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Previews (September 8-14)

September 8th, 2011

Sunday’s Silver Hill Foods Senior Hurling Championship Final is the big game this weekend, while the McGuigan Builders Intermediate Football Championship semi-finals are also down for decision, as well as semi-final replays in the MFC Division Two and a number of league games.

 Silver Hill Foods

Silver Hill Foods Senior Hurling Championship Final

Castleblayney v Inniskeen, Sunday, 4.00, Clontibret


Inniskeen and Castleblayney go head-to-head in the Silver Hill Foods Senior Hurling Championship Final for the second year in a row in Clontibret on Sunday.

Last year’s county final lived up to expectations as the best in years, with Inniskeen finishing strongly to win the Mick Quigley Cup for the first time. Inniskeen proved that was no fluke by going on to compete a clean sweep of the county’s adult hurling titles last year – adding the Senior and Reserve Hurling Leagues – before creating another piece of history by winning the Ulster Junior Hurling Championship, where they beat Antrim side Cloughmills in the decider.

Having led the way throughout last season, Inniskeen took a while to get in their stride 2011, perhaps suffering a hangover from last year’s exertions, along with the absences of a few key players. Their form picked up considerably, though, as they easily secured a semi-final place in the SHL (despite losing their last two games), while they had a comprehensive win over Carrickmacross in the championship semi-finals.

It’s Blayney who have made all the running this year, as they won nine and drew one of their ten league games, while they were also comfortable winners in the SHC semi-finals at the expense of Truagh, where they always looked like they had more in the tank if needed. Blayney have also sharpened their skills by competing in the Ulster Club Senior Hurling League Division Four, as well as the Armagh Senior Hurling League and they have taken three points (via a win and a draw) from their two SHL games against the Grattans this year.

Blayney have surely the most reliable free-taker in the county in the form of Mickey McHugh, while rising star Fergal Rafter (who was excellent against Truagh) and Brian McGuigan, Barry Reilly and Gary Boyd also providing good options in attack. Jim McHugh, Mark and Peter Treanor and Paul Murphy will also be expected to lead the way for Blayney. Doubt surrounds the participation of Stephen and Alan Lambe, but Blayney still have a team packed with experience, not least the veteran David Connolly and Barry Reilly, who still has the burst of pace that has made him one of the most dangerous forwards in the county in the last decade.

Deaglán Crowe has been abroad all year and doubt surrounds the participation of Stephen and Alan Lambe, but Blayney still have options in every line of the pitch. Blayney, who are in a similar position to Kilkenny last Sunday, are contesting their 13th SHC final in a row and they are gunning for an 11th success in that time and county title number 25 in total.

Inniskeen have last year’s Monaghan Hurler of the Year in Séamus Loftus, Young Hurler of the Year Martin Murphy and this year’s county senior captain Trevor Hilliard, as well as the likes of Michael Lennon, Ronan and Paul Meegan, Pauric Dowdall and Gavin Dooley. Even though they have lost county man Kevin Boylan, they still have the ability become the first team other than Blayney to win back-to-back SHC titles since Monaghan Harps in 1995/1996.

With the ranks of both teams full of county players, this final should be a good advertisement for Monaghan hurling. For the neutral, a repeat of last year would do nicely, but Blayney will do everything in their power to reverse the result.

 Mc Guigan Builders Websize

McGuigan Builders Intermediate Football Championship Semi-Final

Carrickmacross v Tyholland, Saturday, 5.30, Aughnamullen


Two teams with plenty of experience of the business end of the championship in recent years cross swords in Saturday’s IFC semi-final.

Carrick were relegated from senior last year and they are determined to make a quick return to the top flight. Tyholland were a senior team themselves in 2008 and they reached the IFC Final last year, only to lose to Doohamlet.

Carrick were made to work hard for a one-point win over Seán McDermotts in the first round, but they were comfortable winners against Aughnamullen last time out. Tyholland lost by a point to Donaghmoyne in the first round, but they battled past the Seáns after extra-time and Currin in a replay, before edging past Aughnamullen by the narrowest of margins.

Carrick have won 12 of their 14 games in the Intermediate Football League, which has them four points clear at the top of the table, while Tyholland are part of a congested mid-table with 13 points. Carrick won by three points when they hosted Tyholland in the league back in June.

Carrick deserve their favourites tag if these teams’ respective games against Aughnamullen is an accurate form guide, but Tyholland are perhaps more battle-hardened after a tough run through the back door and they could have a big performance in them.

Carrick have quality forwards in Stephen Gollogly, Andy Callan and Mark and Seán Downey, while James Conlon is a big player for them at midfield and Mark McNally and county minor Cillian Cromwell lead the defence in the absence of Gary McEnaney.

Dermot Coyle and Paul Askin have been in flying form up front for Tyholland, while Ronan McNally and Cyril Ronaghan are a well-balanced midfield pairing and Gregory Ronaghan, Paul Coyle and Peadar Farrelly are the main men in the back line. They will also have Raymond Ronaghan back after he missed their last two championship games due to holidays and Gary McQuaid is nearing a return from a long-term injury, although Conor McQuaid is suspended after being sent off against Aughnamullen.


