TODAY:Hurling Shinty international series second leg
Ireland (25) v Scotland (19), Cusack Park, 2.05
Clare SHC final Newmarket-on-Fergus v Cratloe, Cusack Park, 3.30 – Newmarket are separated from their most recent county title by a 31-year gap and arguably had a better shot at winning in their most recent final four years ago when surprised by Clonlara. Cratloe play more in the style of the county’s successful under-21s, a number of whom feature tomorrow.
Although the weather has been good in the county this week the pitch may still be heavy enough to benefit Newmarket slightly. Liam Sheedy has been assisting with their preparations in an advisory capacity. Cratloe won their previous title three years ago when the county also won the under-21 All-Ireland but Newmarket, a century after their first, can end what has truly been a famine.
Cork SFC final
Castlehaven v Duhallow, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 3.45 – A subdued championship to date has already qualified Castlehaven for the Munster club campaign, as divisional teams can’t enter. They have the benefit of having reached last year’s county final where they didn’t do themselves justice.
Coach Ned English has reconstructed Duhallow in the modern style with a tight, defensive set-up and a cautious game plan. His side are also blessed by the presence of two of Cork’s best players, newly awarded All Star Aidan Walsh and Donncha O’Connor. Castlehaven have three of the county’s brighter talents in Damien Cahalane, Brian Hurley and Mark Collins. It’ll be tight but the west Cork club can take the title.
Kerry SFC final
Dingle v Dr Crokes, Austin Stack Park, 3.30 – Disappointed by their eclipse in last season’s All-Ireland semi-final, Crokes are back and playing well under the new management of Noel O’Leary. Colm Cooper is still the conductor of the team but their movement and ability to rotate the ball in attack until the best-placed forward is found marks them out as the best side in the county. Dingle have had a good year with a young team, who have been playing consistently and banging in goals in industrial quantities – 12 in four matches. It’s 64 years since they last won the title but they may have to wait at least one more.
Meath SFC final
Navan O’Mahony’s v Wolfe Tones, Páirc Tailteann, 3.30 – This year’s final is a local affair with O’Mahony’s up against the neighbours. The town club are carrying a heavyweight injury list with Kevin Reilly, Mark Ward and Shane McKeigue missing but centrefielders Cormac McGuinness and Barry Regan can deny their opponents the platform to facilitate Cian Ward up front.
Westmeath SFC final replay Garrycastle v Mullingar Shamrocks, Cusack Park, 2.30 – Mullingar launched a fantastic comeback against last season’s All-Ireland finalists and nearly completed it last week. Instead it’s a second replayed final in succession and the champions, who are on a four-in-a-row have the experience to make sure tomorrow.
Leinster club SFC first round
St Patrick’s (Wicklow) v Éire Óg (Carlow), Aughrim, 2.30 – Back on the road after four years, the Carlow champions will be missing the suspended Alan O’Brien but they can still take the honours here against St Pat’s and former Mayo forward Austin O’Malley.
Emmet Óg Killoe (Longford) v St Anne’s (Wexford), Pearse Park, 2.30 – Terrific display by Emmet Óg in winning the Longford replay but extra-time and the consequent celebrations perhaps give St Anne’s a bit of an edge.
Rhode (Offaly) v St Patrick’s (Louth), Tullamore, 2.30 – Emphatic winners in the county final Rhode should have too much experience and craft for Paddy Keenan’s St Pat’s.
Ulster Club SHC final
Portaferry (Down) v Loughgiel (Antrim), Casement Park, 2.30 – The All-Ireland champions will have too much for Portaferry.
Connacht Club SFC preliminary round
St Brigid’s (Roscommon) v Melvin Gaels (Leitrim), Kiltoom, 2.30 – After last season’s terrible disappointment in losing to the All-Ireland semi-final, St Brigid’s are on the long road back under former Mayo footballer and RTÉ analyst Kevin McStay. Melvin Gaels sparkled in the Leitrim final even though Emlyn Mulligan was quiet but this looks too steep.
Munster Club SHC quarter-final
Kilmallock (Limerick) v Thurles Sarsfields (Tipperary), Gaelic Grounds, 2.0 – Considering their domination of the county championship Sarsfields have a poor record in the province and this will be a tricky assignment. They did meet two years ago when Kilmallock were better value than a five-point defeat and this year Tony Considine’s team comprehensively defeated Munster champions Na Piarsaigh but Thurles are marginally preferred.