This weekend’s club fixtures

Kerry club final up for grabs as the provincial championships begin

Connacht Club SFC q-f
Tubbercurry (Sligo) v Aughawillan (Leitrim)
Markievicz Park, 2.00
Fresh ground for both these sides, neither of whom have played a Connacht championship game in 20 years. No Leitrim club has managed a win outside the county since 2005 and it will be quite the turn up if the Willies manage it here after they came from nowhere to win Leitrim. Tubbercurry, by contrast, were long overdue a Sligo title – the first in the career of classy forward David Kelly. They should progress here with a bit in hand.


Kildare SFC replay
Moorefield v Sarsfields
Newbridge, 2.30
It's generally not a good idea to let more experienced favourites back into a match you should have closed out in the last 10 minutes. For a good bit of last week's drawn final Sarsfields looked simply the better side and twice looked like pulling away on the score board but they seized up both times. It's possible to stick with them though, as although Moorefield will hope for better from seasoned campaigners like Ross Glavin and Daryl Flynn, Sarsfields can also improve. As their manager John Crofton said, they can learn a lot from the draw and won't have the distraction of the minor final disrupting some of their younger players.Tight margins but Sarsfields can make sure this time.

Leinster Club SFC first round
Rhode (Offaly) v St Patrick's (Louth)
O'Connor Park, 2.30
Rhode's consistency in the grey-skied months has been admirable over the past decade – seven Offaly titles, three Leinster finals. St Pat's have more or less matched them in Louth across that time without making any great provincial impression.Both sides hang their hat on players who are among the best in Leinster – Niall McNamee for Rhode and Paddy Keenan for St Pat's. McNamee possibly has more dependable help to call on.

Rathnew (Wicklow) v Rathvilly (Carlow)
Aughrim, 2.30
Bit of a contrast in styles here – Rathnew have become avowed blanket defence merchants, Rathvilly are a bit more attack-minded and will feed a lot through Brendan Murphy. Two goals in a minute turned the Carlow final their way but Rathnew won't be so obliging. The Wicklow side to win.

Munster SHC quarter-final
Ballygunner (Waterford) v Cratloe (Clare)
Walsh Park, 2.30
No game in either code tomorrow has more potential than this one, with an array of established county names in both selections. Podge Collins, Conor Ryan, Conor McGrath and Cathal McInerney on one side, Pauric Mahony, Shane O'Sullivan and Stephen O'Keeffe on the other. Fergal Hartley's side is young but it showed plenty of steel and wit in the second half of the Waterford final during which they outscored Mount Sion by 0-11 to 0-2 despite playing into a gale. Mahony is a constant threat both from play and placed balls and Cratloe will take plenty of minding. Cratloe's ever-filling diary might catch them out somewhere along the way but it's hard to see why they're the 11/8 outsiders in this one – they took their last three games in the Clare championship by eight, seven and eight points respectively. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to see this tilting their way.


Ulster SHC-final replay
Cushendall (Antrim) v Slaughneill (Derry)
Loughgeil, 2.30
Slaughtneil are the Cratloe of the north, their footballers completing an unlikely double in Derry last Sunday with a surprise win over Ballinderry. Yet it probably wasn't quite as big a surprise as them eking a draw out of this Ulster hurling semi-final a fortnight ago. Cushendall really should be mopping this replay up.

Kerry SFC final

Austin Stacks v Mid Kerry

Austin Stack Park, 3.00

In Killarney all week, they'll have been sticking pins in Kieran Donaghy voodoo dolls. A win for Mid Kerry here sends the Crokes into another Munster championship (they're actually shorter odds for it than Austin Stacks are, despite exiting the Kerry championship away back in the early summer). Donaghy has been central to the Stacks road to the final. He started the year playing midfield but after a dislocated shoulder and another reinvention in his guise as saviour of Kerry's season, he has returned in the forward line and left room for 39-year-old William Kirby to keep on trucking through the middle. Although both sides strolled through their semi-finals, Mid Kerry's form looks marginally more impressive. Darran O'Sullivan and Donnchadh Walsh are their go-to men in attack, with O'Sullivan looking especially refreshed having missed much of Kerry's summer with a niggle that wouldn't go away. It could be enough to get the divisional side over the line.

Westmeath SFC final
Garrycastle v Mullingar Shamrocks
Cusack Park, 3.30
The fourth final meeting in five seasons for this pair, with the score standing a 2-1 to Garrycastle and a drawn final in there as well. Take it that neither side has much to hide from the other. Mullingar are managed by Bernard Flynn these days and their attack is built around full-forward Daragh Daly. They got past St Lomans after a replay but were blessed that John Heslin had an off-day for the holders, kicking more wides by himself than the Shamrocks managed as a whole. Garrycastle have that bit more experience and it could tell in the end.

Wexford SHC final replay
Shelmaliers v St Anne's
Wexford Park, 3.00
After so many years of watching Oulart pick up county titles at will, last Sunday' drawn final looked very much like nobody knew how to go about it. A half-time scoreline of 1-3 to 0-5 gives a flavour of the sort of game it was – a final score of 1-10 to 0-13 doesn't say much for the second half either. St Anne's should have closed it out in truth but Shelmaliers, with Joe Kelly a beacon amid the gloom, found a last-minute equaliser through Ciarán O'Shaughnessy. If St Anne's can get Diarmuid O'Keeffe and Liam Óg McGovern into the game even just a little bit better this time around, they should prevail.

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin is a sports writer with The Irish Times