Friday 24 November 2017

Weekend GAA previews

Cliona Foley and Donnchadh Boyle

TODAY

ALL-IRELAND QUALIFIERS

(Extra-time if necessary).

Leitrim v Armagh, Carrick-on-Shannon, 5.0, F Kelly (Longford)

The home side are without Emlyn Mulligan, but Adrian Croal makes his first start of the summer and Darren Sweeney has the all-clear to start in defence.

Armagh boss Paul Grimley has stuck with the same 15 that demolished Wicklow two weeks ago, which means Kieran Toner will start but Charlie Vernon is still out.

Despite home advantage, it's hard to see a weakened Leitrim winning this.

Last championship meeting: None.

Betting: Armagh 1/8, Leitrim 13/2, Draw 12/1

Verdict: Armagh

Armagh – P McEvoy; P McKeown, B Donaghy, J Moran; A Kernan, C McKeever, M Shields; J Lavery, S Harold; C Rafferty, K Dyaws, E Rafferty; J Clarke, T Kernan, E McVerry.

Leitrim – C McCrann; F McMorrow, C Egan, S McWeeney; D Beck, G Reynolds, B Prior; D Sweeney, B Brennan; P McGowan, J Glancy, P Brennan; A Croal, R Lowe, K Conlon.

Longford v Wexford, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, 7.0, P O'Sullivan (Kerry)

Wexford won last year when these two went to a Leinster quarter-final replay and they are favourites to do so again even though Lee Chin is unlikely to play.

Wexford beat Louth but were extremely wasteful against Meath, while Longford suffered a shock loss to Wicklow yet then, even without Michael Quinn, racked up 2-19 against Limerick. Quinn is still out in an unchanged team.

Last championship meeting: Wexford 1-13 Longford 0-15 (Leinster quarter-final replay 2012)

Betting: Wexford 10/11, Longford 5/4, Draw 7/1

Verdict: Wexford

Wexford – A Masterson; M Furlong, G Molloy, R Tierney; B Malone, D Murphy, A Flynn; D Waters, R Quinlivan; J Holmes, B Brosnan, A Doyle; C Lyng, R Barry, PJ Banville. Subs: T Hughes, L Chin, P Byrne, C Carty, B Mulligan, S Roche, K Gore, S Culleton, K Kehoe, K O'Grady, P Kelly.

Longford – D Sheridan; D Brady, B Gilleran, D Reilly; B O'Farrell, P McCormack, S Mulligan; J Keegan, M Brady; B McElvaney, P Barden, P Foy; F McGee, S McCormack, JJ Matthews.

Cavan v Fermanagh, Kingspan Breffni Park, 7.0, Michael Duffy (Sligo)

After losing to Monaghan by just a point in the Ulster semi-final, Cavan's best run since 2001 now rides on this big rematch of this year's Ulster quarter-final, that low-scoring 'G8 Summit' game in Enniskillen that they won by just two points.

Fermanagh have to travel this time and will need more than Eoin Donnelly to carry the fight. They will probably park the bus again but they do come off a 3-10 to 1-15 defeat of Westmeath, and goals are something that Cavan need to start finding if their run is to continue.

Last championship meeting: Cavan 0-13 Fermanagh 0-11 (Ulster quarter-final 2013)

Betting: Cavan 4/5 Fermanagh 7/5, Draw 13/2

Verdict: Cavan

CAVAN – C Gilsenan; J McLoughlin, R Dunne, K Clarke; J McEnroe, A Clarke, R Flanagan; D O'Reilly, D Givney; C Mackey, J Brady, F Flanagan; N McDermott, M Dunne, E Keating.

Fermanagh – TBC

Kildare v Louth, Newbridge, 7.0,

R Hickey (Clare)

Kildare fans will have dreadful flashbacks when they see Brian White and Paddy Keenan approaching, but the return to fitness of Padraig O'Neill should substantially improve their midfield and that's the only change from their mauling by Dublin.

