The Claregalway Hotel & Bon Secours Hospital Senior Football Championship kicks off this weekend with a full round of games and some exciting ties down for decision.
First up on Saturday evening is an attractive double header at Pearse Stadium which sees St James, who were recently crowned county u-21 A champions, taking on Killanin at 5.30pm.
St James, who are managed this season by Terry O’Regan and are being coached by David Waldron, will be expected to advance from this opening tie. They are raging hot favourites at 4/11 to do so.
That game is followed by another all-West Board affair at 7.15pm, with Bearna, managed by Gay O’Brien this year, taking on An Cheathru Rua with Sean Hehir the man in black.
That is a tight game to call and there is unlikely to be too much between the sides at the final whistle. It will be interesting to see what kind of style of play Bearna adopt this year as they have been very defensive for the past year or two. An Cheathru Rua are 8/13 favourites with Bearna at 13/8, and those prices look about right.
There is also a double-header in Tuam Stadium on Saturday evening which starts at 5.30pm with 2010 county champions Killererin taking on Caherlistrane. With county players Tomás Fahy and Padraig Joyce moving very well last weekend, it is hard to look past a victory for their side.
That game is followed by a repeat of last year’s county final with Corofin facing Tuam Stars at 7.15pm. That is an intriguing joust and Corofin will be looking to their county quartet Damien Burke, Greg Higgins, Gary Sice and Kieran McGrath to show the leadership to advance to the next round. However, at 2/1, Tuam represent value as the word from the town is that training and preparations are going very well. It has been difficult for Corofin to field a full team over the past few weeks and that will not have helped their preparations. They were almost caught by Bearna early in the championship last year and a Tuam win is not out of the bounds of possibility at all.
Triple header on in Pearse Stadium on Sunday
Sunday sees seven games down for decision and there is a triple header on at Pearse Stadium, so bring your flask and sandwiches.
First up are St Michael’s who take on Salthill-Knocknacarra (2pm ). Alan Kerins has been in superb form for the Seasiders in the past few weeks and they should have too much fire power for St Michael’s.
That tie will be followed by recently-promoted Kilconly against Naomh Anna-Leitir Mor at 3.45pm with Gerry Daly the man in the middle.
The final chapter of the trilogy sees Micheál Breathnachs taking on Kilkerrin/Clonberne at 5.30pm with Tuam man Gerry Guinan in charge.
Over in Corofin on Sunday, Cathal Sheridan’s Milltown will take on Moycullen at 4pm and the students of NUIG will face Annaghdown afterwards at 5.45pm with Frank Killeen on the whistle.
The final series of games of the weekend sees a double-header at Tuam Stadium on Sunday evening with Caltra taking on Claregalway at 5pm. That is followed by Cortoon Shamrocks v Mountbellew/Moylough at 6.45pm and, with Joe Bergin in top form last Sunday, he can provide the primary possession for a victory in that one.