Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 December 2014

All-Ireland SHC qualifiers (Phase 2)

Clare v Dublin, Ennis, 7.0, D Kirwan (Cork)

A year ago, Dublin were preparing for the Leinster final as NHL champions. Happy times in Blue land, but how things have changed since then. Dublin's record since July 1 last year reads: played 12, won 2, drew 2, lost 8. One of their wins was against Laois, who are at their weakest for decades, so Dublin's only success of any substance over the past year was against Limerick in the All-Ireland quarter-final.

It's a depressing situation as they prepare for a shoot-out with Clare, who will replace them in Division 1A next season. Clare's self-esteem is high after a progressive league campaign and a close call against Waterford in the Munster semi-final, but can they match Dublin if Anthony Daly's men reproduce the form they displayed in the first half of last year? Probably not.

Last C'ship clash: Dublin 2-22 Clare 0-15 (2010 All-Ireland qualifiers)

Odds: Dublin 5/6; Clare 6/5; Draw 9/1

Verdict: Dublin

CLARE -- P Kelly; D O'Donovan, C Dillon, C Cooney; B Bugler, P Donnellan, N O'Connell; S Morey, S Collins; F Lynch, J Clancy, T Kelly; J Conlon, C McGrath, D Honan.

Cork v Offaly, Pairc Ui Chaoimh, 7.0, M Wadding (Waterford).

The last time Jimmy Barry-Murphy encountered Offaly as Cork manager, his side were beaten and he resigned. That was back in 2000 when Offaly won the All-Ireland semi-final in what was their last major championship achievement.

Expectations are much lower in Offaly nowadays and certainly weren't helped by a dismally poor performance against Galway in the Leinster semi-final. Cork were much more enterprising against Tipperary in the Munster semi-final and look altogether more likely to relaunch their championship ambitions.

Last C'ship clash: Cork 2-17 Offaly 2-16

(2011 All-Ireland qualifiers)

Odds: Cork 1/12; Offaly 15/2; Draw 18/1

Verdict: Cork

Cork -- A Nash; S O'Neill, B Murphy, C O'Sullivan; T Kenny, C Joyce, W Egan; D Sweetnam , L McLoughlin; C Lehane, C McCarthy, P Cronin; J Coughlan, P O'Sullivan, P Horgan.

Offaly -- E Kelly; C Hernon, D Kenny, J Rigney; D Morkan, R Hanniffy, D Horan; K Brady, S Ryan; C Egan, C Mahon, B Murphy; S Dooley, J Bergin, B Carroll.

Leinster MFC semi-final

(Extra-time if necessary)

Westmeath v Meath,

Mullingar, 7.0, S Johnson (Louth).

Verdict: Meath

Munster SFC final

Clare v Cork, Gaelic Grounds, 2.0,

E Kinsella (Laois), *Live TV3

Clare manager Micheal McDermott is calling on his players to summon the spirit which saw 100th world-ranked tennis player Lukas Rosol beat second seed Rafa Nadal in Wimbledon as they attempt to emulate their fellow countymen, who won the Munster title 20 years ago.

It's a laudable ambition by McDermott, but it's still mighty difficult to envisage a Division 4 side beating the All-Ireland favourites and Division 1 champions. McDermott will have Clare well set up so Cork will need to work hard, but once they establish full momentum the title will be on its way to Leeside.

Last C'ship clash: Cork 1-23 Clare 0-11

(2011 Munster quarter-final)

Odds: Cork 1/100; Clare 22/1; Draw 28/1

Verdict: Cork

Cork -- A Quirke; R Carey, M Shields, E Cadogan; P Kissane, G Canty, N O'Leary; A O'Connor, A Walsh; C Sheehan, P Kelly, P Kerrigan; C O'Neill, D O'Connor, N Murphy.

Clare -- Joe Hayes; K Hartnett, B Duggan, L Healy; E Coughlan, G Kelly, John Hayes; G Brennan, G Quinlan; S Brennan, S McGrath, A Clohessy; R Donnelly, D Tubridy, M O'Shea.

Munster MFC final

Tipperary v Kerry, Gaelic Grounds, 12.0,

C Lane (Cork).

The second meeting of the sides in the championship after Tipperary came from two points down at the break to beat Kerry back in April, thanks largely to Colman Kennedy's 2-2 haul. The Kingdom recovered to beat Waterford, Limerick and Clare in the back door but even allowing for the unpredictable nature of minor football, Tipperary should have enough to get by.

Odds: Tipperary 2/5; Kerry 5/2; Draw 7/1

Verdict: Tipperary

Leinster SHC final

Galway v Kilkenny, Croke Park, 4.0,

J McGrath (Westmeath). *Live RTE2

Kilkenny 5-46 Galway 1-24. That's the combined score from the Walsh Cup final and Allianz NHL clashes between the counties earlier this year. And if that wasn't depressing enough for Galway, they also lost to Leinster, who had nine Kilkenny men aboard, by seven points when representing Connacht in the inter-provincial final.