Shane McCoy, John O'Brien and Ray Finnegan come in for Louth, and Aidan O'Rourke's inside knowledge of Kildare is a help but, at home, Kildare will surely continue want to restore pride and continue their good tradition in qualifiers.

Last championship meeting: Louth 1-22 Kildare 1-16 (Leinster quarter-final 2010)

Betting: Kildare 1/3, Louth 10/3, Draw 15/2

Verdict: Kildare

Kildare – S Connolly; D Hyland, M Foley, H McGrillen; E Callaghan, P Kelly, E Bolton; D Flynn, P O'Neill; P Cribbin, N Kelly, E O'Flaherty; J Doyle, D Flynn, P Brophy.

Louth – S McCoy; P Rath, D Finnegan, J Bingham; J O'Brien, D Crilly, R Finnegan; P Keenan, B White; C Byrne, C Rafferty, A Reid; D Maguire, S Lennon, C Judge.

ALL-IRELAND SHC QUALIFIERS

(Extra-time if necessary)

Clare v Wexford, Semple Stadium, 5.0, D Kirwan (Cork)

Wexford hurling took a significant step in the right direction when beating Kilkenny in Wednesday night's Leinster U-21 final, and with their minors doing the same in the championship this year, it looks as if the Model County are turning a corner.

Whether that can help the senior side remains to be seen but Andrew Shore has returned to the team that manager Liam Dunne released to the public, while Keith Rossiter has recovered to take his place.

But Clare looked strong against Laois, with all but two of their starters scoring from play.

The Banner have won all three championship encounters between the sides to date, and they can preserve that record.

Odds: Clare 1/9 Wexford 6/1 Draw 16/1

Verdict: Clare

Wexford – M Fanning; E Moore, T Waters, B Kenny; R Kehoe, K Rossiter, C Kenny; A Shore, D Redmond; P Morris, E Quigley, G Sinnott; R Jacob, J Guiney, P Doran. Subs: N Breen, H Kehoe, M O'Regan, G Moore, E Doyle, PJ Nolan, C O'Shaughnessy, J Tonks, C McDonald, B Jordan, A Kenny.

Clare – TBC

Kilkenny v Waterford, Semple Stadium, J Owens (Wexford) * LIVE TV3

Brian Cody confirmed that Henry Shefflin won't be fit for a full game, while TJ Reid is also expected to sit this one out.

Against Tipperary last weekend, the Cats proved last week that they are not ready to go away just yet, but Waterford produced a strong performance in Nowlan Park in the league and they should travel to Thurles with some confidence.

Wins over Offaly and Westmeath in the back door have seen them gather some momentum but they'll need more than that to record their first win over Kilkenny since the All-Ireland final replay of 1959.

Odds: Kilkenny 1/7 Waterford 11/2 Draw 14/1

Verdict: Kilkenny

KILKENNY – E Murphy; P Murphy, JJ Delaney, J Tyrrell; T Walsh, B Hogan, K Joyce; E Larkin, M Rice; C Fennelly, R Power, M Ruth; R Hogan, W Walsh, A Fogarty.

WATERFORD – S O'Keeffe; S Fives, L Lawlor, N Connors; J Nagle, M Walsh, D Fives; K Moran, R Foley; J Dillon, S Prendergast, S O'Sullivan; B O'Sullivan, M Shanahan, J Barron.

 

TOMORROW

LEINSTER MFC FINAL

Kildare v Westmeath, Croke Park, 12.0, D Gough (Meath)

The sideshow surrounding Israel Ilunga won't have helped Tommy Carr's Westmeath, but their win over Meath was thoroughly deserved.

But Kildare are the form side here. The Dublin team they hammered last time out wasn't considered in the same vein as the county's last two minor sides but the Lilies were still very impressive and they can capture the county's first Leinster title since 1991.

