GAA football and hurling previews
A look ahead to the weekend’s club action
In Michael Cussen (pictured), Cian McCarthy and Daniel Kearney, Sarsfields are likely to have just too much firepower for Midleton. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Dublin SFC final
Ballymun Kickhams v St Vincents, Parnell Park, 3.00
Wherever and whenever the road ends, Ballymun’s achievement in just making it back to the Dublin final deserves a tip of the hat. In the past 30 years, only the three-in-a-row Na Fianna side of the turn of the millennium got to a Dublin final the year they played in an All Ireland final. It’s a testament to both will and constitution that they’re still thriving.
Vincent’s are here on the back of a stellar month from Diarmuid Connolly, Shane Carthy and Mossy Quinn. Yet it’s hard to see the three of them getting enough space to do damage against a Ballymun side with arguably the meanest defence in the country – they’ve conceded just five goals in 15 championship games.
Leinster SFC club first round
Longford Slashers (Longford) v Rathnew (Wicklow), Longford, 2.30
For two clubs who routinely farm their home county titles – Rathnew’s latest was their 31st, Slashers’ was their 16th – neither have made much of a recent impression on the Leinster championship. The combination of James Stafford’s poise and the fizz of Leighton Glynn, back in harness after the best part of two years on the sidelines, ought to be enough for Rathnew to progress.
Munster SFC club quarter-finals
Dr Crokes (Kerry) v Castlehaven (Cork), Killarney, 2.0
Potentially the game of the day, assuming that Castlehaven don’t get caught in the headlights like they did in last year’s Munster final. Crokes are likely to be in no mood to entertain them though, having turned the Kerry championship into a cakewalk with their fourth title on the bounce. This could well be their stiffest test this side of St Patrick’s Day but they should have a few points to spare all the same.
Verdict: Dr Crokes
Ballinacourty (Waterford) v Dromcollogher-Broadford (Limerick), Dungarvan, 2.00
Gary Hurney’s trojan attempts to keep Ballinacourty’s flag flying hauled them through the county final against Stradbally but even with home advantage, they look to have a lot on their hands here. Seanie Buckley and Michael Reidy will do plenty of donkey work for the Limerick champions and exiled Cavan man Killian Phair has been a huge addition.
Tipperary SFC final
Aherlow Gaels v Loughmore-Castleiney, Semple Stadium, 2.30
Aherlow’s tolerance for sentiment is likely to be low so Loughmore-Castleiney’s hectic last six weeks can only be a negative here. That said, they probably have pound for pound the better side with the McGrath brothers Noel and John as crucial here as they were to the hurlers. But fatigue must play its part and with Barry Grogan on form for Aherlow, a second weekend of heartache in Semple could be on the cards.
Verdict: Aherlow Gaels
Ulster SFC club quarter-finals
Glenswilly (Donegal) v St Galls (Antrim), Ballybofey, 2.30
Tough one for Michael Murphy and Glenswilly. St Gall’s are a hard-nosed, battle-sharp side who’ve won seven in a row in Antrim and were All-Ireland champions three years ago. CJ McGourty is as deadly a forward as there is when he’s in the mood and Seán Kelly orchestrates from centre-back. If they hold Murphy, they hold Glenswilly.
Verdict: St Gall’s