Clare SFC: Senior A Quarter Finals, Senior B Semi, Relegation Final

Clare SFC: Senior A Quarter Finals, Senior B Semi, Relegation Final

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gaelic footballThere’s plenty of action at the weekend as the competition intensifies in the Clare Senior Football Championship.

Two quarter finals are down for decision in the Senior A with one semi-final in the Senior B and the crucial relegation final also due to take place over the course of the weekend.

Senior A:
Cratloe vs O Currys 15:00 on 06/09/14 at Lissycasey:
One of the two quarter-finals taking place this weekend, pits one of the most talented teams against one of the most hardworking teams.

Cratloe were very impressive in the first round when they dispatched of the Éire Óg challenge on a scorelne of 2-12 to 1-12. They had four points to spare when they played Cooraclare in the previous round. On their way to collecting the Jack Daly last year, Cratloe didn’t concede a goal in the entire championship, whilst so far this year they have conceded a goal in each of their championship games.

Sports fans all over the county were glued to coverage of Deadline Day, last week, one that slipped past many of them was the transfer of former Limerick star, John Galvin to Cratloe. Galvin hasn’t featured for his native Croom in this year’s championship, so he will be a more than welcome addition to the Cratloe contigent. It will be interesting to see if Galvin is on from the start or if he will have any role in Saturday’s clash.

Some have mentioned Cratloe’s progress in the Senior Hurling as a possible hindrance to their preparation for this tie, the way this Cratloe team works they focus on hurling when they’re hurling and likewise with the football, so it should in no way interfere with how this one pans out. Sean Collins, Conor Mc Grath, Podge Collins, Cathal Mc Inerney, Liam Markham, Conor Ryan and Pierce DeLoughrey will have a big say in what way the result will be, once the final whistle sounds. O Currys shocked some of the “experts” with their extra-time win over St Josephs Doora Barefield in the previous round. One of the negatives from that clash was that Sean Haugh went off injured just into the second half, while Haugh should fit for the weekend, he would be a massive loss for his side if he was to be unfit.

O Currys are growing in confidence with every game, they were shaky in the first round against Kilrush Shamrocks but hit the right notes when the Parish came calling. Saturday is going to be their biggest test yet and it will be intriguing to see what way Dinny Mc Mahon will line out his side in an attempt to topple the champions. Whatever he does, Mc Mahon will need Ger Quinlan, Eoin Troy, Sean Haugh, Declan Walsh, Eoin Brew, Jim Downes and Ollie Quinlan at their very best.

For O Currys the best thing they can do is to focus on the individual battles, if each player worries about stopping his marker from having a big influence in proceedings, then they will have a great chance. While O Currys have more fight than most teams in the county, Cratloe should have enough class to book their spot in the last four.

Doonbeg vs Cooraclare 13:00 on 07/09/14 at Quilty:
So far in this year’s championship, Doonbeg have yet to be pushed to their limits for the entire sixty minutes. They had sixteen points to spare over Ennistymon in Round One while they had a 0-14 to 0-06 win over St Josephs Doora Barefield, the last day out.

Not being tested is something that could come back to bite Doonbeg, even though it’s not their fault. Cooraclare will pose a stiff challenge for the Magpies on Sunday, by far the biggest challenge of their 2014 championship to date.

Doonbeg are still hurting following last year’s county final defeat, they know and all those in attendance on November 16th last year know that Doonbeg didn’t play to their potential. This year has been all about attempting, step by step to get back to where they stood last year and only this time go one step further. They’ve ticked all the boxes so far in their championship campaign, all they’ve had to do is beat what’s put out in front of them and they’ve done just that. The Magpies will be relying on David Tubridy, Frank O Dea, Paraic Aherne, Conor Downes, Shane Ryan and Enda Doyle for big performances at the weekend.

Cooraclare are slight underdogs going into this one. They’ve played more championship matches than their opponents and this will be certainly be an advantage as in their matches, they have been asked questions, on some occasions they answered these questions and on other days they didn’t. They got past Kilrush in Round One on a scoreline of 1-15 to 0-06.

Round Two saw Cooraclare adopt a very defensive approach when they fell down to County Champions, Cratloe by four points. More recently they beat Ennistymon by an impressive thirteen points. Key to the Milesians is County Star, Rory Donnelly who has featured as part of a two man full forward line in the Cooraclare team. Other players along with Donnelly who will need to stand out include, Declan Mc Mahon, Thomas Donnellan, John Looney, Cathal Lillis and Thomas Downes.

Cooraclare will certainly put it up to Doonbeg but Kieran O Neill’s Magpies should advance to the semi-final stage.

Senior B:
Lissycasey vs Ennistymon 12:30 on 06/09/14 at Corofin:
It’s the competition that no team wants to be in and it’s where Lissycasey and Ennistymon find themselves. A positive of the whole Senior B experience is that it allows various management teams the opportunity to try out new players and it gives young players a slight flavour of life at senior level.

Neither side will have any qualms if they’ve silverware on show at the end of the year, so the Senior B is a competition where this can happen. Lissycasey exited the Senior A championship at the hands of Éire Óg in a poor spectacle in which they didn’t do themselves justice, this game gives them a chance to redeem themselves, a defeat would ensure 2014 is labelled as a failure for Lissycasey, simple as.

Joe Hayes, Seamus Collins, Francis Hayes, Martin O Connor and Oisin Talty will be the men leading the Lissycasey challenge at the weekend. Ennistymon’s championship season has been very disappointing, they suffered a sixteen point defeat when they faced off against Doonbeg in the first round and a thirteen point defeat against Cooraclare in the last round. In between those fixtures, they had a comfortable victory over St Breckans, but when push comes to shove, Ennistymon seem to buckle.

The Senior B competition will give Brendan Rouine the perfect opportunity to try out some of the younger crop from the North Clare side. They will need solid performances from Laurence Healy, Joe Dowling, Kevin Scales and Adam Ralph if they’re to make the Senior B final.

Based on their performances this year, Lissycasey should have enough in the tank to drive into the Senior B final.

Relegation Final
Liscannor vs Shannon Gaels 13:00 on 07/09/14 at Miltown:
The winner takes it all in this tie. A defeat is not an option for either side, once a team makes the drop down to a lower level, it is very difficult to make an immediate return. That is why a win is essential here as senior status is on the line.

Neither side can complain about being in this positon. Even though Liscannor seemed to get a tough draw in Round One and Two, they had chances to get past Kilrush Shamrocks but they didn’t take them. One of the comments being made about this Liscannor team is that they’re ageing and they haven’t the legs. Whether the Liscannor folk agree or disagree with that, losing at the weekend would be a disaster as giving young players a taste of senior action is far more beneficial than playing at intermediate level.

In order to maintain their senior status, Liscannor will need solid displays from Ronan Slattery, the Considines, Alan Clohessy and Darren Nagle. The Amy O Shea managed Shannon Gaels are one step away from life in the intermediate ranks. It is a step they have no intention of making and in order to avoid it, they will need a consistent, determined performance for the full sixty minutes on Sunday afternoon.

The Gaels haven’t looked like causing an upset in any of their championship games and the fact that they have went in as underdogs on most occasions, has failed to spur them on. The Gaels will be hoping Noel Kennedy, Fergal Kenny, Frank Cleary, Michael O Donoghue and John Neylon are at their best for this tie.

It’s relegation matches like this one that separate the boys from the men, but Liscannor should come out on top in a tight affair.

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