Club season hots up with football quarter-finals
The Galway Senior Football Championship hots up this weekend with all four quarter-finals down for decision on Sunday.
Killererin v Mícheál Breathnachs
First up at Pearse Stadium is Killererin and Mícheál Breathnachs (2pm).
The Killererin men have moved smoothly through their first two hurdles, having seen off Caherlistrane and then hitting 4-15 in their victory over Leitir Mór.
The wily Padraig Joyce did most of the scoring damage for his side in that victory and his former Galway teammate Seán Ó Domhnaill, who is over Mícheál Breathnachs this season, will know his defenders will have to be on red alert to stop the three time All-Star’s influence.
Elsewhere up front, Killererin will be looking to former u-21 star Michéal Boyle and Nicky Joyce to raise a few flags. At the back Colin Forde, Declan Kelly, Tomás Fahy and Daniel Mannion will be expected to lead the resistance.
Micheal Breathnachs enter the quarter-finals on the back of two solid wins over Kilkerrin-Clonberne and Annaghdown. The word is they are training very well and getting great numbers at training.
They have some good players and they will look to team captain Seán Denvir, Peadar Óg Ó Griofa, Petie Kenny and Fiontán Ó Curraoin to inspire them in what would be a huge win, having never reached a county senior quarter-final before. The bookies see Killererin, who were county champions two years ago, as boiling hot favourites and have them at 2/7, with the Breathnach’s available at 10/3.
Based on the past few years, you would have to go for a Killererin victory, but Ó Domhnaill’s lads are not without hope and at that price are a tempting punt.
An Chreathru Rua v Salthill-Knocknacarra
Next up at Pearse Stadium is An Chreathru Rua and Salthill-Knocknacarra (3.45pm). Micheál Ó Maille’s side is in the last eight courtesy of wins over Bearna and Kilconly, while Gerry Hughes has seen his panel defeat St Michael’s on the double, 0-13 to 0-5 in the opening round, and by a single point in their next dance.
Carraroe will look to Cillín and Ciarán De Paor and Niall Ó Brian to hit the target up front and they can be a hard team to beat. However one would imagine Salthill is better balanced and, if Seán Armstrong, Gary Cox, Seamus Crowe and Alan Kerins can get a run up front, they will be hard stopped. Around the middle, John Boylan and Conor Healy should be able to get enough possession to keep their forwards supplied and, if they do that, the Sea-siders should advance to the last four.
St James v Corofin
The first game in Tuam Stadium on Sunday evening sees city side St James take on county champions Corofin at 5pm. David Waldron is in charge of St James this season, alongside Terry O’Regan and Michael O’ Neill, and their team has had two good championship victories to date. They hammered Killannin by 2-13 to 0-6 in the opening round and followed that up with a five-point win over Caltra.
They will be looking to some of their u-21 stars who won the county title earlier in the year to step up to what is required at senior level and they will be looking forward to their battle with Corofin.
They have fine players in Paul Conroy, Johnny Duane and Eoin Concannon, but they will need guys like Tommy Walsh, Jamie Burke, Mark Kelly, Alan O’Donnell and Ronan O’Connell to produce big performances.
Corofin have been just doing enough to get by, but they were fortunate to see off Cortoon-Shamrocks in the last round, coming through late in the game to win by two points, 0-14 to 0-12.
They will need their experienced players David Morris, Damien Burke, Alan O’Donovan, Kieran McGrath, Gary Sice, Michael Comer, Greg Higgins, Alan Burke and team captain Kieran Fitzgerald to lead the way if they want to give themselves the chance of putting county titles back to back. Corofin are 2/1 on to advance on Sunday with St James available at 2/1.
Tuam Stars v Milltown
The last senior quarter-final sees last year’s beaten county finalists Tuam Stars take on Milltown at 6.45pm.
The Tuam lads are under the dual guidance of Jimmy O’ Dea and Kevin Reidy, and are the only team in the last eight to have lost their round one clash.
However they came back from that defeat to trounce Killannin by 6-11 to 0-8 in the back-door game and then saw off Mountbellew-Moylough by three points in the last round to reach this stage. They will look to county men Gary O’Donnell and Conor Doherty to provide some powerful surges around the field and David Connern, Tony Costello, Paul Doherty and Jamie Murphy will also be expected to feature strongly.
Milltown are in the last eight courtesy of two victories over Maigh Cuillin and Caherlistrane and the word from their camp is that they are moving well. They have three lively forwards in Mark and Seán Hehir and Michael Martin. If the likes of Diarmuid Blake, Darren Mullahy, Cathal Blake and Damien Brennan can provide enough possession for that trio, they could have too much for the Tuam lads.
It is a very hard game to call and the bookies see it that way too, with Milltown slight favourites at 10/11 and the most decorated club in the county at 11/10.
Intermediate championship fixtures: (quarter-finals): Saturday, Dunmore McHales v Athenry at Tuam Stadium 6.45; Oughterard v Corofin at Pearse Stadium 6.45pm. Sunday, Clonbur v Monivea-Abbey 3.15pm. Menlough v Carna-Caiseal at Pearse Stadium 5.30pm.