Senior Club Football’s Super 8’s Ready for Action
It’s all systems go for a massive weekend in the AIB Leinster club Senior football Championship as the quarter final matches are down for decision this weekend.
Rathnew (Wicklow) v St Vincent’s (Dublin) – Aughrim (2.0)
Expect the crowd of the day to be in the home of the Garden County as holders St Vincent’s put the Leinster crown on the line against a fiercely competitive Rathnew.
The Vinnies were at times sublime in their dismissal of a Ballymun team with five members of the Dublin All-Ireland winning team in their ranks but who couldn’t halt them in the recent Dublin county final – their third title in a row.
The main man was Diarmuid Connolly who produced yet another masterclass for the club and it is clear that the lengthy suspension he served which rule him out of so much of Dublin’s campaign has merely left him fresh and hungry for action now with his club reaping the rewards.
Rathnew rode their luck and produced a late flourish in a robust encounter with Newtown Blues of Louth in the preliminary round.
At home, they’ll hope they can use the infamous Battle of Aughrim staging ground to their advantage and this tie will evoke memories of their titanic struggle with Dublin’s equally star-studded Na Fianna in Newbridge some 16 years ago – which the Wicklow men won in a Leinster final after extra time in a replay.
They will focus on Connolly at their peril however, as Vincent’s soaked up the pressure against Ballymun impressively and have Gavin Burke, Mossy Quinn and Shane Carthy well capable of inflicting damage if too much emphasis goes on Connolly.
Portlaoise (Laois) v Moorefield (Kildare) – O’Moore Pk (2.0)
Two big clubs with proud traditions and with an eye on causing a provincial upset this season go head to head in what will be another massive showdown.
There was plenty to admire about Portlaoise as they saw off Rhode of Offaly in the last round and they will need to be on top form to halt a Moorefield side who impressed in seeing off Celbridge in the county final and who in Adam Tyrrell have a player who can be a serious match winner for the Lilywhite champions.
St. Columba’s, Mullinaghta (Longford) v St Loman’s (Westmeath), Glennon Bros, Pearse Pk (2.0)
It was the Longford champions who were surprise winners of this tie when they clashed 12 months ago.
St Columba’s have seen off the rivals to their county crown and need to be respected and there has been focus on the form of Rian Brady up front.
Loman’s have the vastly experienced and successful coach Luke Dempsey pulling the strings and with players of the calibre of Paul Sharry and John Heslin on board they will be hopeful of turning things around.
Starlights (Wexford) v Simonstown Gaels (Meath) – Innovate Wexford Park (2.0)
A year ago Colm O’Rourke’s Simonstown Gaels won a first ever meath crown after plenty of near misses and that celebration took their eye off a Leinster charge.
Conor Nash is the AFL rookie contract holder who is also coveted by Leinster rugby and who starred for them last year and came home from Oz to help them win again this year – but his commitments to Hawthorne have called him back Down Under.
He is a massive loss, but they still have ever-green Seamus Kenny and also Shane O’Rourke (injury permitting) to inspire them.
Starlights won Wexford after a 13 year – gap recently with Liam Ryan and Dylan Redmond prominent but it remains to be seen if they are happy with that or if they are ready for a new challenge. They could give Simonstown plenty of bother if they are up for the battle.