Weekend previews and team news
Women’ s All-Ireland Club SF C final Fox rock-Cabin tee ly( Dublin) vM our ne abbey( Cork) (ParnellPark,5.15–LiveonTG4)
■ No shortage of hunger in this final, as the clubs have lost the last four between them– the Cork club three times and Foxrock-Cabinteely two years ago – so there will be one elated team in Parnell Park this evening. For a number of players they’ re rene wing acquaintances after September’ s inter-county All-Ireland final. M our ne abbey have the edge that they beat their opponents in last year’ s semi-final but the south Dublin club have kicked on since then. When they shocked Car na con with late scores in the 2016 semi-final they were simply unable to stay with the experienced multiple champions D on aghmoyne.T his year thought hey again came late through RoisínMc Govern to beat the Mon ag han side and won’ t be intimidated by the opposition despite the narrow loss 12 months ago. In a strong Mourneabbey attack Ci ar a and Do ire ann O’ Sullivan both collected T G 4 All Stars last weekend and they were clinical beating Foxrock last year but their All-Ireland final displays haven’ t always been. In these mi-final they comfortably beat K ilk err in-Cl on ber ne, who had evicted champions Car na con so there’ s not much in it but the Le inst er champions have refreshed their line-up to a greater extent and in Dublin’s Sinéad Goldrick, another All Star, and Niamh Collins plus Lorna F us ci ar di they have a terrific baseathalfback. Verdict:Foxrock-Cabinteely O’ Byrne Cup( Le inst er SF) round one LouthvWexford (Darver, 5.0) Laois v Meath (O’MoorePark,6.0)
LongfordvWicklow (Newtownforbes,7.0) ■ The inter-county season is with us again, brought forward by nearly a month to thin any scheduling difficulties with the secondary provincial competitions. The main focus of interest is going to be on how the experimental rules play out in their first trial matches even if the most significant information will come from the league fixtures, starting in January. Me a th, the holders, travel to Port la oise to take on the Leinster finalists but these matches and Sunday’ s between Carlo wand West me a th are unlikely to be the source of any immediate revelation. Wick low manager John Evans said during the week that anecdotal evidence from referees suggested that they are finding the task of keeping track of the maximum three consecutive passes a challenge. There will be another round of matches next weekend when Ulster’ s M cK en na Cup gets off the blocks before a break until after Christmas.
Le inst er club SF C final Kil ma cu dCrok es( Dublin) vMul lin a lag ht a( Long ford) (O’ Connor Park, Tull a more ,1.30– Live on T G 4)
The immense contrast between a small rural club and one of Dublin’ s suburban behemoths – where reportedly a man from Derry introduced two members to each other at the annual Seven s–has become the main narrative but Mull in a lag ht a area hardy collective with plenty of experience in the AI B Le inst er championship and a portfolio of decent performance sin the past three years. They beat St L oman’ s from West me a thin 2016 and lost narrowly to them last year before L oman’ s should have won the Le inst er title instead of melting down. They were competitive with St Vincent’s two years ago even if the result got away from them – unreflective ly–in the end. Given the flaws in Kilmacud’s semi-final victory, the Longford champions – the first from the county to get to this stage – may well feel that the odds are a little unforgiving but there’s more in the Dublin champions than they showed against Port la oise, whose clever use of the ball and sharp goal finishing was undermined by inaccurate point shooting. Crokes have been more goal-proof than appeared two weeks ago and they will want to retrieve that form as R ian Brady and Jay son Matthews have been sharp in the full forward line. Both C ian O’ Sullivan and Paul Mann ion were slightly subdued against Port la oise and it would be expected that they can deliver better in the final. Overall, Crokes have to panel strength to see this through.
Verdict: Kilmacud Crokes O’ Byrne Cup( Le inst er SF) round one CarlowvWestmeath (Net watch Cullen Park ,2.0) Walsh Cup (Leinster SH) round one OffalyvLaois (Birr,2.0)
Paul Mannion: will be expected ■ to deliver for Kilmacud Crokes