Previews Club fixtures
Today Waterford SFC final replay – Stradbally v The NireFraher Field, 7pm
Yet another replay in the county football final (the fourth in the past 10 years) with Stradbally slight favourites having been the more pleased with the draw. The Nire had the opportunity to put the match away but let their opponents back into it. Hurling luminary Brick Walsh was in terrific form for Stradbally and a more consistent display from the team can get them home.
Kilkenny SHC final
Ballyhale Shamrocks v Dicksboro
Even in the absence of All Star TJ Reid Ballyhale are surely packing too much for a promising Dicksboro team. Hurler of the Year Henry Shefflin is fit and playing well, which together with Colin Fennelly’s form gives the attack unusual menace for a club side. If there’s any drop-off in the favourites’ performance they will be vulnerable but there’s too much to counter going in against a team that tops the betting for the All-Ireland title before they’ve even played the county final. That’s for a reason.
Leinster Club SFC quarter-finals
St Patrick’s (Wicklow) v Portlaoise (Laois)
Fresh from the first win by a team from Wicklow in the championship in nearly 10 years, St Pat’s must make more history as Portlaoise have never lost to a Wicklow club. They’ll be facing an old boy in former Laois player Darragh McEvoy, whose form was excellent the last day. Still the visitors are practised Leinster performers and won the title two years ago. Firing well in Laois, they should progress.
Emmet Óg Killoe (Longford) v Navan O’Mahony’s (Meath)
Killoe have been making heroic progress, taking the county title after a replay and following up with a battling defeat of St Anne’s from Wexford. O’Mahony’s were unexpectedly big winners against Wolfe Tones in the county final despite a big injury list. They have the momentum to go through opponents.
Sarsfields (Kildare) v St Patrick’s (Louth)
Back in the provincial championship for the first time in seven years, Sarsfields under the management of John Crofton hit hard in the second half of their county final to win comfortably and Kildare forward Alan Smith was man of the match. Their opponents pulled off something of a coup by defeating Rhode although their best-known player Paddy Keenan pointed to the big display against Portlaoise last year as evidence of their threat. With five county titles in recent years St Pat’s have yet to impact on Leinster and although they pose a threat, a home win is likely.
Mullingar Shamrocks (Westmeath) v Ballymun Kickhams (Dublin)
In a very open championship both of these sides have reason for optimism. Mullingar eliminated last year’s All-Ireland finalists Garrycastle whereas Ballymun emerged from Dublin having beaten two of the past five All-Ireland champions. Durable and with home advantage Shamrocks will be a severe test for a young and untested team but the Dubliners have the potential to do damage and that may start tomorrow.