Munster opens with Cork-Kerry clash


GAELIC GAMES CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE:ALL FOUR provinces have now confirmed their club championship schedule and, as if on cue, there’s a Cork-Kerry pairing to open the Munster football championship.

Clonakilty, who last Sunday week captured their first Cork county football title in 13 years, have been drawn away to the Kerry champions in one of two quarter-finals, set for November 8th.

The Kerry championship is still only at the quarter-final stage, with all four games due for decision this weekend. If there is a delay due to replays then Kerry may come under pressure to finish their championship on time, but there is also the possibility that the winners of this Sunday’s Kerry Club League final – where Ardfert take on Kerins O’Rahillys – will be the Kerry representatives in the Munster championship if, as may well happen, a divisional team win the county title.

Five of the eight teams left are divisional teams; South Kerry, Mid Kerry, St Michael’s/Foilmore, St Brendan’s and Feale Rangers – but such divisional teams are prohibited from competing in the Munster championship.

If one of the three club sides ends up winning – Dr Crokes, Austin Stacks or Laune Rangers – then the issue doesn’t arise. Last year, for example, Mid Kerry won the Kerry senior title, and therefore weren’t allowed to compete in Munster, and the Kerry Club League champions were the representatives instead.

It could therefore happen that Ardfert, one of the smallest clubs in the country, will become the Kerry representatives, if they manage to beat Kerins O’Rahillys on Sunday.

This would be an extraordinary achievement for the North Kerry club, especially given the fact that five years ago they were at the very bottom of Division Four of the County League. Things changed dramatically when they appointed a local man, Pat O’Driscoll, as manager and since then he has guided them to both the All-Ireland junior and intermediate titles. It’s no surprise that O’Driscoll is being mooted as possibly the next Kerry minor manager in succession to John Kennedy, who recently resigned after four years at the helm.

In the other Munster club football quarter-final, also on November 8th, the Clare champions will have home advantage against their Limerick counterparts. The Tipperary and Waterford representatives have both received byes to the semi-finals, set for November 22nd, while the final has been set for December 6th.

In Leinster, the delay in the Dublin championship after Tuesday evening’s second draw between Ballyboden St Enda’s, and Kilmacud Crokes, the All-Ireland champions, shouldn’t present too much of a problem. The second replay is set for next Tuesday, but the eventual champions aren’t out in the provincial championship until November 8th, where they will have home advantage over the Wicklow champions, that team being known after this Sunday’s county final between Rathnew and St Patricks.

The Dublin hurling champions, however, have a more difficult task as they’ve been drawn away in the Leinster semi-final against either the Wexford or Kilkenny champions.

Ulster sets the provincial campaign in motion this weekend with their hurling semi-final between Down champions Ballycran and Derry champions Kevin Lynchs, who beat Slaughtneil 2-15 to 1-13 last night.

Antrim’s Cuchullain Dunloy are already given a place in the Ulster hurling final, which takes place on October 25th.

The Ulster club football championship begins on Sunday week with the meeting of the Cavan and Antrim champions at Breffni Park, with the four quarter-finals then taking place in November.

In Connacht, the club football championship also starts on Sunday week with the meeting of Sligo champions Tourlestraneand Castlerea from Roscommon.

The Galway hurling champions, as usual, become the provincial representatives. That final was scheduled for Pearse Stadium on October 25th, but has been put back until November 8th. Loughrea, who have been in action over the past two weekends, were successful in an appeal to the Galway Co Board CCC and their clash with Mullagh will now take place the weekend after next. Portumna, who are bidding to become the first side in either hurling or football to win three All-Ireland club titles, will take on Gort in the first semi-final at Athenry on Sunday in a repeat of last year’s final.


November 8th: Quarter-finals, Kerry v Cork (Clonakilty), Kerry venue; Clare v Limerick, Clare venue. November 22nd: Semi-finals, Tipperary v Kerry/Clonakilty, Cork or Kerry venue; Waterford v Clare/Limerick, Waterford or Limerick venue. December 6th: Final.


November 1st: Quarter-final, Tipperary v Cork, Tipperary venue. November 15th: Semi-finals, Limerick v Tipperary/Cork, Tipperary or Cork venue; Waterford v Clare, Waterford venue. November 29th: Final.


(1) Wexford v Kilkenny, November 1st, Wexford Park; (2) Winners 1 v Dublin, November 15th, Wexford/Kilkenny; (3) Clonkill (Westmeath) v Laois, November 1st, Mullingar; (4) Winners 3 v Offaly, November 15th, Mullingar/Portlaoise; Final: Winners 2 v Winners 4, November 29th.


October 25th (1) Mattock Rangers (LH) v Laois, Drogheda, October 25th; (2) (1) v Meath, Drogheda/Portlaoise, November 11th; (3) Kildare v Offaly, October 25th, Newbridge; (4) (3) v Carlow, November 8th; Newbridge/Tullamore; (5) Clongish (LD) v Horeswood (WX), October 25th, Longford; (6) (5) v Garrycastle (WH), November 8th, Longford/Wexford; (7) Dublin v Wicklow, November 8th, Parnell Park; Semi-finals: (8) 2 v 4, 6 v 7, November 22nd; Final: December 6th.


(1) Semi-final: Derry v Down at Casement Park, October 11th; Final: Winners 1 v Antrim at Casement Park, October 25th.


October 18th: Cavan v Antrim, at Breffni Park; November 1st: Derry v Fermanagh, Celtic Park; November 1st: Down v Donegal at Páirc Esler; November 1st: Monaghan v Tyrone at Clones; November 1st: Armagh v Cavan or Antrim. Semi-finals: Derry/Fermanagh v Down/Donegal; November 15th; Monaghan/Tyrone v Armagh/Cavan/Antrim, November 15th; Final: November 29th.


(A) Tourlestrane (Sligo) v Castlerea (Roscommon), Sligo, October 18th. Semi-finals: Glencar (Leitrim) v Galway; Mayo v Winners A, November 8th. Final: November 22nd.