Gone clubbing: Shane Walsh live on your screens. James Crombie/INPHO
championship fever

4 key GAA club storylines to watch out for this weekend

Ballymun and Kilmacud kick off RTÉ’s coverage of the club scene this weekend.


From 2004 to 2013, the Clare senior hurling championship was a prime example of hurling democracy. Nine different clubs lifted the Canon Hamilton Cup, only Crusheen’s back-to-back wins in 2010 and 2011 interrupted the division of the spoils. But in recent times it has become a private party for the Ballyea and Sixmilebridge ruling class. The pair have shared the last eight titles, claiming four final wins apiece.

And yet here we are on 2023 quarter-final weekend, no sight of either of those powerful forces. That element of novelty makes the last eight stage all the more striking. Last year’s finalists Éire Óg Ennis take on Clonlara on Sunday afternoon at 4.15pm, a game of sufficient appeal that the TG4 cameras will be in town. Earlier that day we have Crusheen against Newmarket-on-Fergus, neither triumphant in over a decade in the decider.

shane-odonnell Shane O'Donnell is chasing glory with Eire Óg. Evan Treacy / INPHO Evan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Tomorrow’s double-header sees Kilmaley face Feakle and Scariff play Clooney-Quin, four clubs that have not been serial challengers in recent times at the business end. Everyone will be keen to grasp this major opportunity.


County final day in Offaly and there’s a notable absentee. Roll of honour kingpins Rhode have 12 titles to their name since 2004. Perhaps of greater significance is the fact that 2011 is the last time Rhode have not contested the Offaly senior football final and they were in the three deciders prior to that.

So we have Tullamore against Ferbane in the 2023 showpiece, a game that also gets the live television treatment at 2.15pm on Sunday. Both clubs know what it’s like to win, Tullamore after a replay in 2021 and Ferbane in 2019, an emotional breakthrough after a 25-year wait. They can understand the flipside as well, both losing twice at the hands of Rhode in finals of late – Ferbane in 2016 and 2018, Tullamore in 2020 and 2022.

It was Ferbane who knocked Rhode out in the semi-final a fortnight ago by three points, Tullamore survived their own last four test as they progressed at the expense of Edenderry by a point.


Forget all that #TeamOfUs and nattering around the #RugbyCountry. RTÉ’s main sporting constituency has always been Gaelic games, and they have chosen to relaunch their coverage of the club season with a corking fixture. 

Saturday afternoon will feature the reigning All-Ireland club champions Kilmacud Crokes against Ballymun Kickhams. It’s a beautiful contrast of styles and backgrounds that anyone can get wrapped up. 

Apart from the duels ahead, with say, John Small picking up Paul Mannion and James McCarthy tailing Shane Walsh, there is a little bit of unfinished business with the Kickhams. They were Dublin champions in 2020 in a year when there were no provincial championships. 

With the galaxy of talent they possess, having been able to get a good run in to this, it sets it up for a serious battle, one to be enjoyed from the comfort of the sofa with the turf blazing in the grate.    


In Tyrone, everyone can hear you scream when you lose a game in the championship.

With no backdoor, no group stages, no safety net, it steadfastly retains the cut-throat nature that has produced a different winner for the last seven seasons.

With so few games, the fixture-makers there are keen to get as many through the gates as possible. Which leads to champions Errigal Ciaran starting their defence on Thursday night against Killyclogher in Healy Park. 

On Saturday, a tasty looking battle between Omagh and Ardboe will commence at 1.45pm, in Galbally. 

carrickmore-supporters-before-the-game Evan Logan / INPHO Evan Logan / INPHO / INPHO

That is ahead of a double-header with Greencastle against Coalisland in Pomeroy at 3.30pm, and then Edendork against Carrickmore at 5.15. It is only five miles from Galbally to Pomeroy. The insatiable appetite for championship fayre will be tested by many.    

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel