If Sky Sports did club championship semi-finals (not yet), there’d be hourly countdowns at this stage, with dramatic images of Ben O’Carroll and other young guns/seasoned performers, in between soundbites from pundits, and various flashing graphics.
‘Last weekend…Athleague and Tremane brought you hurling heroics…this weekend, it’s the turn of the footballers!’ Cue James Bond graphics and soundtrack…
We’re not quite there yet. But it is a big weekend on the Gaelic football front, with two fascinating semi-finals scheduled in both the Roscommon senior championship and the IFC.
It’s not just a ‘Super Saturday’…it’s a ‘Super Saturday & Sunday’. All four games are in Dr. Hyde Park, a late-season boost of sorts for local businesses, after 18 torrid months, a few of them punctuated by games in the Hyde…with no supporters. Thankfully, a certain amount of spectators are now back in the grounds.
Saturday’s double bill begins (2.15 pm) with St. Dominic’s and Clann na nGael meeting in the first of the Intermediate Football Championship semi-finals. This really is a mouth-watering prospect, with double-chasing Clann taking on an experienced and in-form Dominic’s.
Later (4.45 pm) the first of the weekend’s SFC semi-finals will see Padraig Pearses go into battle with defending champions St. Brigid’s. It’s the champions of the last two seasons facing off, and it could be a classic.
Sunday’s schedule begins earlier, with a 1.30 throw-in for St. Faithleach’s v Castlerea St. Kevin’s in the second IFC semi-final. Castlerea are going nicely, but this is a step up for them, the Ballyleague men the favourites. A Sky Sports preview here would be reaching for footage of Diarmuid and Ciaráin Murtagh, and we’re no different. They very often attract the spotlight, but Faithleach’s are talented throughout. Expect Castlerea to really put it up the favourites.
Roscommon Gaels and Clann na nGael meet in Sunday’s second big game, the prize a place in the senior final. There’s a 4 pm start for this fixture. Roscommon Gaels have shown great resilience and determination en route to the last four, but current form favours Clann, who can hardly argue with being labelled fairly strong favourites. Still, it really is all to play for in this one. Underdog status will suit the Gaels.
It promises to be a cracking weekend, with four great games in prospect. Meanwhile, the quarter-finals of the JFC begin on Friday (see fixtures). Best of luck to all teams in all the weekend games.