GAA weekend previews: Throw-in times, TV details and team news

Seán Moran looks ahead to this weekend’s football and hurling club provincial finals

Austin Stacks v St Finbarrs will be just the 14th Cork-Kerry club final in 50 years. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Austin Stacks v St Finbarrs will be just the 14th Cork-Kerry club final in 50 years. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

Saturday

O’Byrne Cup SF
Longford v Dublin, Pearse Park, Longford, 2.0; Louth v Offaly, St Marys Ardee, 2.0; Laois v Wicklow, Crettyard, 2.0; Meath v Wexford, Ashbourne, 5.0.

Push comes to shove in the O’Byrne Cup. Glenn Ryan’s Kildare are already ensconced in Wednesday’s semi-final, having dominated Group B - to the point that Carlow and Westmeath called off their final match. They await an opponent from the inscrutable Group B where everyone, Laois, Meath, Wicklow and Wexford, is on two points going into the weekend. Who wants it most - or least? The Group A winners go straight to the final, which Dublin can do by beating Longford.

Munster Hurling Cup semi-final
Clare v Waterford, Cusack Park, 1.0. Penalty shootout if required (no extra time). Live Streaming available via www.munster.gaa.ie

Peter Duggan’s return is welcome for Brian Lohan with Tony Kelly top of the lengthy absentee list and out until later in the spring following ankle surgery. A revisiting of last June’s Munster championship, won by Clare.

Dr McKenna Cup
Antrim v Donegal, Portglenone, 1.30; Tyrone v Armagh, O’Neills Healy Park, 1.30; Fermanagh v Derry, Roslea, 1.30

Sunday

Munster SFC club final
Austin Stacks (Kerry) v St Finbarrs (Cork), Semple Stadium, 1.45. (Live, TG4). Extra time and result on the day.

Despite what might be expected, this is just the 14th Cork-Kerry club final in 50 years. Both sides are more emerging than established. Stacks are favourites but undermined by a lack of genuine scoring power although the defence is good - single-digit average concession in Kerry - and Kieran Donaghy, a timeless provider.

Finbarrs are well balanced. Recent Cork hurler Billy Hennessy at centre back may get a call from the county footballers whereas Ian Maguire is a great presence at centrefield and Stephen Sherlock has been giving them an edge up front for a while. Rising Stacks defender and captain Dylan Casey is likely to take on the marking job. If he can make a fist of it, Stacks will justify favouritism.

Ulster SFC club final
Derrygonnelly Harps (Fermanagh) v Kilcoo Owen Roes (Down), Armagh Athletic Grounds, 3.45. (Live, TG4). Extra time and result on the day.

Jerome Johnston’s Kilcoo and Conall Jones’ Derrygonnelly team clash in Sunday’s Ulster club football final. Photograph: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Jerome Johnston’s Kilcoo and Conall Jones’ Derrygonnelly team clash in Sunday’s Ulster club football final. Photograph: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Derrygonnnelly attempt to become the first Fermanagh club to win the title and have showed great resilience - whatever about discipline - to come through their two matches to date a man short. They also ran Kilcoo to two points in the semi-final two seasons ago but given the champions’ preferred cagy and defensive sensibilities, they’re frequently run close but not easily beaten.

The Fermanagh side have an impressive centrefield led by Ryan Jones but Kilcoo got around Glen’s similarly strong sector. The Down club have come on impressively and showcased their pace and accuracy in Ulster. Jerome Johnston and Conor Laverty have cuteness and killer instincts up front.

Walsh Cup SH
Dublin v Galway, Parnell Park, 2.0; Offaly v Antrim, Bórd na Móna O’Connor Park, 2.0; Kilkenny v Laois, John Locke Park, Callan, 2.0.

Munster Hurling Cup semi-final
Limerick v Kerry, TUS Gaelic Grounds, 2.0. Penalty shootout if required (no extra time). Live Streaming available via www.munster.gaa.ie

Kerry’s landmark first competitive win over Tipperary was a great start to Stephen Molumphy’s management even if it feeds them into Limerick’s orbit. They’ll arrive with three locals on board, qualified through the parentage rule.

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