Thursday 23 November 2017

Weekend's previews


Kildare v Cork, Semple Stadium, 4.0, D O'Mahoney (Tipperary)

This final pits two counties who have caught on to the potential for player development that this grade can provide.

Already this year, Kildare have lost the likes of Mikey Conway, Mark Scanlon and Ollie Lyons to the senior side, but they have still defeated all-comers.

When Cork saw off Sligo in their semi-final, their main performers were Kevin Hallissey and Eoin O'Mahony, with Andrew O'Sullivan and Daniel O'Donovan providing a solid platform in midfield.

And while Darroch Mulhall can do damage for the Lilies, the Rebels look a more rounded side.

Verdict: Cork

All-Ireland U-21 HC semi-finals

(Extra-time if necessary)

Galway v Limerick, Semple Stadium, 6.0, A Stapleton (Laois) *LIVE TG4

It says a lot about Galway's underage record that they are only narrow outsiders against a Limerick team who are battle-hardened after their Munster championship campaign.

Three years ago, they were in the minor final and the likes of captain Barry Daly, Johnny Coen, Richie Cummins, David Burke, James Regan, Gerard O'Halloran and Niall O'Donoghue have senior experience.

Limerick boast two of the hottest talents around in Declan Hannon and Kevin Downes but the latter's hand injury casts a doubt on the extent of his participation.

Limerick have plenty more outside those two, but after a 25-point hammering at the hands of Tipperary in last year's final (which was played in Thurles), Galway will be seriously motivated.

Odds: Limerick 5/6 Galway 11/10 Draw 9/1

Verdict: Limerick

GALWAY -- J Ryan; D Connolly, N Donohue, G O'Halloran; R Foy, P Gordon, J Grealish; J Coen, D Burke; B Daly, N Burke, T Haran; J Regan, C Cooney, D Glennon.

LIMERICK -- A Murphy; A Dempsey, P Begley, S O'Reilly; J O'Brien, C Hayes, T O'Callaghan; C Allis, S O'Brien; N Kennedy, D Hannon, S Dowling; M Ryan, K Downes, G Mulcahy.

Antrim v Dublin, Newry, 4.0,

F Smith (Meath) LIVE *TG4

Even if Dublin are still licking their wounds after the senior side's exit, the prospect of an All-Ireland final appearance should be enough to rouse their interest.

Odds of 1/100 about the Dubs show what certain bookmakers make of this one, as Antrim had just two points to spare over Armagh in the Ulster final.

Liam Rushe et al could win this one pulling up.

Odds: Dublin 1/100 Antrim 14/1 Draw 33/1

Verdict: Dublin

DUBLIN -- G McManus; B O'Carroll, D Kelly, J Doughan; D Curran, L Rushe, M Quilty; C Cough, D Sutcliffe; D Plunkett, M Schutte, S McGrath; K O'Loughlin, N McMorrow, E Dillon.

All-Ireland U-21'B' HC semi-finals

(Extra-time if necessary)

Roscommon v Kerry, Toomevara, 2.0, M O'Connor (Limerick)

Verdict: Kerry

Donegal v Westmeath Ballinamore, 2.0,

P Greene (Galway)

Verdict: Westmeath

ladies sfc


Meath v Monaghan, St Brendan's Park Birr, Offaly, 2.0,

K Delahunty *Live TG4

A last-minute point left Meath heartbroken in the Leinster final, but they bounced back in fine fashion when making light work of Sligo in the qualifiers.

They will, however, face sterner opposition when they take on Ulster champions Monaghan.

They have been there or thereabouts in the league and championship over the last few years, but the Farney ladies will be hoping that they can push on and capture their first Brendan Martin Cup since 1997.

Meath's captain Grainne Nulty is doubtful for the clash. If she loses out, and with Monaghan spirits high following their Ulster Championships triumph, the odds will be against the Royal County.

Verdict: Monaghan

Meath -- I Munnelly; L McKeever, A Murray, O Sheridan; F Mahon, E Rahill, K Allen; K O'Brien, G Nulty (capt); C O'Shaughnessy, E Duffy, S Bennett; J Rispin, M Sheridan, V McCormack.

Monaghan -- E Corrigan; G McNally, S Courtney, C Reilly; A McAnespie, N Fahy, L Connolly; A Casey, C Courtney; T McNally, E McCarron, C McConnell; C McAnespie, N Kindlon, C Mohan.