McGuigan Builders Intermediate Football Championship Semi-Final

Corduff v Rockcorry, Sunday, 2.15, Clontibret

The second IFC semi-final sees Corduff and Rockcorry go head-to-head in the curtain-raiser to the SHC decider.

Corduff have adapted very well to the higher standard of intermediate after last year’s promotion via Junior Championship success and they have taken the direct route to this stage with wins over Éire Óg and Donaghmoyne, which have stretched their unbeaten championship run to an impressive 13 games. Rockcorry had to bounce back from a preliminary-round defeat against Currin to beat Drumhowan and emulate Corduff by seeing off both Éire Óg and Donaghmoyne.

Corduff have had the better record in the IFL this year and they are second in the table on 20 points (six points and three places ahead of today’s opponents), but Rock beat them by a point in their only clash so far.

Corduff have plenty of firepower in Keith McEnaney (who missed the Donaghmoyne game), Raymond Byrne and Martin Mills, while Shane and Cathal Connolly are a strong midfield duo and Declan Larkin and Ciarán Brennan anchor the defence, with good support from Shane McNally Jnr. and Ben Woods. Rock are also strong down the middle, with Mark Daly and Noel Carroll at centre-field and Damien Matthews and Barry Patterson at full-back and centre-back respectively. Keith Daly, Stephen McGuirk and Niall McKeown are also key players in defence, while Paul McKeown will be expected to lead the attack, but Rock will need to up their scoring rate if they are to take a step further than last year, when they lost to Tyholland in the semi-finals.

 Maguire Transport Websize

Maguire Transport Minor Football Championship Division Two Semi-Final Replay

Killanny v Latton, Saturday, 3.00, Corduff


Defending champions Killanny and Latton meet again in the replay of their MFC Division Two semi-final on Saturday.

Latton beat Na Fianna (Tyholland and Éire Óg) in the first round of the championship, while Killanny, who shocked Corduff in last year’s final, got a bye to the last four. Killanny look well poised to defend their title based on league form, as they are already through to the final of the MFL Division Two and they have already beaten Latton twice this year. These sides also met in the Under-21 Division Two Final last month, which resulted in a narrow win for Latton.

Killanny, who are starting to benefit from a string of successes at underage level, have some promising young players in Cillian and Dermot Leegan and the Duffy twins Tiernan and Ronan, but as ever, Latton will give nothing up without a battle.


Maguire Transport Minor Football Championship Division Two Semi-Final Replay

Magheracloone v Rock Sarsfields, Tuesday, 8.00, Inniskeen

The other semi-final replay sees Magheracloone and Rock Sarsfields renew rivalries on Tuesday evening.

Rock Sarsfields (an amalgamation of Rockcorry and Killeevan) had a convincing win over Seán McDermotts in the quarter-finals, while Magheracloone got a bye. Just a point separated the teams in the MFL Division Two, where Rock Sarsfields finished second with 16 points and Magheracloone third with 15. The teams have met four times already this year, with the results being one win for each side and two draws. Magheracloone won the first league meeting by double-scores, but Rock Sarsfields gained a draw in their second clash and in their first championship semi, before winning Tuesday’s MFL semi-final by eight points.

Rock Sarsfields can call on a number of players who featured for the county minors this year, such as Mark McGuirk, Fergal McGeough, Lorcan Smyth, Keelan Clerkin and David Graham, while Magheracloone will be depending on Killian Rudden, David Kirk and Jamie Kieran.

Ladies Senior Football Championship Final

Donaghmoyne v Emyvale, Sunday, 3.45, Monaghan

Donaghmoyne ladies will attempt to win their ninth consecutive Monaghan SFC title when they take on Emyvale at Gavan Duffy Park on Sunday.

The south-Monaghan side have been the top team in Monaghan and Ulster in recent years and they have won two All-Ireland club championships – most recently in 2009 – but they should be as motivated as ever after being pipped by Termon from Donegal in last year’s provincial final.

Emyvale are capable of putting up to the defending champions, with players such as the McAnespie twins Ciara and Aoife, Therese and Gráinne McNally and Nicola Fahy among their ranks, but Donaghmoyne will go in as favourites with a team that includes Cathriona McConnell, Amanda Casey, Sharon and Cora Courtney, Eileen McElroy, Linda Martin and Niamh Lynch.

Both teams include a number of county players and Monaghan manager Gregory McGinigle will be praying that they all come through the game unscathed ahead of the upcoming All-Ireland final against Cork.

The Gerry’s Fresh Fruit and Veg. Under-16 Hurling League Final sees Truagh take on Truagh at Gavan Duffy Park, Monaghan on Thursday evening, while Blackhill and Doohamlet and Blackhill contest the Under-16 Football League Division Four in Toome and there are semi-finals to be played in Divisions One and Two of the Under-16 Football Championships.

Doohamlet host Castleblayney in the Drumlin Group of Credit Unions Senior Football League on Saturday afternoon, while Drumhowan and Donaghmoyne are at home to Currin and Seán McDermotts respectively in the Monaghan Electrical Intermediate Football League. Clones and Aghabog go head-to-head in their continuing battle for fourth place in the Gerry’s Takeaway Junior Football League, while JFC winners Cremartin are away to Killeevan. There are also games in all four divisions of the Platinum Tanks Reserve Football Leagues between Saturday and Sunday.


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