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What do we know about the teams awaiting Slaughtneil in the All Irelands?


Winning feeling: Patsy Bradley lifts the Seamus McFerran Cup on Sunday

Winning feeling: Patsy Bradley lifts the Seamus McFerran Cup on Sunday

©INPHO/Jonathan Porter

Winning feeling: Patsy Bradley lifts the Seamus McFerran Cup on Sunday

The Seamus McFerran Cup wasn't even brought down from the podium in the Athletic Grounds on Sunday following Slaughtneil's historic win in the Ulster senior football final before reporters had formed a semi-circle around full-back Brendan Rogers.

In his second sentence as he composed himself, he brought the name of Nemo Rangers - their All-Ireland semi-final opponents on February 17 - into the equation. With the camogs and hurlers also going for All-Ireland glory, we take a look at the opposition up ahead in the new year:


OPPOSITION: Thomastown (Kilkenny)

DATE: January 27

The camogs are out first of all three codes and they are putting their All-Ireland title on the line against Thomastown of Kilkenny on the last Saturday of January.

Thomastown reached last year's All-Ireland semi-final but were beaten by Sarsfields of Galway, who Slaughtneil got past in the final.

This year they returned to form with a win in the county final over Dicksboro, the score at the end reading 3-10 to 2-5.

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In Leinster they were up against St Martin's of Wexford. Finding opposition goalkeeper Mags Darcy in inspired form, Thomastown couldn't get a goal, but rattled enough points up in a 0-16 to 3-6 win that got them through.

Slaughtneil have lost a bit and gained a bit. Shannon Graham's return to the line-up has been staged and her appearance in the closing stages of the Ulster final shows they have serious firepower.

With a winter's training, she should be at the peak of her powers come January.

But her absence has hardly been felt since Tina Hannon - an import from Offaly who is excellent from frees - came to the club.

Manager: Ken Walsh

Key Players: Eimear and Niamh Donnely, Anna and Shelly Farrell

ODDS NOW: Unavailable for camogie

VERDICT: With Tina Hannon now on board, Slaughtneil are stronger than ever.


OPPOSITION: Na Piarsaigh (Limerick)

DATE: February 10th

Conquerors of Ruairi Og Cushendall in the 2016 All-Ireland hurling final, Limerick's Na Piarsaigh have become the most dominant team in Munster, winning in 2011, 2013, 2015 and now this year too.

It's been quite the journey for a club only formed in 1968 and made their first appearance in the county final of 2009, losing to Adare and scoring only 0-3 on that occasion, but driving on to dominate from then on.

After winning their own county Championship with a 1-22 to 2-14 victory over Kilmallock, they went into the Munster series and were drawn with Blackrock of Cork and gave them an almighty dressing down, 2-26 to 0-10, with county Under-21 All-Ireland winner Ronan Lynch hitting 15 points in the game.

They went on to face off against Ballygunner of Waterford in the repeat of the 2015 provincial final, and this time were triumphant once more on the scoreline of 3-15 to 2-10.

With the towering Adrian and David Breen and the skilful Kevin Downes and Ronan Lynch, they are 4/6 favourites to win the Tommy Moore Cup. Slaughtneil's lack of exclusive hurling time will hurt them.

Manager: Shane O'Neill

Key Players: Kevin Downes, Adrian Breen, Ronan Lynch.

ODDS NOW: Slaughtneil 40/1 for an All-Ireland, Na Piarsaigh 4/6 favourites.

VERDICT: A bridge too far for Slaughtneil with their dual commitments.


OPPOSITION: Nemo Rangers (Cork)

DATE: February 17

With 20 county titles to their name, Nemo Rangers are out in front on the leaderboard of All-Ireland triumphs also, with seven to their name, one ahead of Crossmaglen Rangers.

They won their first All-Ireland in 1973. And, driven from goals and from the sidelines by the great Billy Morgan, they have added further titles in 1979, 1982, 1984, 1989, 1994 and 2003.

Paul Kerrigan is the most recognisable name from their line-up, although the silky Luke Connolly will establish a similar reputation for himself in time.

A quirky element to their team is the addition of Paddy Gumley - excellent at full-forward against Dr Crokes, who was playing reserve football with his club Redhills in Cavan just a year ago.

Elsewhere, you have another key figure who could come back into contention in former Kerry All-Ireland winner Tomás Ó Sé, who has been unavailable of late.

They beat city rivals St Finbarr's after a replay in the county final and gained a free pass in the Munster quarter-final.

This was because Waterford did not have their football Championship completed on time.

In the semi-final they hammered Adare of Limerick, 2-17 to 0-4.

Come the Munster final, they were facing defending All-Ireland champions Dr Crokes of Killarney.

However, they showed them little respect as they ran out 0-16 to 0-11 winners. You cannot discount the tradition of winning in this club.

However that should hold little fears for Slaughtneil all the same.

Manager: Larry Kavanagh

Key Players: Paul Kerrigan, Luke Connolly, Alan Cronin

ODDS NOW: Slaughtneil are 2/1 for an All-Ireland, Nemo are 11/4.

VERDICT: Will have little fear of Nemo at semi-final stage and should achieve it.

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