Weekend Gaelic games previews, throw-in times and TV details

There’s action in all four provinces in another packed schedule of games

TJ Reid celebrates scoring a point for Ballyhale Shamrocks in the Kilkenny SHC Final against O’Loughlin Gaels at  UPMC Nowlan Park. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

TJ Reid celebrates scoring a point for Ballyhale Shamrocks in the Kilkenny SHC Final against O’Loughlin Gaels at UPMC Nowlan Park. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

 

Saturday

Ulster Club SFC quarter-finals

Dromore (Tyrone) v Derrygonnelly Harps (Fermanagh), Carrickmore, 1.30
Dromore were impressive Tyrone winners and have a kindly route to the final. Derrygonnelly are experienced and not to be taken for granted but are unlikely to get in the way of Tyrone’s best shot at Ulster in a while.

Ramor United (Cavan) v Kilcoo (Down), Kingspan Breffni, 6.0 – Live RTÉ
In downing Gowna after a replay in the Cavan final, the Virginia side based their success on a free-scoring full-forward line with Jack Brady looking sharp. Champions Kilcoo have long learned to handle promising attacks and their pacey, combination play makes them hard to contain, as should be on display on Saturday evening.

Leinster Club SHC quarter-final

Mount Leinster Rangers (Carlow) v Ballyhale Shamrocks (Kilkenny), Netwatch Cullen Park, 2.0
Two years ago, Ballyhale defeated St Mullin’s in a routine provincial final but this year’s Carlow opponents have actually won a Leinster title, albeit eight years ago. Ballyhale are reigning All-Ireland champions, having won both of the past two before last year’s pandemic-enforced shutdown.

They were a bit sluggish in the Kilkenny final against O’Loughlins but finished strongly with 2-6 after the second water break. The quality of their attack with TJ Reid, Adrian Mullin and Eoin Cody on board is clear.

MLR have other problems. Like Wexford champions Rapparees, they won their county back in September and also like the Enniscorthy club they have had football adventures in the meantime. It didn’t end well for Raps last week and it’s unlikely the Carlow champions will fare much better.

Munster Club SFC quarter-final

Newcastle West (Limerick) v The Nire (Waterford), Newcastle West, 1.0
A rare home match in the province for the Limerick champions – the first since they lost to eventual All-Ireland winners O’Donovan Rossa in 1992 – this should be nip and tuck. The Nire have been to Munster finals, as recently as 2016, but their form in the county final wasn’t great and despite Waterford clubs’ good record against Limerick in the championship, Newcastle may have the edge here.

Sunday

Ulster Club SFC quarter-finals

Creggan (Antrim) v Clann Éireann (Armagh), Corrigan Park, 1.30
Two breakthrough county title winners meet in a match that may be decided by whoever snapped out of the celebrations quicker. Clann’s dispatch of Armagh and Ulster kingpins Crossmaglen gives them an edge.

Glen (Derry) v Scotstown (Monaghan), Celtic Park, 3.15 – Live TG4
Malachy O’Rourke gets re-acquainted with Monaghan football having delivered great days in the past decade. His Glen team have been very impressive to date but have a hell of a passage through Ulster, from St Eunan’s in Donegal in the preliminary round through this, potentially reigning champions Kilcoo and if reaching the final possible Tyrone winners Dromore. Scotstown have experience and will punish any underperformance but with Conor Glass in such good form the home side look more likely.

Leinster Club SFC quarter-finals

Naomh Mairtin (Louth) v Shelmaliers (Wexford), Haggardstown, 1.0
Shelmaliers are in pursuit of a first win in Leinster in either code and the record of Wexford teams in the football isn’t hectic. One positive augury is that the club’s women footballers beat the Louth champs last week. Naomh Mairtin, though, have been carrying unusual expectations for a Louth club – despite reaching three of the first seven Leinster finals up to 1976, the county representatives have been in just one since. So far Naomh Mairtin have delivered with a big win over Rathvilly and are unlikely to stop there.

Naas (Kildare) v Blessington (Wicklow), St Conleth’s Park, 1.0
Two notable first-round matches produced these teams. Blessington travelled to Mullinalaghta and gave the former champions an eight-point lead before recovering to spring a surprise on the Longford team. Opponents this weekend, Naas, were steeped in their win over Tullamore when a late deflection gave them the winning goal. The Wicklow champions look a serious team, well drilled and not inclined to panic but you’d imagine this might be a step too far.

Kilmacud Crokes manager Robbie Brennan. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Kilmacud Crokes manager Robbie Brennan. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Wolfe Tones (Meath) v Kilmacud Crokes (Dublin), Páirc Tailteann, 1.30 – Live TG4
Kilmacud made heavy weather of the Dublin final, finding St Jude’s blanket defence hard to unpick until the very end. Their manager Robbie Brennan has connections with Tones. “Yeah, it’s my dad’s club. He won a championship. For us personally it’s a massive thing so it’ll bookend our journey as a family I suppose.” Three years ago he managed Dunboyne when Crokes gave them a trimming in this championship.

Wolfe Tones are a steady enough outfit, who exposed Dunboyne’s fault lines in the Meath final. Whether they can cope with the more varied attacking threat of the Dublin champions is open to question but they’ll get stuck in and hope that Kilmacud have one of their more underwhelming days.

Portarlington (Laois) v St Loman’s (Westmeath), MW Hire O’Moore Park, 2.0
Port dusted off Portlaoise quite easily and move on to a St Loman’s team which had its hands full with Garrycastle in the replayed county final. The home side are deserved favourites after retaining the Laois title but they will be wary of the marksmanship of Shane Dempsey and John Heslin.

Munster Club SFC quarter-final

Éire Óg (Clare) v Loughmore-Castleiney (Tipperary), Cusack Park, 1.0
Match 18 for the indefatigable Tipperary club. They have almost been getting better with every match but the Ennis club were emphatic winners over Kilmurry in the Clare final and will be formidable opponents.

Connacht Club SFC semi-final

Knockmore (Mayo) v Tourlestrane (Sligo), Ballina, 1.30
Knockmore were comfortable winners in Mayo and will expect to have too much for the Sligo champions, who put in a blistering second half to defeat Coolera-Strandhill in the county final.

Galway SHC final

Clarinbridge v St Thomas, Pearse Stadium, 1.0
Two former All-Ireland winners clash but in the contemporary context, Clarinbridge have come relatively from nowhere with county talent Evan Niland posing a threat to any indiscipline through his free-taking. St Thomas, though, have been putting up high scores and the principal players in their dominance of the county hurling championship, Burkes and Cooneys, are still in good fettle and they are obvious favourites.

Kerry SFC final

Austin Stacks v Kerins O’Rahillys, Tralee, 3.0
It’s strange that there hasn’t been an all-Tralee Kerry final in nearly 60 years but these finalists – who haven’t met in a final since 1936 – arrive after taxing semi-finals. O’Rahillys put paid to Dr Crokes after trailing by five at half-time whereas Stacks went all the way to penalties. Donagh Buckley misses out for O’Rahillys after a red card in the semi-final. Not much in it but Stacks have shown great composure against a succession of divisional teams and can take a first title since 2014.

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