AIB Club final Garrycastle V Crossmaglen Rangers – Live from 16.45 this Saturday on TG4
Garrycastle came up to Croke Park on the 17th of March written off completely, but found themselves four points up at half time. The Leinster champions faded as the game progressed and were lucky to hang on for a draw. Crossmaglen will probably never play as bad again and with their inspirational captain Stephen Kernan back in the side we can expect a much more organized approach.
The bookies once again have this one down as a no contest but Garrycastle are well used to being underdogs. Oisín McConville only scored one point from play in the drawn match and if the men from Westmeath are to have any hope they will have to ensure he is equally subdued on Saturday. However even if they do manage to do that Cross have another outstanding forward in Jamie Clarke. Clarke drifted in and out of the last game but still managed to add three points to his sides over all tally.
The twenty one year old is a natural footballer, who has the ability to find time and space in the most difficult situations. Garrycastle just don’t have the same depth of quality players and Crossmaglen should make no mistake the second time round.
Kilkenny V Galway – Live on TG4 from 1.30
Kilkenny lost last weekend. Take a long look at that last statement because it is not something you see very often. Last week down in Páirc Uí Chaoimh Kilkenny only scored one point from play in the second half, for the caliber of forwards they have this is unheard of. Cork’s defense had such a strangle hold over the Kilkenny attack that the normally mild mannered Richie Power lashed out in frustration and was sent off. Expect a massive backlash to last weekend’s defeat on Sunday. Tommy Walsh is expected to come back in to the team and you can be sure he will want to make sure he is not dropped again.
Galway are in a strange position, if they win on Sunday they could make the semi finals, but if they lose they could face Dublin in a relegation play off. This means they can’t afford to take this game lightly. Which Galway will turn up in Nolan Park is the question? Will it be the fine side that saw off Cork’s young guns or the disappointing outfit that were brushed aside by a Waterford side in crisis? In both Galway’s wins thus far Niall Burke has scored ten points or more and the same will be required if they are to have any chance of taming the cats.
Verdict : Kilkenny
Full defferred coverage from 16.05
Tipperary have named their strongest side possible for Sunday with Brendan Cummins, Paul Curran, Conor O’Mahony and John O’Brien all start in place of Darren Gleeson, Conor O’Brien, John Coghlan and John O’Neill. This match may be seen as irrelevant if it was between any other teams. The men from the Premier county are assured of division 1A status already and should they win, they would probably face Cork again in the semi finals ahead of a probable clash in the Munster championship. On the other hand Declan Ryan has shown so far that he is not afraid to change players and everyone is fighting for a place, most notable the two Burkes and James Woodlock.
Cork on the other hand want all the matches they can get, with such a young team JBM will be hoping they can keep playing matches right up until the start of the championship. Lehane impressed once again against Kilkenny but he faces a new challenge in two time all star Padrac Maher. Who ever wins this battle could well decide who wins this game
Paul Jenkins, Blog GAA Beo