Saturday, 28 March 2015

Championship Watch with Seamus Duke

Last Weekend

Game of the Weekend: Galway v Sligo

There were several very good games in the football championship. I didnít see the Longford v Wexford or Meath v Carlow games but talking to people who were there, both games had plenty of excitement. Longford were very unlucky and missed a number of goal chances against Wexford who just squeezed through.

  Tyrone v Armagh was a tremendous game. There was much passion some great scores and a stirring finish. Tyrone still have some excellent attackers and while they may not win the All Ireland title they will be a hard side to beat.

  Cork eventually pulled away from Kerry in Munster and while Cork look very strong and are definite All Ireland contenders, Kerry were very poor, and while it would be foolish to write off Kerry they seem to have gone back so much. 

  They will need a miracle to make it all the way through the back door now although no one will want to meet them. Cork should have little difficulty in winning the Munster title against Clare, who surprised Limerick on Saturday night.

  But pride of place goes to the Connacht semi-final in Pearse Stadium, Galway on Saturday night. Galway came into the game as hot favourites but Sligo thought them a footballing lesson in the second half as they tore them apart with Adrian Marren and David Kelly outstanding. 

  It was a very disappointing day for Galway who will have to try the back door route. The big question now is, after this Sligo win where does it leave Roscommon?

Players of the Weekend

There were some super displays in all games played over the weekend. Brendan Murphy was sensational as Carlow snatched a draw against Carlow in Tullamore. Redmond Barry was the Wexford hero in their one point win against Longford and Michael Quinn enhanced his reputation further with a great display in the same game for Longford.

  Adrian Marren was the star of the show scoring 2-6 as Sligo shocked Galway. Jamie Clarke had a great game for Armagh as they went down to Tyrone. Stephen O Neill turned back the years for Tyrone in the same game with a vintage display at corner forward. 

  David Tubridy was the Clare hero as they overcame Limerick and Donnacha O Connor showed his class as Cork overcame a very disappointing Kerry side in the Munster semi final.

Talking Points

Cork franked their status as prime contenders for All Ireland honours with a fairly easy win against Kerry in Munster Football followers are now asking the question, is this Kerry team finished? We will see in the qualifiers over the next few weeks. They certainly looked off the pace last Sunday. Tyrone showed that there is still a kick in them as they scored an excellent win against Armagh. There were two shocks as Sligo overturned Galway and Clare beat Limerick. Carlow came from the dead to score an unlikely draw against Meath who will be hot favourites to win the replay. There were some excellent games over the weekend and some very good football. Both games in Tullamore were excellent entertainment and we have not seen ultra defensive football so far in the championship.

Next Weekend

Leinster SFC Replay Carlow v Meath on Saturday in Tullamore at 7pm

The drawn game was a thriller and Carlow grabbed a late goal to tie up the game. The usual rule of thumb is that the favourites win the replay in these situations and Carlow may well have missed the bus here. Meath to advance.

Match Odds: Carlow 7/2 Meath 2/7 Draw 8/1

Prediction: Meath

Leinster SFC Offaly v Kildare on Sunday in Portlaoise at 2pm

Kildare will be the hot favourites to win this quarter final against an Offaly team that have been struggling over the past few years. Seanie Johnston is now a Kildare players although he will not be featuring in this game. Kildare are a team that could have a big year although Dublin look so strong again this year. McGeeney needs to deliver as it is his fifth year in charge of the Lillywhites. They should win here but will face much stiffer hurdles in the future.

Match Odds: Offaly 8/1 Kildare 1/14 Draw 16/1

Prediction:  Kildare

Ulster SFC Derry v Donegal On Saturday in Ballybofey at 5pm

This may be the football game of the weekend. Donegal breezed past Cavan and will start favourites. But Derry are a very unpredictable championship outfit. They can be brilliant or very poor. They have some great players and it will be interesting tkos ee what Derry team shows up on the day. Hoe advantage will help them too. However I think Donegal might shade it but it will be close.

Match Odds: Donegal 4/9 Derry 9/4 Draw 15/2.

Prediction: Donegal

Leinster SHC semi final Galway v Offaly on Sunday in Portlaoise at 2pm

This promises to be a cracking game and a hard one to call. Offaly are making great progress under Ollie Baker and they will be well up for this game. Galway will have to be at their very best to win here. The availability of Joe Canning will be crucial. If he plays Galway will win, if not then a shock could be on the cards. Galway will just about get there by a couple of points.

Match Odds: Galway 3/10 Offaly 11/4 Draw 12/1

Prediction: Galway

Munster SHC semi final Clare v Waterford On Sunday in Thurles at 4pm     

This has the makings of a superb game. Clare are now under the stewardship of Davy Fitzgerald and they will be all fired up. Waterford have slipped back in recent years but are still a great championship side. Hard to call this one. Maybe the Clare hurling revival at senior level starts here.

Match Odds: Waterford 11/10 Clare 10/11 Draw 8/1.

Prediction: Clare

Issue dated: 15 June 2012
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