COUNTY FINAL PREVIEWS
TODAY CONNACHT CLUB SFC SEMI-FINALS Castlebar Mitchels (Mayo) v Tourlestrane (Sligo), MacHale Park, 2pm
It is hard to believe that the Mayo champions will be as sluggish as they were against Mohill last weekend and if their mind is on the job, their quality — Paddy Durcan, Barry Moran and Danny Kirby providing inter-county experience — and the accuracy of Neil Douglas should see them over the line. Verdict: Castlebar
Corofin (Galway) v St Brigid’s (Roscommon), Tuam Stadium, 2pm
St Brigid’s will argue that they are in a better place than 12 months ago when they were hammered in the corresponding fixture — the return of former county star Peter Domican adding some weight to that — but the Galway champions are simply playing at another level as they bid to reach a fourth provincial final in a row. With players of the calibre of Liam Silke, Martin Farragher, Gary Sice, Micheal Lundy and Ian Burke, they won’t be stopped here.
LEINSTER CLUB SFC QUARTER-FINALS Rathnew (Wicklow) v St Vincent’s (Dublin), Aughrim, 2pm
Aughrim is never the easiest of places to visit, while Rathnew have been making all the right noises this week, but there is a gulf in class here which will not be bridged. Expect Diarmuid Connolly, with backup from the likes of Enda Varley and Shane Carthy, to make some hay here.
Verdict: St Vincent’s
Portlaoise (Laois) v Moorefield (Kildare), O’Moore Park, 2pm
Moorefield’s mettle can hardly be questioned after they defeated Cellbridge in the Kildare final despite playing with just 13 men for more than half of the game, while also missing a first-half penalty. But Portlaoise know how to win — the excellent Bruno McCormack getting them over the line last time out against Rhode — and with home advantage they should edge this.
Mullinalaghta (Longford) v St Loman’s (Westmeath), Pearse Park, 2pm
Luke Dempsey’s St Loman’s team will start as slight favourites but he will need his star man John Heslin to be at his brilliant best here. Mullinalaghta have already shown that last year’s run to the Leinster semi-final was no fluke and they may be set to do it all over again.
Starlights (Wexford) v Simonstown Gaels (Meath), Innovate Wexford Park, 2pm
There was much to be impressed about in Starlights emphatic win over St Martin’s in the Wexford final, not least a thundering display from Liam Ryan at midfield. But this represents a significant stepup against Meath champions Simonstown, who will be keen for a run in Leinster after last year’s narrow defeat to Rhode.
Verdict: Simonstown Gaels
MUNSTER CLUB SFC SEMI-FINALS Dr Crokes (Kerry) v Kilmurry-Ibrickane (Clare), Dr Crokes GAA, 2pm
Kilmurry-Ibrickane finished nine points shy in the corresponding fixture 12 months ago and there is little evidence that they have closed the gap on the AllIreland champions in the interim. With home advantage and a high octane attack, in which Colm Cooper continues to pull the strings, the margin should be even bigger this time. Verdict: Dr Crokes
Nemo Rangers (Cork) v Adare (Limerick), Mallow, 2.45pm
Two clubs at the opposite ends of the tradition spectrum, Adare are firsttime Limerick champions while Nemo are bidding to reach their 18th Munster final. While questions hang over the porous nature of the Nemo defence, Adare are unlikely to be in a position to stresstest that apparent weakness.
Verdict: Nemo Rangers
ULSTER SFC SEMI-FINAL Derrygonnelly (Fermanagh) v Cavan Gaels (Cavan), Clones, 2pm
A novel clash which sees Derrygonnelly seek to reach their first ever final against Cavan Gaels side whose last — and solitary — appearance in the final was 40 years ago. The latter’s high-powered attack led by Seánie Johnston and Martin Dunne should ensure that anniversary is celebrated in some style.
Verdict: Cavan Gaels
HERO: Dr Crokes star Colm Cooper celebrates with Pat O’Shea
KEY: St Vincent’s Diarmuid Connolly