Hurling big guns go head-to-head
PREVIEW A LOOK AHEAD TO THE LOCAL G.A.A. ACTION
THE GOOD thing about All-Ireland weekends is that they give hardpressed officials and club workers space to breath, and for the lucky ones than can get their hands on that precious piece of cardboard called an AllIreland ticket, a chance of a day out in the rarefied air of Croke Park.
Just my way of saying that the home programme is lighter than usual this week and mostly confined to Saturday.
DOOLEY POYNTON SHC
The big one of course is the looked forward to meeting of the champions Glenealy and their main challengers Carnew.
The sides have been evenly matched now for many years with results of their meetings varying from year to year.
Glenealy, mainly because they are the champions will start favourites.
However, they do have a lot to recommend them. Players like Leighton Glynn, Jonathan O’Neill, Michael Anthony O’Neill , Enan Glynn and Alan Driver are scarce enough in this county.
Carnew also have their quoto of star players headed by the one and only Don Hyland
We hear that Graham Keogh is back in training after his bad accident at work and may even be starting which is good news for Carnew supporters. Then you have the Collins and Doran brothers, the Kennedys and up and coming players like TJ Hennessy, Seánie Kinsella and Brian Osborne.
Carnew have been concentrating on football this year while their opponents on Saturday have no such distractions.
That in the end is the main reason why we must stay with Glenealy to win.
In the curtain-raiser at Aughrim, Avondale take on Bray Emmets, also in the SHC.
The Bray club are the up and coming force in the game and after winning their fourth Minor hurling championship they must have a lot of young talent available.
Avondale, for many years the real home of hurling in the east, are still great battlers but we must go for the Bray men, who still have an outside chance of qualifying to win this one.
The Keating Trophy, the second tier of the SFC starts up on Saturday with two matches at Arklow.
South neighbours Coolkenno and Shillelagh meet in the first match and local rivalry alone should insure a great battle.
Shillelagh, on their day are one of the best and strongest Senior teams in the county and it should not go un-noticed that the two teams that beat them in their group – St. Pat’s and Rathnew are now through to the semi-finals.
Coolkenno are also a force to be reckoned but the form in their group has not stood the test with both Baltinglass and Newtown biting the dust in the ‘quarters’.
This competition has now taken on a new significance with relegation added in for the team that finished on the bottom of the pile.
On form Shillelagh must get the vote.
Tinahely must also be pleased with how the form in their group of the championship has panned out with both Kiltegan and Bray Emmets, the two teams that beat them also going through to the semi-finals. They must be fancied to beat An Tochar in the second match.
The action starts on Thursday whith the replay of the Junior C match between Avoca and Blessington at Roundwood. Toss a penny on that one.
D’ARCY SAND IFC
One match in the IFC on Saturday. Kilcoole and Kilbride meet at Laragh with little bar relegation at stake. Kilcoole are more than due their first win.
A lot riding on the result of a match between Kilte- gan and Enniskerry at Blessington.
While Kiltegan have booked their place in the knockout stages they will be anxious to keep their ‘winning streak’ going and finish on top of the table.
Enniskerry are the only team that can pass out the west men.
A number of teams, notable St. Pat’s, Rathnew and Kilmac will be watching this result with great interest and all of them will be plugging a Kiltegan win that would keep them in the running for the second qualifying spot.
PHILLIP DOYLE JBFC
One match in the JBFC - St Pat’s v. Bray Emmets at Newtown on Tuesday night. This one is wide open.
PAT REID JHC
Three matches in the JHC - Eire Og at home to Aughrim on Saturday; Avondale v. Carnew and Bray Emmets v. Dunlavin on Sunday morning.
Blessington's Alan Ellis puts pressure on St Pat's goalkeeper Robert Hollingsworth during their Senior football championship quarter-final.