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6 talking points on a massive weekend of GAA club action across the country

There are more county finals down for decision and some big provincial clashes also on the agenda.
Oct 24th 2015, 7:00 AM 5,825 2

1. Revenge for Sixmilebridge?

A dejected Niall Gilligan Niall Gilligan is dejected after the Munster club final two years ago. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

The AIB Munster senior club hurling championship swings into action on Sunday, and Clare kingpins Sixmilebridge have home advantage against Limerick representatives Na Piarsaigh.

The clubs met in the provincial decider two years ago, with Na Piarsaigh running out comfortable winners against a battle-weary ‘Bridge outfit.

Both clubs have had a fortnight to recover following their county final exertions.

Na Piarsaigh claimed victory over Patrickswell and 39-year-old Niall Gilligan led the way as Sixmilebridge overcame Clonlara.

Memories of that 18-point drubbing from two years ago are still fresh in the minds of the Sixmilebridge players and they’ll be anxious to make amends.

2. Double delight for Thurles Sarsfields?

Pa Bourke raises the Dan Breen Cup Pa Bourke captained Thurles Sarsfields to Tipperary glory last year. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Tipperary kingpins Thurles Sarsfields could win not one, but two county finals on Sunday.

The seniors take on Nenagh Éire Óg in the Premier County showpiece at Semple Stadium but the intermediate Blues are also involved in the intermediate curtain-raiser.

Both teams contested last year’s finals, the intermediates losing out to Moyne-Templetuohy before the seniors claimed glory against Loughmore-Castleiney.

Sunday represents something of a juggling act for a management team led by Tommy Maher, as he and his backroom team take charge of both Sarsfields teams for the day.

Plucking from both panels in recent weeks, Maher has been careful not to overuse his senior bench, as playing them would deem them ineligible for the intermediate grade.

3. Leinster senior football championship throws in

Ger Brennan lifts the trophy Former Dublin star Ger Brennan lifts Leinster silverware for St Vincent's last December. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

St Vincent’s are the reigning AIB Leinster club football champions and very much in the mix for another title if they can negotiate the business end of the Dublin championship.

But clubs from other counties harbour hopes of climbing to the provincial summit and there are three interesting games down for decision this weekend.

Emmet Og, Killoe (Longford) tackle St James from Wexford at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park and it’s Offaly against Wicklow at O’Connor Park in Tullamore when Edenderry tackle Rathnew.

Elsewhere, it’s a short turnaround for the winners of Saturday’s Laois SFC final replay between Emo and Portlaoise, chasing 9-in-a-row in the O’Moore County.

They’ll face Carlow’s finest, Palatine, at Netwatch Cullen Park on Sunday afternoon at 2.3opm. We’re not quite sure what kind of state Emo will be in if they can end a Laois senior famine dating back to 1972.

4. Corofin put their All-Ireland title on the line

Stephen Rochford Corofin boss Stephen Rochford is favourite for the vacant post in his native Mayo. Source: Mike Shaughnessy/INPHO

Stephen Rochford’s Corofin claimed a third successive Galway SFC title recently and now have their sights firmly set on retaining their Connacht and All-Ireland crowns. 

The first step to provincial glory pits them against Leitrim champions Mohill at Tuam Stadium on Sunday afternoon and the bookies don’t fancy Mohill’s chances much.

Corofin are virtually unbackable at 200/1 ON but if you fancy an upset, you can have Mohill at 12/1.

The eyes of many a camera lens will be trained on Rochford, the hot tip to replace Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly as Mayo senior football boss.

If he is offered, and takes up the post in his native county, it will be interesting to see how Rochford manages to balance any potential club and intercounty dual commitments.

Two into one may not go.

5. Brothers in opposition on Noreside

Club championship line-ups invariably feature team sheets littered with brothers, cousins, and sometimes even fathers and sons.

But in Sunday’s Kilkenny SHC decider, two brothers are in direct opposition, and could be marking each other at Nowlan Park.

Keith Hogan’s Clara defeated Brian’s O’Loughlin Gaels in last year’s championship and now the siblings are set to renew acquaintances on the biggest day in Kilkenny’s local calendar.

Clara were last crowned Kilkenny champions two years ago while an O’Loughlin Gaels win would see them winners for the first time since 2010.

Despite seeing off All-Ireland champions Ballyhale Shamrocks at the semi-final stage, O’Loughlins are rated as outsiders with the bookies.

6. Massive clashes in Cork and Kerry

Shane Nolan tackles Tomas OÕSe Could Kerry legend Tomás Ó Sé claim a Cork SFC medal with Nemo Rangers? Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

There are huge games down for decision in the Cork and Kerry senior football championships on Sunday.

Nemo Rangers and Castlehaven will have to do it all over again to find a county champions in Cork after a 0-10 apiece stalemate at Páirc Uí Rinn last Sunday.

In the Kingdom, it’s the meeting of Kenmare District and South Kerry at the semi-final stage but even if one of these teams wins the county title, they won’t be eligible to represent Kerry in the Munster club campaign.

That honour will go to Dingle, the reigning club champions, or James O’Donoghue’s Legion if they can win the county decider.

Under rule, a divisional outfit is not allowed to compete in the province and that rules Kenmare District and South Kerry out of the Munster equation.

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Jackie Cahill

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