Croke Park Set For Biggest Weekend In Club Calendar
We spoke to Damian Lawlor as he gave us his insights ahead of this weekend's AIB GAA All-Ireland Club Championship Finals. Read his weekend preview below:
With four AIB GAA All-Ireland Club Championship Finals down for decision this Saturday and Sunday, it’s worth exploring the intriguing narratives that have powered eight clubs to this stage of the season.
On Saturday, in the Junior Hurling Final, Conahy Shamrocks (Kilkenny) take on Russell Rovers (Cork) at 4pm.
Last time out, Russell Rovers beat Galway’s Micheal Breathnach and now face Conahy Shamrocks, club of former GAA president Nickey Brennan, who were successful against Eoghan Rua in their Semi-Final.
Both the Junior and Intermediate Hurling grades have been dominated by Kilkenny and Cork clubs lately. Kilkenny sides have won eight All-Ireland Intermediate crowns and six Junior titles, with Cork’s record standing at three Intermediate and five Junior.
And it’s the same two counties in Saturday’s Intermediate Hurling Final. Fr. O’Neills (Cork) play Tullaroan (Kilkenny) at 6pm. Tullaroan yearned for a county title for so long and hurling legend Tommy Walsh, will illuminate Croke Park one more time.
He faces a Fr O’Neill’s side that overcame Tooreen with Declan Dalton capable of hitting 10 points a game.
the Senior Hurling Final between Ballyhale Shamrocks (Kilkenny) and Borris-Ileigh (Tipperary) throws in at 2pm.
Ballyhale are fresh from winning a 10th Leinster title and are reigning All-Ireland champions.
But Borris-Ileigh, emerging from Tipperary and Munster with some style for the first time since 1986, will not be easily beaten. Brendan Maher is reaching Christy Ring-like standards and JD Devaney and Conor Kenny are also impressing, so it would be foolish to think they are a one man outfit.
Ballyhale, though, will be keenly fancied. Watch out for Ballyhale captain, Mick Fennelly, going up against Borris-Ileigh manager, Johnny Kelly. Both are in the Offaly senior backroom team together!
Finally, the showpiece of the weekend is the Senor Football Final between Corofin (Galway) v Kilcoo (Down). It throws in at 4pm.
In his first campaign Mickey Moran led Kilcoo to county and elusive provincial glory. But they tackle Corofin, looking for three titles on the trot, and playing sublime football. To see what trap Moran has laid for them will be fascinating.