GAA club championship weekend previews

Dublin football semi-finals, finals in Meath and Roscommon, and Cork hurling decider

All eyes will be on St Vincent’s Diarmuid Connolly in Sunday’s Dublin football semi-final. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

All eyes will be on St Vincent’s Diarmuid Connolly in Sunday’s Dublin football semi-final. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

Saturday

Dublin SFC semi-final Ballyboden St Enda’s v Kilmacud Crokes (Parnell Park, 5.30) Tightly balanced semi-final, as Crokes attempt to reach both finals for the first time in six years. There’s an edge to 2016 All-Ireland champions Ballyboden but the Stillorgan club’s attack is more convincing.

Kildare SHC final Ardclough v Celbridge (Newbridge, 3.30) Nine of the last 14 titles between them, the sides contest – astonishingly – a first final against each other. Champions Ardclough deserve to be favourites.

Sunday

Carlow SHC final Mount Leinster Rangers v St Mullins ( Netwatch Cullen Park, 3.45) Holders MLR get a crack at the club that brought them down after they had reached the 2014 All-Ireland and went on to a three-in-a-row. The champions are the form team.

Cork SHC final Midleton v Imokilly ( Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 4.0, deferred coverage, TG4) Interesting final pitches holders Imokilly into an east Cork derby. Midleton earned their place with wins over the big city clubs Glen Rovers and Blackrock but this looks a bridge too far.

Down SFC final Burren v Kilcoo (Páirc Esler, 4.0) Perennial champions Kilcoo – after a seventh on the bounce – take on their predecessors from faraway 2011. Yet to win an Ulster, they have the firepower to take another county title but Burren will be fired up.

Dublin SFC semi-final St Vincent’s v St Judes (Parnell Park, 4.0) Heading for a sixth final, Vincent’s may well be pushed by a Judes team who came late to clip favourites Ballymun in the quarter-final.

Laois SFC final O’Dempseys v Portlaoise (O’Moore Park, 3.30) Having slipped in the previous years, Portlaoise got back on track last season and carry too much threat for the challengers.

Leitrim SFC final Aughawillan v Mohill (Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada, 3.0) Inaccuracy contributed to Aughawillan’s defeat by the champions earlier in the season but although the challengers have improved since, the champions remain the better bet.

London SHC final Robert Emmetts v St Gabriels (McGovern Park, 3.0) Deprived of a three-in-a-row last year, Emmetts will be keen to put the record straight.

Longford SFC final replay Abbeylara v Mullinalaghta St Columba’s (Pearse Park, 3.45) Both sides capable of better than the low-scoring ill-discipline of the draw but the champions will be more careful after Abbeylara’s comeback.

Mayo SHC final Ballyhaunis v Tooreen (Ballyhaunis, 3.0) Tooreen put a stop to Ballyhaunis’s gallop last year and are likely to keep things that way.

Meath SFC final Dunboyne v Summerhill (Páirc Tailteann, 3.30) Dunboyne are the favourites to take a first title in 13 years after evicting back-to-back champions Simonstown but Summerhill have been a more constant presence in recent years.

Offaly SFC final Ferbane v Rhode ( O’Connor Park, 4.0) The endless Rhode wind their way towards a 10th championship in 15 years whereas their opponents haven’t won one in 24.

Roscommon SFC final Clann na nGael v St Brigids ( Dr Hyde Park, 4.0, live TG4) Although they have slipped a little off the All-Ireland standard, Brigids remain a formidable outfit and have the edge against Clann, who got here with a late goal.

Sligo SFC final Tourlestrane v Tubbercurry ( Enniscrone, 4.0) On the verge of a third successive title, favourites Tourlestrane may nonetheless be vulnerable here.

Wexford SFC final Kilanerin v Shelmaliers ( Innovate Wexford Park, 3.15) Kilanerin are just back up from intermediate whereas Shelmaliers are after a first football championship just four years after their inaugural hurling title and have the tactical acumen to clamp down on Matty Forde’s enduring influence.

Wicklow SFC final Rathnew v St Patricks (Aughrim, 3.0) Champions Rathnew are capable of a fifth title in six years, intensifying St Pats misery, having lost three finals since 2012.

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