Weekend Gaelic Games club previews

There’s action in football and hurling at county and interprovincial levels

David Clifford will be in action for East Kerry against Dr Crokes in the Kerry SFC Final  in Tralee on Sunday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

David Clifford will be in action for East Kerry against Dr Crokes in the Kerry SFC Final in Tralee on Sunday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

 

FOOTBALL - SATURDAY

TIPPERARY SFC FINAL
Clonmel Commercials v JK Brackens, Semple Stadium, 2.30
– Clonmel look to maintain their recent record of winning the title in alternate years and having added a Munster title four years ago, are understandably hot favourites against a Brackens team in the club’s first final although they deposed champions Moyle Rovers along the way. Verdict: Commercials

SUNDAY

CONNACHT CLUB SFC SEMI-FINALS
Tír Chonaill Gaels (London) v Pádraig Pearses (Roscommon), McGovern Park, Ruislip, 2.0
– Led by London’s Liam Gavagan, who kicked a late winner in the county final, TCG will be a tricky assignment for Pearses but the Roscommon champions looked impressive when winning well against a Tourlestrane side that had been optimistic about the quarter-final. Verdict: Padraig Pearses

Corofin (Galway) v Ballintubber (Mayo), Tuam Stadium, 2.0 [Deferred, TG4] – Although they put in a feisty challenge against the All-Ireland champions a year ago until Ian Burke helped to finish them off, Ballintubber have generally been unable to handle Corofin in the province. They may be encouraged by the signs in the Galway final that the champions were treading water with what is usually one of their strongest suits, the creation and taking of scoring chances, ailing both days against Tuam. They did though show resilience and appetite in holding off a serious challenge and have too much quality and practice about them. Verdict: Corofin

LEINSTER CLUB SFC QUARTER-FINALS
Newtown Blues (Louth) v Ballyboden St Enda’s (Dublin), Gaelic Grounds, Drogheda, 1.30
– Ballyboden negotiated the Dublin final straightforwardly enough and manager Anthony Rainbow made the point that although the Basquels attract most of the attention, his team is otherwise well stocked in attack. Former footballer of the year Michael Macauley was taken off with suspected concussion last week and may be rested. The Blues have just completed a three-in-a-row in Louth but have yet to impact in Leinster. They need greater consistency and are up against it here. Verdict: Ballyboden

St Patrick’s (Wicklow) v Portlaoise (Laois), Aughrim, 1.30 – Great win for the Wicklow champions away to Ferbane in the first round with Tommy Kelly and Patrick McWalter leading the charge overturn a five-point deficit at one stage. The perennial Laois standard bearers will be a different but no team from the county takes trips to Aughrim for granted. Verdict: Portlaoise

Garrycastle (Westmeath) v Ratoath (Meath), TEG Cusack Park, 1.30 – A fine performance in the closing stages of the Westmeath final, backed up by a comprehensive dispatch of Killoe in the provincial quarter-final emphatically stated former champions, Garrycastle’s credentials. Ratoath though were hugely impressive in the Meath final, winning their first title with quality and pace throughout from Conor McGill to the Wallaces but this may come down to experience. Verdict: Garrycastle

Éire Óg (Carlow) v Sarsfields (Kildare), Netwatch Cullen Park, 2.0 – Éire Óg got up and running with a big opening against Castletown in the first round and even if they fell away in the second half, the match was largely over. This looks however a bridge too far given Sarsfields’ performances against recent Leinster champions Moorefield in the Kildare final. Verdict: Sarsfields

MUNSTER CLUB SFC QUARTER-FINALS
Miltown-Malbay (Clare) v Rathgormack (Waterford), Miltown-Malbay, 1.30
– Miltown, one of several clubs to require replays in their county final, have a couple of injury concerns but it shouldn’t prevent them reporting for a semi-final against the Tipp winners. Verdict: Miltown-Malbay

