Selected Tips & Preview of The Weekend's Senior GAA Club Football ActionWe've reached the final stage in three of the provinces as titles in Munster, Ulster & Connacht will be decided this Sunday. Meanwhile in Leinster, there are two semi-finals to be played in a bumper day of senior club football action.
ULSTER CLUB SFC FINAL ~ SLAUGHTNEIL V CAVAN GAELS SUNDAY 3PMSlaughtneil beat Donegal champions Kilcar in their semi-final overcoming a narrow half-time deficit to win by two goals. Sé McGuigan gave them a six-point lead around ten minutes into the second-half and that proved to be the killer blow. Goalkeeper Antoin McMullan played a part in keeping the scores at a comfortable distance making three saves from goal-scoring opportunities. Another notable factor to take from the game was that Slaughtneil had nine different scorers on the day.
Cavan Gaels have been county champions in ten of the last sixteen years and are looking to go at least one step further by winning a provincial title for the first time (and be the first Cavan team to do so). They needed a replay to overcome Derrygonnelly and what a crazy game it was last Sunday! Three goals in five minutes in the first-half rocked the Fermanagh side and Paul O'Connor bagged his hat-trick in the second-half to put the Gaels six points up. Derrygonnelly clawed the game back and led by a point three minutes into stoppage time but the Gaels had one last effort in them and scored a goal through Barry Fortune. Their force in the air in the full-forward line was the big factor in them winning the game and no doubt they'll be looking to utilise that again.
RECOMMENDED TIPS - SLAUGHTNEIL -3 @ 1/2
MUNSTER CLUB SFC FINAL ~ NEMO RANGERS V DR CROKES SUNDAY 2PMIt's Cork v Kerry in the Munster club final this Sunday as two heavyweights of the south go into battle. Nemo Rangers easily beat Adare in their semi-final with Paul Kerrigan (0-06), Luke Connolly (1-03) & Barry O'Driscoll (1-03) scoring a large chunk of the 2-17 amassed. The result was expected as Adare were playing intermediate football 12 months ago so but Nemo Rangers till went about business in a clinical fashion. Tomás Ó Sé missed that game and is likely to miss the final too with a groin injury.
Dr Crokes are the All-Ireland champions but memories of their loss to Sunday's opponents in a provincial final may still linger. Nemo Rangers were comfortably beating them at half-time in 2011 and the game was effectively over by half-time. However, Crokes porduced a remarkable comeback and nearly got back level but ran out of time. They dusted themselves down from that defeat and continued to produce classy players and teams. And of course they went on to become All-Ireland champions in March this year for the second time in their history. Crokes didn't have such an easy semi-final and had to play with 14 men for a period as Alan O'Sullivan was sent off. They did manage to get over the line against Clonmel though and now an intriguing encounter awaits in Páirc Uí Rinn.
RECOMMENDED TIPS - NEMO RANGERS +4 @4/6 / ANYTIME GOALSCORER LUKE CONNOLLY @ 7/4
CONNACHT CLUB SFC FINAL ~ COROFIN V CASTLEBAR MITCHELS SUNDAY 2PMTwo clubs with aspirations of making it to Croke Park on St. Patrick's Day. Corofin have won the last five Galway championships while Castlebar Michels have won the last three in Mayo. They have recent history too with both sides claiming victories over each other in the past six years.
Sunday will be another tight game that could be settled by the odd score. Both sides have been tested along the way the the final. Mitchels had scraps against Mohill & Tourlestrane with them needing to come from two points down against the latter. However, they remained composed and a Danny Kirby goal sent them on their way to victory. Paddy Durcan is one of their leaders and again showed his importance and the free-taking of David Stenson proved vital.
Corofin had All-Star hurler Daithí Burke come off the bench to score a vital goal in their semi-final against St Brigids. The gap between the teams the previous year was fifteen points but this year the Galway champions needed extra-time to get over the line against the Roscommon champions. Senan Kilbride was equally as important to Corofin's cause as Stenson was to Mitchels', kicking seven points (0-06f).
RECOMMENDED TIPS - CASTLEBAR TO WIN @ 15/8
LEINSTER CLUB SFC SEMI-FINAL ~ RATHNEW V MOOREFIELD SUNDAY 2PMRathnew were the story of the weekend two weeks ago as they knocked Dublin champions St Vincents out on a scorline of 1-13 to 1-09. The last time they won a provinical title was in 2001 and they had three players from that team playing two weeks ago.
Moorefield beat Portlaoise by a point in their semi-final. The winning point came in the fourth minute of stoppage time in a dramatic ending. Eanna O'Connor kicked five points and scored a vital goal in the second-half leveling up the scores.
It's likely to be an attritional game which could very well go down to the wire. Rathnew's spirit, belief and experince could well be a major factor but Moorefield will surely match them for committment and quality.
RECOMMENDED TIPS - RATHNEW +3 @ 8/15 / ANYTIME GOALSCORER EANNA O'CONNOR @ 11/4
LEINSTER CLUB SFC SEMI-FINAL ~ ST LOMANS V SIMONSTOWN SUNDAY 2PMIn the other Leinster semi-final, it's Westmeath v Meath as Colm O'Rourke's Simonstown Gaels look to get the better of a St Lomans side consisting of players such as John Heslin and Shane Dempsey. Heslin is a big player for club and county and could provide the Westmeath outfit with the cutting edge on the day.
They had a tricky encounter against Muillinalagtha the last day and needed substitutions to swing the game in their favour when it was in the balance. Simonstown weren't really tested the last day against Starlights who were extremely wasteful.
RECOMMENDED TIPS - ST LOMANS -1 @ 4/5 / ANYTIME GOALSCORER JOHN HESLIN @ 2/1
SLAUGHTNEIL -3 @ 1/2
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NEMO RANGERS +4 @ 4/6
CASTLEBAR @ 15/8
RATHNEW +3 @ 8/15
ST LOMANS -1 @ 4/5
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