It’s less than two months since the AIB All-Ireland club finals and yet the real action is underway again.

patrickswell

Club Fixtures: The talking points

BY SHANE STAPLETON

 

 

It’s less than two months since the AIB All-Ireland club finals and yet the real action is underway again.

The second knockout round of the Dublin football championship is on the horizon and this time the Dublin Under-21 players will be fully involved.

Hurling finalists on Paddy’s Day, Ballyea, are back in action while 2016 champions Na Piarsaigh are looking to recover from last year’s disappointment.

Let us know on social media what other club fixtures you’re looking forward to.

St Oliver Plunkett’s Eoghan Ruadh v Castleknock

When Plunkett’s knocked out Ballyboden recently, there were four former Footballers of the Year on the field. Michael Darragh Macauley was on the wrong side of the result but Alan and Bernard Brogan, along with Kerry import Paul Galvin, were on the winning team. Ciaran Kilkenny is the talisman for Castleknock who made it to the county final last year, beating the Brogan band along the way. Plunkett’s are fancied but this is a bigger rivalry that many might expect. Plunketts man Mick Galvin won an All-Ireland with Dublin in 95, but his son Ben plays for Castleknock. Likewise Rory Boland, who will watch his son Shane in those same opposing colours. Fermanagh man James Sherry (Castleknock) is married to Ross McConnell's (Plunketts) twin sister, and he will face off against his former Erne County team-mate Shane Lyons. In a further twist, Sherry is a physio for a number of the players he is battling against this weekend.

broganplunketts

Ballyea v Wolfe Tones

Having gone so far last year, Ballyea are back to ground zero as they again look to climb to the summit of hurling. Of course, no one would’ve expected it from them at the beginning of 2016, though now they will be marked men in Clare. They must do so without Cathal Doohan who has gone travelling, and no doubt their defence will miss him as the Aarons — Shanagher and Cunningham — provide a massive threat. Robbie Hogan stepped down as manager after Paddy’s Day and the man now leading Ballyea is 1995 Clare hero Fergal Hegarty. The Tones haven’t been a huge force since the days of the Lohans, Brian and Daithi O’Connell, but have good young guns coming and many are tipping a shock.

Cushendall v Loughgiel Shamrocks
It might be league but one of the tastier ties in the country will be the meeting of these two rivals. Neil McManus has been in excellent form for Antrim since returning from a broken cheekbone and could be the difference again.


Carbery Rangers v Ilen Rovers
The sides had a draw after extra-time in Castlehaven and it’s the one senior football game scheduled in Cork this weekend. Carbery Rangers won their maiden title in 2016 and will expect big things from John O’Rourke and Robbie Kiely.

ballyeatony

Carbery Rangers v Ilen Rovers
The sides had a draw after extra-time in Castlehaven and it’s the one senior football game scheduled in Cork this weekend. Carbery Rangers won their maiden title in 2016 and will expect big things from John O’Rourke and Robbie Kiely.


Na Piarsaigh v Patrickswell
The 2016 AIB All-Ireland club hurling champions fell at the first hurdle when they began their defence last season, and it’s certainly a tough task to recover so quickly from Paddy’s Day to again hit championship pace. A year in the shadows will have them fired up against a Patrickswell side who are out to retain a county title they took from their rivals. It would be wrong to boil this down as a battle between Shane Dowling and Cian Lynch, but they will be major players. A 7pm throw-in at the Gaelic Grounds makes for an enticing clash.

 

You are signed in as:null
Please Edit
No comments yet
<< BACK TO BLOGS