Killererin v Moycullen
Sunday, Tuam Stadium, 4.30pm
Moycullen had genuine chances to win this fixture in the last few minutes last Sunday at Pearse Stadium when they kicked some poor and wild wides.
They drew 1-09 to 0-12 and some will feel they have missed the boat based on past experience.
I am not so sure.
When Killererin are attacked down the middle, they are very vulnerable and, if Mark Lydon, Gareth Bradshaw, Brian Faherty and Gearoid Clancy can be more direct in their attacking forays, defensive gaps will open.
Bradshaw’s driving run that set up Paul Clancy’s goal was a case in point.
His pace carved open the centre of the Killererin defence and Alan Keane had no chance with Clancy’s well placed close range finish.
To win, the West Board men need to get more supply into Paul Clancy as he was starved of possession for long periods. They should loft a few diagonal balls in his direction as Armagh used to do with Ronan Clarke and Steven McDonnell and see what happens.
Moycullen double-marked Padraic Joyce last weekend and it was the right thing to do because if he is held from play, it reduces the Killererin tally considerably. They will probably attempt to employ the same tactic this Sunday too.
Nicky Joyce appeared to be struggling with injury and he was not as dangerous as he can be and, when the Joyces are not firing on all cylinders, Killererin struggle to raise too many flags.
The venue is a factor too and Tuam Stadium will be much more to Killererin’s liking than Pearse Stadium.
It is a real home from home for the five-time county champions and they really love playing there.
They are very tough to defeat in Tuam and they seem comfortable playing their possession game there and their large home support is usually worth a few points to them.
It will not be easy for Moycullen, but must believe they are in with a serious chance of reaching the last four. If they can stop Tom Hughes winning as much aerial possession as he did last Sunday, and keep Padraic Joyce under tabs again, they will be there or thereabouts.
The bookies have Killererin as clear favourites at 4/7 and Sean O’Dea’s men at 13/8 to advance, with the draw at 7/1.
Caherlistrane v Corofin
Sunday, Tuam Stadium, 6.30pm
The county champions were blessed to survive last weekend’s encounter and get a draw (1-09 to 2-06 ) when three late points from Michael Farragher and two Tomas Costello frees saved their three-in-a-row ambitions after Caherlistrane had put themselves in a match-winning position with a fine goal on the break by Shane O’Brien.
Caherlistrane worked hard for the full hour and probably deserved to win with some fine performances from Rory Glynn at centre-back, Brendan Murphy and Shane Bohan at midfield, and Barry Lee, Cormac Bane and Eric Monahan up front.
It took Corofin a long time to get going and, only for the excellence and urgency of Kieran Comer all through the game, they would be out of the championship. They need to increase their intensity and workrate or they will be out of the championship sooner rather than later.
Unfortunately the game was marred by a free-for-all on the stand side of the pitch involving officials, players and some supporters in the last quarter.
I was on the opposite side of the field, but watching some people jumping the wall to try to get involved in the fracas was less than impressive.
The catalyst for the rumble on the side-line was the two red cards dished out to Corofin’s Kieran McGrath and Caherlistrane’s Eric Monahan. The county board will act upon the referee’s report later in the week and they are not ruling out some sanctions for either club or individuals before Sunday’s action commences.
On the plus side for Corofin, county player Damien Burke may be back from injury and available, while last year’s regular corner back Cathal Silke has recently returned from charity work abroad. Burke’s availability would be a big boost and would strengthen Ger Keane’s selection hand and give him options at the back.
Caherlistrane’s manager Peter Warren will know his side left it behind last Sunday in injury time when they had Corofin on the ropes, but he has enough quality in his panel to believe they can still advance.
Eric Monahan’s suspension reduces his scoring power and may provide a starting slot for the likes of JJ Greaney or young Cillian Bane.
There will not be a lot between the sides, but the feeling in this neck of the woods is that Corofin have the greater scope for improvement.
The likes of Greg Higgins, Ronan Steede, Gary Sice and Kieran Fitzgerald will feel they can make a greater contribution and, if they do that and keep Cormac Bane on a tight rein, they have the potential to get into the last four.