Cork v Dublin, St Brendan's Park, Birr, 4.0, J Niland

Without a doubt, this is the game of the year so far, as defending All-Ireland champions Dublin take on 2009 champions Cork.

The Jackies made a shaky start to their defence of the title, bowing out of the Leinster championship to Meath at the semi-final stage, but, in fairness to Tommy Brown and his players, they have since racked up two good wins over Kildare and Galway in the qualifiers.

Noel O'Connor will be pleased as Cork have performed consistently well this season in both the league and championship.

To date, wins over Clare and Kerry in the Munster championship resulted in yet another Munster title and the only concern is the six-week lay-off since that game.

Both teams will fancy their chances and don't be surprised if extra-time is required. A tentative nod to the Leesiders.

Verdict: Cork

Cork -- E Harte; AM Walsh, A Walsh, D O'Reilly; B Corkey, B Stack, G O'Flynn; J Murphy, A Walsh; N Cleary, M Kelly, G Kearney; V Mulcahy, R Ní Bhuachalla, A O'Shea (capt).

Dublin -- C O'Connor (capt); G O'Malley, J O'Sullivan, S Goldrick; G Fay, S Furlong, A McKenna; D Masterson, N McEvoy; N Healy, E Kelly, L Peat; L Davey, S Ahern, A Ring.



IC Semi-finals

Wexford v Derry, Pairc Tailteann Navan, 1.30, J O'Neill (Cork)

Wexford bid to emulate the feat of their senior counterparts by qualifying for their second All-Ireland Intermediate final in a row, but they face a formidable challenge against an accomplished Derry side.

Verdict: Wexford

Antrim v Limerick, Pairc Tailteann Navan, 3.0, A O'Brien (Wexford)

Limerick's full-forward line of Dymphna O'Brien, Vera Sheehan and Niamh Mulcahy are crucial for their side's All-Ireland aspirations and their experience should see them shade this tie, by the slimmest of margins.

Verdict: Limerick


Junior Semi-Finals

Down v Meath, Pairc Ui Neill Clontibret, 2.0, J Dolan (Clare)

Lisa McCrickard captains Down from centre-forward and her performance along with that of Niamh Mallon is vital to her county's chances of success.

Meath, who collected league final honours earlier this season, will look to Edel Guy at midfield and the formidable Jane Dolan at centre-forward to lead the way.

A difficult tie to call, but Meath should have enough to secure a win.

Verdict: Meath

Laois v Waterford, Nowlan Park, 2.30, M McToal (Derry)

Waterford will be highly motivated to return to Croke Park in search of a crown that has so far eluded them.

Powered by triple All-Ireland Poc Fada winner Patricia Jackman at midfield, as well as Karen Kelly at full-forward, the Deise have proven quality.

Verdict: Waterford

All-Ireland Junior 'A' semi-final

Offaly v Westmeath, Rath, 3.0,

G McGough (Dublin)

Westmeath, led by the superb Sandra Greville at centre-forward, Pamela Greville at midfield along with captain Aisling Conaty at centre-back, enter the tie as slight favourites. However, Offaly won't lack for motivation and will pose a formidable threat.

Verdict: Westmeath


All-Ireland MFC


(Extra-time if necessary)

Roscommon v Tipperary, Croke Park, 1.30, D Brazil (Offaly)


While July 30 will be remembered for Donegal's enthralling clash with Kildare and Kevin Cassidy's late winning point, it should be noted that Croke Park had already witnessed one thriller that day.

Roscommon had edged out Armagh after extra-time earlier that evening with a powerful performance from captain John McManus (son of Tony) and a nerveless display of place-kicking from Tom Corcoran.

Tipperary saw off Meath in the other quarter-final with a gutsy defensive display with Michael Quinlivan in good form, but Roscommon look to be holding the aces here.

Odds: Roscommon 4/6 Tipperary 6/4 Draw 7/1

Verdict: Roscommon

TIPPERARY -- E Comerford: N O'Sullivan, J Meagher, C O'Sullivan; C O'Riordan, D Fitzelle, S Kennedy; S O'Brien, I Fahey; G Henry, P Quirke, B Maher; L McGrath, M Quinlivan, TJ Ryan.

Irish Independent

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