Leinster club SFC quarter-final
Garrycastle v Longford Slashers ( Cusack Park, Sunday, 2.30pm )
Garrycastle embark on what will hopefully be a protracted and successful Leinster club campaign when they welcome Longford Slashers to Cusack Park on Sunday. Last year, when the sides met at the same stage the Westmeath champions scraped home by a point.
Slashers have a very defensive style of play which makes them difficult to score against. They don’t tend to rack up high scores themselves so this game has all the hallmarks of a tight, low-scoring affair.
Garrycastle have made no secret of their intention to give the Leinster club championship a serious shot this year. Having reached the decider in 2009 and the semi-final last year, they have every right to harbour thoughts of Leinster glory.
With that said Anthony Cunningham will be well aware of the danger Sunday’s opponents will pose. Slashers have won back to back titles in Longford and will themselves be more determined to advance in Leinster this time around.
Cathal Mullin who returned from New Zealand for the county final replay has decided to stick around for the duration of the Leinster club campaign and his presence and experience adds stability at the back.
If the Garrycastle attack can hit 10 or 11 points it should be enough to see them through. A lot will depend on midfield where the Garrycastle duo of David O’Shaughnessy and Seanie Dononghue will be hoping for a repeat of their second half performance from the county final.
Dessie Dolan, not surprisingly, is sure to be given extra attention. Last year he kicked eight of his side’s 13 points against the same opposition. The likes of Paddy Mulvihill, Rory McGowan, and James Duignan will need to play their part in keeping the scoreboard ticking.
Garrycastle have been a bit hot and cold on route to collecting their third title on the trot. They will need to be fully switched on on Sunday if they are to see off the challenge of the Longford champions. With their greater ability to register scores, I expect them to advance but only just.