides of the divide today. Virtually all of the Dublin cast will be in club action over the course of the weekend.

In Mayo, Alan Dillon will miss out through injury but many of the rest of the team and squad that featured in last weekend's disappointing defeat are also on club duty, with most of the matches having taken place last night. Included on the bill was the meeting of Breaffy and Davitts in Ballindine, pitting Robbie Hennelly and the O'Sheas of Breaffy against Colm Boyle's home club.

In Clare, Cratloe's hopes of a county senior championship double, which they achieved two years ago, ended last week with defeat to Clonlara in the hurling semi-final. They are striving for quick compensation in the football final against Kilmurry-Ibrickane at Cusack Park this afternoon.

Cratloe are heavily indebted to dual players but two of their imports, for whom hurling has had little impact, have been an integral part of their latest football expedition. The former Limerick midfielder, John Galvin, now 36, has been living in Cratloe for six years and won a county medal with the club in 2014. Ten years his junior, Anton McFadden was part of Donegal's Ulster Championship-winning squad in 2011 and is in his first year playing with the Clare club.

Originally attached to St Michael's in Donegal, McFadden is a younger brother of Colm, whose county career ended after defeat by Dublin in this year's All-Ireland quarter finals. McFadden's switch to Cratloe followed his decision to take a course in sports performance at University of Limerick. A Donegal man and Cratloe resident, Paul Gallagher, provided the link. "I then got chatting to Colm Collins (Clare and Cratloe manager) and one thing led to another," McFadden told the 'Clare Champion'.

McFadden also served as head of strength and conditioning with the Limerick senior footballers this year. He played in a Donegal senior county final five years ago but ended up on the losing side. During his time with Croom, Galvin never played senior club football. Cratloe defeated the reigning Clare champions St Joseph's Miltown Malbay in the semi-finals after extra-time but face one of the most successful clubs of recent years in Kilmurry-Ibrickane, who lost the 2010 All-Ireland club final to St Gall's.

Páirc Uí Rinn hosts the Cork senior hurling final in which Glen Rovers defend their title against Erins Own, who caused a surprise by getting this far, most recently defeating favourites Midleton in the semi-finals. The championship has been noteworthy for a strong showing from the city clubs, with five reaching the quarter-finals. The Glen, made famous by Christy Ring, are favourites. Two years ago, in attempting to win their first county title since 1989, they suffered a 16-point pasting from Sarsfields but recovered a year later to beat Sarsfields in the final.

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