Tuesday 23 January 2018

GAA: Weekend previews


Ulster club IFC final

Doohamlet (Monaghan) v Lisnaskea (Fermanagh), 2.0, Breffni Park

Doohamlet are well battle-hardened, having beaten Bundoran, Sarsfields (Armagh) and Derylaughan and are led by captain Glen Comiskey and county senior Colin Walshe. But they face some serious class now in a Lisnaskea team that knocked out Tullylish (Down) and St Mary's (Antrim).

Verdict: Lisnaskea

Munster Club SFC Final

Nemo Rangers (Cork) v Dr Crokes (Killarney), 2.0, Gaelic Grounds, D O'Mahony (Tipperary). *Live TG4

This clash is a classic Cork/Kerry derby involving one of the club game's blue bloods. Nemo have won 14 Munster titles and a record seven All-Ireland titles and their 2010 record (played 30, lost one) looks awesome. They certainly looked stronger in their defeat of Stradbally than 'Crokes did when struggling past Aherlow.

Crokes have benefitted most from the weather delay. They've now got Kieran O'Leary and Ambrose O'Donovan back, whereas Nemo lost Barry O'Driscoll to a broken cheekbone in their semi-final victory over Stradbally -- though his replacement is likely to be one James Masters.

Nemo have only ever lost three games in Munster competition and just one of 15 finals. Their record means Crokes, with Eoin Brosnan and their twin forward threats of The Gooch and young Daithi Casey, have it all to do, but under Harry O'Neill their defence has really improved.

Odds: Nemo 4/5, Crokes 11/8, Draw 6/1.

Verdict: Dr Crokes.

Munster Club JFC Final

St Mary's (Kerry) v Bruree (Limerick), 3.30, Mallow, R Hickey (Clare)

Dead-ball specialist Bryan Sheehan has scored 2-13 so far in St Mary's two provincial games, a journey that saw them knock out Cloyne and Nenagh, while Bruree, led by the O'Briens, took out Waterford's Tallow.

Verdict: St Mary's

Munster JHC Final

Meelin (Cork) v St Patrick's Tipperary), 2.0, Mallow, M Wadding (Waterford)

Eamonn Brosnan has been the star man for Meelin, from Duhallow, who beat a highly-fancied Effin side in the semi-finals. St Patrick's (Drangan/Cloneen) had a thrilling 3-13 to 2-13 defeat of Waterford's Ballydurn, but now meet a side with a lot of experience.

Verdict: Meelin

Ulster club SFC final

Crossmaglen (Armagh) v Naomh Conaill (Donegal), 1.45, Breffni Park. *Deferred TG4

Four-time All-Ireland winners Cross' need no introduction, they're chasing their eighth Ulster title. Featuring local legends like Oisin McConville, Aaron Kernan and Francie Bellew they've taken two big scalps en route -- defending All-Ireland champs St Galls and Burren of Down -- and since then they've got Jamie Clarke back from suspension.

Naomh Conaill are real underdogs, but Cathal Corey's young side have an excellent mix of youth and experience. They've shown some serious fire-power in their defeats of Clontibret and Coalisland, but, since their first in '96, Cross' have never lost an Ulster final and their all-action game should finally end the Glenties side's fairytale.

Odds: Crossmaglen 4/11 Naomh Conaill 11/4 Draw 7/1

Verdict: Crossmaglen

Ulster club JFC final

Corduff (Monaghan) v Swanlinbar (Cavan), 12.0, Breffni Park

Corduff have impressed so far, defeating the Tyrone champs after a replay and racking up 3-35 in four games, while Swanlinbar had good wins over the Derry champions and Drumaness of Down.

Verdict: Corduff

Compiled by Cliona Foley

Irish Independent

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