Slaughtneil shaping up for victory in Ulster club SFC semi-final
GAA Club Football Previews: Castlebar, Cavan, Dr Crokes, Nemo Rangers tipped to win
Ulster club SFC semi-final
Slaughtneil (Derry) v Kilcar (Donegal)
Live, TG4, 6.00
These are the good old days for Slaughtneil. Only the second Derry club ever to put together a four-in-a-row of county titles, they will deserve mention in the same breath as Crossmaglen, Burren, Scotstown and Clan na Gael as one of the great Ulster club teams if they collect a third title in the coming weeks. They’ve conceded just two goals in Ulster competition since October 2014. Kilcar dragged a scintillating display from somewhere after a poor start against Scotstown on the last day, but Slaughtneil’s experience should prevail.
(Throw-ins at 2pm unless stated)
Connacht club SFC semi-finals
Castlebar Mitchels (Mayo) v Tourlestrane (Sligo)
This was a horrid mismatch last year, with the Sligo side only managing a single point in the first half despite the game being in Markievicz Park. On the road this time around, it’s hard to see a significantly different outcome. Tourlestrane will pack their defence and look to hit Mitchels on the break, but the Mayo champions surely won’t be too long detained.
Corofin (Galway) v St Brigid’s (Roscommon)
Live, TG4, 1.30
Another repeat of a mauling from last year, Corofin having atomised Brigid’s in the Connacht final. Brigid’s needed two late goals to squeeze through the Roscommon final under Frankie Dolan and would need a huge improvement to give the five-in-a-row Galway champions a test.
Leinster club SFC quarter-finals
Rathnew (Wicklow) v St Vincent’s (Dublin)
St Vincent’s have a ludicrously strong Leinster club championship record – they’re without a defeat in the competition since 1983. Each of their six Dublin titles since then have been franked with a Leinster one soon after. Despite their sometimes patchy display in the Dublin final, they have too much know-how to allow Rathnew within spitting distance here.
Verdict: St Vincent’s
Portlaoise (Laois) v Moorefield (Kildare)
In different circumstances, potentially the game of the day. In the days before the Dublin clubs ate the Leinster Championship whole, there was always room for a Portlaoise or a Moorefield to make hay. The Kildare team dug out an unlikely victory in the Kildare final despite being down to 13 men after 20 minutes, and the suspensions of Daryl Flynn and David White are a burden they must carry here. It means they will probably need more out of veteran Roli Sweeney than he can feasibly be asked to give at this stage. Portlaoise have no excuses here.
Mullinalaghta (Longford) v St Loman’s (Westmeath)
The Longford champions were convincing winners over Éire Óg of Carlow last time out, and beat St Loman’s at this stage last year as well. They rely heavily on the McGivney brothers, James and David, for their scores, and though they might not boast the relative star power of John Heslin and Paul Sharry, they know what they’re about and can beat them again.
Starlights (Wexford) v Simonstown Gaels (Meath)
The Wexford championship has just thrown up its ninth different winner in the past 11 seasons, which makes it the most competitive in the country. Starlights might well feel their race is run now, while Simonstown have some making up to do after not doing themselves justice in last year’s Leinster championship. Could be enough to swing it.
Munster club SFC semi-finals
Dr Crokes (Kerry) v Kilmurry-Ibrickane (Clare)
Lewis Road, Killarney
Crokes walked this fixture after a close enough first half last year, and put away a pretty handy Clonmel side in the previous round a fortnight ago. You’d imagine the only major question here is whether they leave Colm Cooper off again ahead of the final.
Verdict: Dr Crokes
Nemo Rangers (Cork) v Adare (Limerick)
Adare are some story, the traditionally strong hurling town having dug a football team out of the ground and followed last year’s Limerick intermediate title with a first-ever senior one this time around. This is surely where the road ends, though. Nemo are missing Tomás Ó Sé and Cian McWhinney, but they will be much too strong whoever they pick.
Verdict: Nemo Rangers
Ulster club SFC semi-final
Derrygonnelly Harps (Fermanagh) v Cavan Gaels (Cavan)
Beating Armagh Harps a fortnight ago was a big step forward for Derrygonnelly, having departed Ulster at the first opportunity each of the past two years. They’re up against a Cavan Gaels team that has Seánie Johnston and Martin Dunne in its full-forward line, and the greater firepower can get the Cavan side over the line.
Verdict: Cavan Gaels