GAA club championship weekend previews

Moorefield’s missing players tilt the balance towards St Loman’s in Leinster football final

Éanna O’Connor: posed constant problems for Rathnew while his  marksmanship from placed balls was impeccable. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

Éanna O’Connor: posed constant problems for Rathnew while his marksmanship from placed balls was impeccable. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

 

AIB CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS

Leinster SFC final

Moorefield (Kildare) v St Loman’s (Westmeath), O’Moore Park, 2.0 [Live TG4]

For the first time in eight years the Leinster final takes place with no Dublin team involved.

Although it was Rathnew who took champions St Vincent’s scalp, Moorefield were impressively focused when going to Aughrim and eliminating the Wicklow champions despite being down to 14 men. Their defence was very capable in grim conditions and confined the opposition for two scores in the whole of the second half.

 Their best player was Éanna O’Connor, who posed constant problems while his marksmanship from placed balls was impeccable. His brother Cian will miss the match because of a rashly-earned red card and manager Ross Glavin acknowledged that discipline has been a bit of an issue this season.

 On top of that they will be missing county players Adam Tyrrell and Ryan Houlihan, both of whom are on overseas duty with the Army.

 St Loman’s come into this with the advantage of manager Luke Dempsey’s experience both as a Kildare man but more specifically, having had a recent stint in charge of Moorefield.

 The Westmeath champions have varied it so far. A great start put them in the driving seat against a useful Tyrrellspass side but in Leinster they have diced with death in their matches, showing great resilience to recover a six-point deficit against a Mullinalaghta side who had beaten them a year previously and then falling seven behind, admittedly early on, against Simonstown in the semi-final.

 Their attack is accomplished with John Heslin the prime mover and in good form but he has good support from Shane Dempsey and Ken Casey and another county stalwart Paul Sharry has also been to the fore of the club’s progress. Defence is held together by the veteran Paddy Dowdall who is another having a fine campaign.

 They also have strength in depth and Dempsey has been adept at launching the bench.

 Moorefield have an experienced core of Daryl Flynn, David Whyte and Ronan Sweeney and the menace of O’Connor and Niall Hurley Lynch up front but the players missing weakens them. There may be a slight question over whether Loman’s have an out-and-out man marker to deal with O’Connor but as a unit they have the edge.

All-Ireland SFC quarter-final Fulham Irish (Britain) v Corofin (Galway), Ruislip, 1.0

Corofin demonstrated plenty of iron in the soul when seeing off Castlebar in the Connacht final and although they will be missing Ciarán McGrath who has a knee injury and Daithí Burke, in Singapore with the hurling All Stars, they should have enough to cope with the London champions, managed by Down All-Ireland winner Greg McCartan.

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