Nemo Rangers (Cork) v Newcastlewest (Limerick), Mallow, 1.30 – Nemo were clear champions in Cork and will be expected to make it past the Iain Corbett-inspired Newcastlewest. Verdict: Nemo

KERRY SFC FINAL
East Kerry v Dr Crokes, Austin Stack Park, 3.0
– Eagerly awaited contest between All-Ireland finalists and up-and-coming divisional outfit, glittering with the David Clifford stardust. Tony Brosnan was in form for Crokes and news that he will be injury-free for this is a boost with Micheál Burns and Jordan Kiely out in the long term. Obviously the four-in-a-row chasing champions have the experience but East Kerry have the momentum. Verdict: East Kerry

HURLING - SUNDAY

MUNSTER CLUB SHC SEMI-FINALS
Borris-Ileigh (Tipperary) v Glen Rovers (Cork), Semple Stadium, 1.30
– The Glen come into this on the down-swing of the county final defeat whereas their opponents have just picked up a first Tipp title in 33 years. A high-class engine room with Brendan Maher at centre back and Dan McCormack at centrefield provide the power but teenage corner forward JD Devaney provided the cutting edge. Glen Rovers tried to combine muscle with Patrick Horgan’s artillery but Imokilly brushed it off. Verdict: Borris-Ileigh

Ballygunner (Waterford) v Patrickswell (Limerick), Walsh Park, 1.45 [Live, TG4] – Ballygunner’s response to All-Ireland disappointment last season has seen an impressive improvement. The addition of new players, most notably Dessie Hutchinson but also Conor Sheehan and Paddy Leavy has strengthened the team but the leadership core remains and the structured patterns creating space. This will be a serious test in that Patrickswell come with a team studded with All-Ireland winners - Diarmuid Byrnes, Cian Lynch and Aaron Gillane - and capable back-up. They will make it tight for the champions, whose display against Sixmilebridge last week was a serious high to have to emulate. The Gunners though, have the bit between their teeth. Verdict: Ballygunner

ULSTER CLUB SHC FINAL
Dunloy Cúchullains (Antrim) v Slaughtneil Emmets (Derry), Páirc Esler, 3.0
– Without a provincial title in 10 years, Dunloy come into this looking to avenge defeat by Slaughtneil in the semi-final two seasons ago. There is a sense however that the lines on the graph of the clubs’ fortunes have crossed. Verdict: Dunloy

GALWAY SHC FINAL
Liam Mellows v St Thomas’, Pearse Stadium, 2.30 – Thomas’s have managed to bury the disappointment of last March’s club final shellacking and get back to the county final. These clubs have won the last three Galway championships but Thomas’s have the experience and top-line talent to retain the title even if the city club, with Tadhg Haran scoring well, are likely to be more competitive than in last year’s final when defeated by nine points. Verdict: St Thomas’

WOMEN’S FOOTBALL - SUNDAY

ALL-IRELAND CLUB SFC SEMI-FINALS
Kilkerrin-Clonberne (Galway) v Foxrock-Cabinteely (Dublin), Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence, Bekan, 2.0
– Fox-Cab’s continuing pursuit of the senior All-Ireland hasn’t been helped by Footballer of the Year Sinéad Goldrick’s departure to the WAFL but they retained Leinster without too much fuss and Niamh Collins is back for this. Kilkerrin had a good Connacht campaign with Olivia Divilly in top form and a cadre of experience, including Galway’s 2004 All-Ireland winning captain Annette Clarke but the Dubliners can maintain course. Verdict: Foxrock-Cabinteely

Mourneabbey (Cork) v Donaghmoyne (Monaghan); Clyda Rovers GAA club, 1.0 – The clubs have an eventful history with All-Ireland champions Mourneabbey having been frustrated on their way to the top of the club game in both the 2016 semi-final and the previous year’s final by the Monaghan team. With the title finally secured and the arrival of Dublin’s Noelle Healy to complement the plethora of Cork inter-county talent, the tables have probably turned at this stage. Verdict: Mourneabbey

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