CHAMPS CLING TO THEIR CUPS

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - GAELIC GAMES - BY PAT NOLAN

IT’S a bumper week­end of county foot­ball fi­nal ac­tion with al­most one-third of them down for de­ci­sion to­mor­row.

It’s many of the usual sus­pects too with

Port­laoise bid­ding for an 11th Laois ti­tle in 12 sea­sons, Rhode, St Brigid’s and Tourlestrane on track for three-in-a-row in Of­faly, Roscom­mon and Sligo re­spec­tively, Rath­new seek­ing their fifth in six years in Wick­low and Kil­coo look­ing to make it seven Down ti­tles on the spin.

Also bid­ding for three-ina-row are Mul­li­nalaghta in the re­play of the Long­ford fi­nal against Abbey­lara.

In Wex­ford, the ever­green Mat­tie Forde con­tin­ues to star for Ki­lanerin as they seek their first county ti­tle in a decade against a Shel­maliers side bid­ding for their first.

There will be new cham­pi­ons in Meath as Dun­boyne saw off two-ina-row cham­pi­ons Si­mon­stown Gaels in the semi-fi­nal and they’re odds-on to add Sum­mer­hill to their hitlist in Na­van.

Dun­boyne only won their first county ti­tle in 1998 be­fore adding a sec­ond seven years later.

In the in­terim, they haven’t man­aged to reach a fi­nal though Sum­mer­hill have more re­cent ex­pe­ri­ence hav­ing been cham­pi­ons in 2011 and ‘13 as well as be­ing beaten fi­nal­ists last year.

The Leitrim fi­nals also takes place out west with Mo­hill, cham­pi­ons in 2015 and ‘17, strong favourites against Aughaw­illan, win­ners two years ago.

IMOKILLY bid to em­u­late their achieve­ment of 20 years ago by re­tain­ing the Cork SHC at Mi­dle­ton’s ex­pense to­mor­row.The east Cork out­fit be­came the first di­vi­sional team to re­tain the county ti­tle in1997-98 and hav­ing bridged the gap to those suc­cesses with a four­point win over Blackrock 12 months ago, they reached an­other de­cider with a con­vinc­ing win over UCC last time out.Their di­vi­sional sta­tus means Mi­dle­ton will rep­re­sent Cork in Mun­ster re­gard­less of to­mor­row’s out­come.Imokilly ap­pear to have the edge in class in the shape of Sea­mus Harnedy (left) as well as Bill Cooper, Brian Law­ton, De­clan Dal­ton, Colm Spil­lane and Paudie O’sul­li­van.Mi­dle­ton will look to Conor Le­hane and Luke O’far­rell for in­spi­ra­tion.In Car­low, hold­ers Mount Le­in­ster Rangers are favourites to re­assert their supremacy in the county against 2014-16 cham­pi­ons St Mullin’s.

BEST BAR NONE Port­laoise can make it 11 ti­tles in 12 years

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