Connacht SFC Quarter-Final
London v Leitrim
Sunday, Emerald GAA Grounds, Ruislip, 3.00
A QUICK CHAT with the bar man in Dromod earlier in the week saw him come to this conclusion regarding his county’s championship opener. “Sure, they’ll have a good night out anyway.”
Had he said the exact opposite we would have seen it as quite an insightful piece of thinking because, while they might well have a good night, it’ll only be if that idea doesn’t enter their heads until full-time.
Mindset will be the difference between Leitrim losing and winning this one.
Last year gave a false reflection of London in that so much focus was on a game that got away against Mayo — a result that will never happen again — and a win over a Fermanagh. But remember, they then lost by a sizeable chunk at home to Waterford, failed to beat anyone bar Kilkenny this league, lost to their opponents here by five points just a couple of months ago and last weekend had a round of club championship games so intense that there are parts of key players still scattered across pitches in the English capital.
That’s a lot to be going against the worst team in the championship, even if it is only Leitrim they are playing and Lloyd Colfer offers a decent threat. But expect James Glancy to goal, Emlyn Mulligan to weight in heavily on the scoreboard and…
LONDON E Byrne; P Sherry, S McVeigh, D McGreevy; T Gaughan, S Mulligan, S Hannon; L Mulvey, M Gottsche; S Kelly, K O’Leary, M Mullins; P McGoldrick, E O’Neill, L Colfe.
LEITRIM CMcCrann; J Glancy, C Egan, P Maguire; C Clarke, F McMorrow, W McKeon; D Sweeney, D Lowe; P McGowan, E Mulligan, P Brennan; R Cox, J Glancy, A Croal.
Leinster SFC Quarter-Final
Longford v Wexford
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. The GAA may talk about holding ticket prices steady but they can do nothing about fuel prices and making both sets of fans travel to a deserted stadium devoid of atmosphere while purchasing for a double header is crazy thinking.
If there will be 35,000 there for the second game, there’ll be 10,000 at a push for the day’s opener. Yet again, Dr Cullen Park showed last Sunday what a stadium can do for a moderate crowd and the venue here is such a pity because this game deserves more.
As for that game, the league plays a certain relevance if only because Wexford are due a win after losing their last two to their opponents here. Indeed if you look at the league final, Wexford couldn’t have played any worse in the first half, Longford won’t get a better head start and they still only just hung on. The return of Rory Quinlivan is a big boost as Wexford have the ability to dominate midfield, forcing Michael Quinn from his position at six and allowing Ben Brosnan and Shane Roche some space.
David Murphy will need to improve though and give Graeme Molloy some protection while Ciarán Lyng will need help from the rest of the inside-forward line. If the bulk of that happens it’ll still be close but Wexford will scrape it.
Verdict: Wexford by two
LONGFORD D Sheridan; D Brady, B Gilleran, D Reilly; C Smith, M Quinn, S Mulligan; B McElvanney, J Keegan; D Barden, P Barden, N Mulligan; D McElligott, B Kavanagh, S McCormack
WEXFORD A Masterson; N Murphy, G Molloy, R Tierney; A Flynn, D Murphy, B Malone; D Waters, R Quinlivan; C Morris, S Roche, B Brosnan; C Lyng, E Bradley, R Barry.
Ulster SFC Quarter-Final
Fermanagh v Down
Sunday, Brewster Park, Enniskillen, 3.30
CLOSE CALL? WE don’t think so. For all the strides Fermanagh have made under Peter Canavan, that was easy compared to what they’ll run into here in terms of both size and skill. Down may bemoan the loss of so many leaders but that will affect their bigger ambitions rather than their need to swat away the home side on Sunday and get the ball rolling. Of course Dan Gordon would be far more suited to Seamus Quigley than Brendan McArdle who is forced into full-back while, Benny Coulter may have outscored the opposition by himself were he around. But they are inconveniences rather than genuine worries as Down are still comfortably the better team.
We saw during their Division Four loss to Wicklow what a side getting on the front foot through primary possession at midfield and running at Fermanagh can do, and while Kalum King has the size, Ambrose Rogers has the mobility to cause all sorts of problems. So too do a half-forward line of Danny Hughes, Mark Poland and Aidan Carr and it leaves us thinking Down could put up a big score, what with Ryan McCluskey missing and Barry Owens unable to mark a handful of opponents. As for trying to match that, we know Fermanagh will be going long to their full-forward but while Quigley has the size and a better-suited opponent, we don’t think he has the football and by the end of is both he and his teammates will realise they’ve made one small step, but they still need to make giant leaps.
Verdict Down by six
FERMANAGH R Gallagher; N Bogue, B Owens, N McGovern; D Kelly, B Cox, B Mulrone; S Lyons, E Donnelly; D Keenan, B Og Maguire, R Jones; T Corrigan, Ss Quigley, S McCabe.
DOWN B McVeigh; D McCartan, B McArdle, D O’Hagan; A Branagan, K McKiernan, C Garvey; A Rogers, K King; D Hughes, M Poland, A Carr; C Lavert, A McConville, C Maginn.