St Jarlath's travel familiar road

 

Connacht champions and beaten All-Ireland finalists St Jarlath's begin the defence of their provincial title next Sunday when they travel to Ballaghaderreen for a first round meeting with St Nathy's.

St Jarlath's set out on a familiar road which saw them reclaim the Aonghus O'Murchu Cup last season, beating western rivals St Patrick's in the final and then going on to upset Tralee CBS en route to the All-Ireland. For St Nathy's, who are competing in the A championship for the first time, the visiting opposition are likely to be unstoppable.

Roscommon CBS, provincial winners two years back, don't come into the action for another two weeks when they face St Colman's at Ballinlough. Also set to meet that weekend are Garbally and Ballyhaunis.

Meanwhile, after a comfortable first outing in the Leinster football championship last Thursday, All-Ireland title holders Good Counsel of New Ross will meet Salesian's of Celbridge in next week's provincial quarter-finals.

The holders were certainly convincing in their 17-point win over Maynooth Post-Primary, a game played without two key team members from last year, Shane Cullen and Thomas Ely. Eric Bradley, also a part of last year's winning side, did manage to overcome his injury problems for an important contribution to Good Counsel's 5-10 total. Salesians, however, will certainly be up for this encounter as they surprisingly dismissed Colaiste Eoin on Friday, winners in Leinster two years ago.

The other quarter-final tie sure to attract attention is that between St Patrick's of Navan and St David's of Artane - a game heightened by the traditional Meath-Dublin rivalry. Both had walkover victories in round two, with further incentive in that they would meet Good Counsel in the semi-final should the champions see off the challenge of Salesian's.

Those quarter-finals take place Wednesday and Thursday of next week, with times and venues yet to be confirmed. Elsewhere, the quarter-final fixtures in Munster resume in a fortnights' time, the same time that Ulster starts into the MacRory Cup quarter-finals.

Leinster SF `A' quarter-final draw: Good Counsel, New Ross v Salesian, Celbridge; St Patrick's, Navan v St David's, Artane; Moate CS v St Mary's, Mullingar; St Joseph's, Rochfortbridge v St Mel's, Longford.