It doesn't augur well for Galway but then many of their best days against Kilkenny have come when least expected. As for anybody who suspects that Kilkenny might be complacent, it's not something that's happened in the past. Besides, they will derive plenty of motivation from a determination not to be the county which concedes a Leinster title to Galway for the first time.

Last C'ship Clash: Kilkenny 1-19 Galway 1-12 (2010 Leinster final)

Odds: Kilkenny 1/7; Galway 11/2; Draw 16/1.

Verdict: Kilkenny

GALWAY (SH v Kilkenny) -- J Skehill; D Collins, K Hynes, F Moore; N Donoghue, T Og Regan, J Coen; I Tannian, A Smyth; D Burke, N Burke, C Donnellan; D Hayes, J Canning, C Cooney.

Kilkenny -- D Herity; P Murphy, N Hickey, J Tyrrell; T Walsh, B Hogan, R Doyle; C Buckley, P Hogan; H Shefflin, TJ Reid, E Larkin; C Fennelly, R Power, R Hogan.

Leinster MHC final

Wexford v Dublin, Croke Park, 2.0,

G Quilty (Kilkenny)

Dublin can call on a host of the squad that reached last year's All-Ireland final including Cormac Costello who scored three points from midfield against Kilkenny last time out, wing-back Sean McClelland and Paul Winters, though the latter is a slight injury doubt.

Wexford enjoyed a comprehensive win over Laois in their semi-final but this looks a huge step up in class for Martin Storey's men.

Odds: Wexford 2/1; Dublin 4/9; Draw 9/1

Ulster SH final

Antrim v Derry, Casement Park, 3.30,

T Carroll (Offaly).

The Ulster championship was meaningful when the winners advanced to the All-Ireland quarter-finals but no longer is that prize on offer. Would it not be more relevant to counties if it were played off before they enter the Liam MacCarthy, Christy Ring Cup etc competitions?

Verdict: Antrim

Ulster MHC final

Antrim v Down, Casement Park, 1.30,

E Hasson (Derry).

Verdict: Antrim

today

All-Ireland SC

Kilkenny v Tipperary, Nowlan Park, 3.15

Tipperary gave a scintillating display against Clare last weekend, hitting 2-16 to relaunch their championship bid but impressive performances will be required from Jill Horan and Joanne Ryan if the Premier County are to overturn Kilkenny on their home patch. Brendan Williams' Kilkenny side need to secure a win to stay in the race for silverware.

Verdict: Tipperary

Clare v Galway, Cusack Park, Ennis, 5.0

A must-win fixture for Clare, who have suffered two opening-round defeats to Cork and Tipperary. Matches between these two rivals have always been tight affairs and this will be no different. Home advantage, and having their championship aspirations on the line, should be enough for the Banner.

Verdict: Clare

Cork v Offaly, Pairc Ui Chaoimh, 5.0

Offaly enter this game in high spirits, following their first championship win last weekend. Elaine Dermody hit 3-8 of her side's 3-14 and Cork will need to curtail Offaly's top scorer. Cork will be aiming to bounce back after a disappointing display against Wexford and, with home advantage and greater experience, they should prevail.

Verdict: Cork

All-Ireland IC

Kilkenny v Tipperary, Nowlan Park, 1.30. Verdict: Tipperary

Galway v Cork, Clarecastle, 2.30.

Verdict: Galway

Derry v Limerick, Donaghmore, Ashbourne, 2.30.

Verdict: Derry

Waterford v Antrim, St Finian's, Newcastle, 5.30.

Verdict: Antrim

All-Ireland jC

Armagh v Meath, Morgan Athletic Grounds, 2.30.

Verdict: Armagh

Laois v Down, Rathdowney, 2.30.

Verdict: Down

Roscommon v Kildare, Athleague, 4.0. Verdict: Kildare

All -reland JC 'A'

Offaly v Tyrone, St Brendans Park,

Birr, 2.30.

Verdict: Tyrone

Monaghan v Westmeath, Oram, 2.30.

Verdict: Westmeath

tomorrow

All-Ireland SC

Wexford v Dublin, Wexford Park, 2.30

the Slaneysiders have recorded two wins to date and JJ Doyle's side will need to be vigilant for the visit of an up-and-coming Dublin side. Home advantage and greater experience should see Wexford remain unbeaten.

Verdict: Wexford

All Ireland JC 'A'

Dublin v Cavan, Ballyboden St Enda's, 2.0.

Verdict: Cavan

All Ireland JC 'b'

Wicklow v Meath 2, Arklow, 2.30.

Verdict: Wicklow.

Cill Dara v Kerry, St Laurence's, 2.30. Verdict: Cill Dara

tomorrow

Connacht SC Final

Mayo v Galway, McHale Park, 4.0.

Verdict: Galway

Connacht IC Final

Roscommon v Sligo, McHale Park, 2.0. Verdict: Sligo

All-Ireland iC

Limerick v Wicklow, Adare, 2.0.

Verdict: Limerick

Waterford v London, Portarlington, 2.0.

Verdict: Waterford

Cavan v Longford, Lacken, 2.0.

Verdict: Longford

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