Odds: Kildare 1/2 Westmeath 7/2 Draw 9/1

Verdict: Kildare

MUNSTER MHC FINAL

Waterford v Limerick, Gaelic Grounds, 1.45, F Horgan (Tipperary)

The first meeting of these sides at this stage since 1958, but Waterford have the advantage of having played three times this year to Limerick's one. The Treaty edged Tipp, who had beaten Waterford in the opening round, but the Deise have improved since and the accuracy of Patrick Curran can swing things their way.

Odds: Waterford 4/7 Limerick 13/8 Draw 16/1

Verdict: Waterford

ALL-IRELAND JFC SEMI-FINAL

(Extra-time if necessary)

Kildare v Sligo, Pearse Park, 6.0, M McNally (Monaghan)

Two sides who have enjoyed a good recent record in this competition, using it to groom players for senior football, but Kildare looked impressive in their Leinster final win over Longford and can look to Cian Bolton to see them through.

Verdict: Kildare

TODAY

TG4 Munster ladies SFC final

Cork v Kerry, Castletownroche, 3.45

Another repeat meeting of the 2012 All-Ireland final and the second time the sides have met in Munster this year.

Kerry scored a 3-10 to 3-8 victory last month – the Rebelettes' first championship reverse since the 2010 All-Ireland quarter-final against Tyrone.

Cork booked their place in another Munster final with a comfortable victory over Clare and are gunning for a 10th successive provincial crown.

Betting: Cork 1/6 Kerry 9/2 draw 12/1

Verdict: Cork

TG4 Leinster ladies SFC final

Dublin v Meath, Dr Cullen Park, Carlow 5.0

It's the second year in a row that the counties have met in a provincial decider, and Dublin are the hot tip to hold onto their crown. Meath, relegated from Division 1 of the National League, beat Westmeath and Laois to reach the final.

But Dublin can afford to leave players of the calibre of Orlagh Egan and Elaine Kelly on the bench. Greater strength in depth will swing this one in favour of the Sky Blues.

Betting: Dublin 1/4 Meath 10/3 Draw 11/1

Verdict: Dublin

TOMORROW

TG4 Ulster ladies SFC final

Monaghan v Tyrone, Celtic Park 3.45

Monaghan are aiming to win the provincial title for the fourth successive year, but they'll get nothing easy against a rejuvenated Tyrone side.

Monaghan, though, are viewed as genuine All-Ireland contenders. They beat Donegal by eight points in the Ulster semi-final and are hotly fancied to retain their crown.

Betting: Monaghan 1/16 Tyrone 7/1 Draw 20/1

Verdict: Monaghan

TG4 Connacht ladies SFC final

Galway v Mayo, Tuam Stadium, 4.0

There's a hint of the unknown surrounding this clash. Galway came from 10 points down to shock Mayo in last year's corresponding fixture but the sides haven't met since then.

Mayo were playing Division 1 football this year, with Galway in Division 2. Cora Staunton is in a rich vein of form for Mayo and could tilt the balance.

Betting: Galway 2/1 Mayo 4/9 Draw 9/1

Verdict: Mayo

TODAY

LIBERTY INSURANCE Senior C'ship

Clare v Galway, Cusack Park, Ennis, 1.0,

A Lagrue

A must-win game for both sides as they lie level in Group 1, fighting for second place. Therese Maher has been outstanding for Galway, while Clare will look to Deirdre Murphy.

Verdict: Clare

Kilkenny v Wexford, Nowlan Park, 1.0, F McNamara,

*Highlights on The Sunday Game

Kilkenny have scorched through the round-robin phases and will fancy their chances. However, All-Ireland champions Wexford perform best when the pressure is on and expect Kate Kelly and Ursula Jacob to lead the charge and secure the win.

Verdict: Wexford

Intermediate Championship

Antrim v Kilkenny, 1.0, Sarsfields, Belfast, P Dowd

Verdict: Kilkenny

Limerick v Waterford, 6.30, Kileedy, J O'Leary

Verdict: Limerick

Irish Independent

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