Kilmacud Crokes hurling manager Kieran Dowling has raised the prospect of next weekend’s planned Leinster final double-header at Croke Park being separated, as it involves both of the club’s senior teams, leaving one player, Brian Sheehy, with a potentially busy Sunday afternoon.
Sheehy is the club’s only dual player and starts for the hurlers and generally comes off the bench for the footballers, who face The Downs in the scheduled opening fixture.
“I think it’s a conversation for the club to have with the Leinster Council,” said Dowling after yesterday’s semi-final 1-24 to 1-12 win over St Mullin’s of Carlow, which saw the Dublin champions reach their first provincial hurling final.
“I’ll leave it to the chairman. Look, all I want is Brian to be able to perform at his best; that’s all. I don’t think that’s unfair. If it was Loughmore-Castleiney [last year’s Tipperary dual champions, who to be fair fielded nearly identical teams in both football and hurling] or a Cork team, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
They will face champions Ballyhale Shamrocks of Kilkenny whenever the final gets played.
Both semi-finals were ultimately straightforward but last year’s intermediate champions Naas proved more than feisty when facing hurling’s most successful club, Ballyhale Shamrocks, and battled to half-time with just a point in it before the Kilkenny side pulled away.
The AIB club championships this weekend may have found themselves in the unusual position of going up against the World Cup but in several neighbourhoods there was only going to be one winner.
Limerick football champions Newcastle West went to Thurles as underdogs but had the last bark, as they literally ran out winners in extra time, 1-16 to 1-11, against Clonmel Commercials, conquerors in the last round of Cork aristocrats Nemo Rangers.
“We know how good they are and we believed in the boys,” said victorious manager Jimmy Lee. “It was about them believing in themselves. The last two weeks in training, I was extremely happy with them.”
They will now face Kerins O’Rahilly’s in the final after the Kerry club saw off Éire Óg from Ennis by a point, 1-9 to 1-8, having been without their totemic centrefielder David Moran for most of the match. He picked up early yellow cards and was gone.
It will be a matter of lasting remorse for the Clare champions that they couldn’t translate their numerical advantage for so long – they too lost a player, Mark McInerney, but not until the 58th minute – on to the scoreboard, especially as Philip Talty spurned a close-range chance to equalise in the dying minutes.
It is O’Rahilly’s first provincial final since 1999 and Newcastle West’s first since 1987. Neither have won the title.
In Ulster the much anticipated final between All-Ireland champions Kilcoo and Glen from Derry, crystallised with a thumping win for the Down team against Enniskillen Gaels on Saturday and a day later, a less exuberant victory for Glen against a battling Cargin.
It wasn’t all good news for Kilmacud Crokes, as their women’s team were beaten by Monaghan’s Donaghmoyne in the All-Ireland semi-final. The winners will face Kilkerin-Clonberne, emphatic winners over serial Waterford champions Ballymacarbry in Saturday’s semi-final.