February 9th, 2019

GAA – Weekend Preview

What a Weekend ahead, especially for the Antrim Club Scene. St Enda’s from Glengormley take on Kilcummin of Kerry at Croke and Cushendall take on Galways St Thomas in the hurling.

St Thomas v Cushendall

St John’s Ciaran Johnston goes high to win the ball during the Antrim Senior Hurling Championship semi-final draw with Ruairi Og Cushendall two weeks ago in Dunloy. The sides will meet again on Sunday in Ballycastle to see who goes through to meet Loughgiel in the final. Pic by John McIlwaine

Antrim and Ulster Champions Cushendall are once again outsiders in a competitive 2 horse race. We have Cushendall priced at 9/2 to win the match but they’ve been here and done it before. They beat Sarsfields at this stage in 2016. 14 out of the 15 starters are there again for the Ruairi Og’s. Cushendall are expected to have Aaron Graffin back from Injury which would be a big plus. He shouldn’t be walking unaided but it says a lot about him the fact that he’s expected to start. Neil McManus as always will be crucial to Cushendalls hopes.

St Thomas are Galway and Muster Champions. Their recent history is impressive, Galway Champions 2012, 2016 and 2018. A-I Champions in 2013. They have the experience and quality of the Burkes and Conor Cooney. They are favourites and rightly so but any disrespect they show to Cushendall is likely to be punished. I think St Thomas by a point or 2.

St Endas v Kilcummin

St Endas take on Kerry Kilcummin at Croke Park on Saturday. Kilcummin are heavy favourites and given Kerry teams record in the competition its no surprise really. St Endas though have defied underdog status on many occasions this year.

Kilcummin booked their final place by beating Two Mile House of Kildare. A hard earned 1 point victory AET in a goal-less match sent them through. The match itself was physical and defences were definitely on top. Kilcummin did win with 14 men after Kevin Gorman was sent off in the 42nd minute. Kevin McCarthy entered the fray in Extra time and was the Semi-final hero with the winning point.

St Endas quietly fancy their chances. Captain James McAuley promised manager Frank Fitzsimons this trophy after victory over Gort na Mona in Antrim. Underdogs against Mullahoran in Ulster and An Spideal in their Semi-final, St Endas keep on going. St Endas have had plenty of praise for their style of football and hope to receive some more come Saturday. They are quietly confident and are a super fit team. If they can live with the Croke Park atmosphere and pressure they have a great chance of taking the trophy home. Toals.com have them as underdogs but I dont!!

National League Football

Division 1

Tyrone

Kerry v Dublin and Mayo v Cavan are Saturday nights games. Mayo look good after dismantling Tyrone with ease last week and should be way too strong for Cavan. Dublin will take Kerry but the price is too short at 1/2. Kerry like to raise their game against the City Slickers.

On Sunday its Roscommon v Tyrone. Its hard to take Tyrone as super hot favourites, but that’s what they are. They keep most of the same team involved in last weeks heavy defeat to Mayo.

Monaghan host Galway at Inniskeen on Sunday. Roscommon travel for the 2nd week in a row and after a heavy defeat agaist Dublin, Monaghan will fancy their chances.

Division 2

Armagh take on Meath on Sunday. Armagh come into the game after a disappointing draw last week (Again!). Meath have so far beaten Tipp and showed glimpses of class in defeat to Donegal. Armahg have Jamie Clarke Suspended, a loss for any side but Ryan McShance comes in and has a great chance to impress. Fermanagh also have 2 draws to their name going into their home match-up with Kildare on Saturday. Donegal play bottom side Tipperary on Sundya and can be expected to take home the points and score a few goals.

Division 3

Down are the only Ulster side in Division 3 and host Westmeath on Saturday. After a much needed (late) win against Sligo they need to build momentum. Goalscorer C Mooney and C Poland form a new look midfield and D O’Hare starts after an impressive 4 point salvo from the bench last week.

Division 4

Antrim travel to Carrick-On-Shannon to take on the improvig Leitrim. Leitrim have wins against Wexford & Wicklow so far. Antrim are pointless! (In Division 4) and make changes to try and get their league campaign up and running. Derry visit winless Waterford. McErlain recalls Influential Brendan Rogers to his starting line-up, switching captain McKaigue back into Midfield.

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