GAA Football

GAA Matchbox for Jan 18/19 2020 weekend

Kilcoos aidan branagan pic seamus loughran
By Padraig Kelly



Dr McKenna Cup final

Monaghan v Tyrone

(Athletic Grounds, 7.30pm)

IN 2003 Monaghan were confirming their status as the kings of the McKenna Cup as they claimed a 14th title to sit three clear in the roll of honour. At the same time Mickey Harte was rolling into Tyrone and the rest is the history – as far as pre-season competitions go anyway. Another Red Hand success would be an incredible 12th title under his watch, and despite making 10 changes from the semi-final win over Down he has named a strong side. Monaghan didn’t have a semi-final after Donegal’s withdrawal last weekend. Seamus McEnaney has made a raft of changes from their last group game, which was also against Donegal, with the likes of goalkeeper Conor Forde, Robbie McAllister, Barry McBennett and Padraic Keenan set to get another chance to impress their new manager.

Odds: Monaghan: 7/2 D: 9/1 Tyrone: 1/4

Verdict: Tyrone

FBD League final

Roscommon v Galway

(Dr Hyde Park, 2pm)

THIS fixture is becoming an annual event as it’s the sixth time in-a-row that these two counties have met in this particular final. Galway manager Padraic Joyce has made seven changes to the side that defeated Mayo on penalties with Ronan O Beolain, Conor Campbell, Sean Mulkerrins, Cein Darcy, and Rob Finnerty amongst those coming in after NUIG’s Sigerson loss to UCC. Roscommon hit seven goals in their 30-point semi-final win over Leitrim. Given the one-sided nature of that contest, Anthony Cunningham will be welcoming a more competitive affair ahead of their League opener against Laois.

Odds: H: 6/4 D: 15/2 A: 4/6

Verdict: Roscommon

O’Byrne Cup final

Offaly v Longford

(Bord na Mona O’Connor Park, 2.45pm)

LONGFORD are in their first O’Byrne Cup final since 2016 following last week’s farcical win over Dublin when their opponents made 23 substitutions. Kevin Diffley scored their goal in the 1-13 to 3-6 win with the hosts landing the last three scores to progress. Offaly made it four wins from four in the competition with a 0-16 to 0-11 win over Westmeath. John Muaghan has made two changes for the match with Cian Donohue and Shane Horan coming into the side. Offaly’s last O’Byrne Cup success came all the way back in 1998 but they have enough momentum built up to add their seventh title.

Odds: H: 5/6 D: 7/1 A: 5/4

Verdict: Offaly

Walsh Cup final

Wexford v Galway

(MW Hire O'Moore Park, 4pm)

WEXFORD laid down an early season marker as they tore Kilkenny apart in last week’s semi-final before emerging with a 12-point win. Both sides were down a host of players due to Fitzgibbon duties, but it was still a good showing from Davy Fitzgerald’s side. Joint captains Lee Chin and Matthew O'Hanlon are again expected to miss out through injury. New Galway manager Shane O’Neill gave youth their chance against Dublin but they still managed to conjure up a one-point win. More rotation is expected from the Tribesmen this afternoon.

Odds: Wexford: 10/11 D: 9/1 Galway: EVs

Verdict: Wexford

All-Ireland Junior Hurling Club Championship final

Conahy Shamrocks v Russell Rovers

(Croke Park, 4pm)

CONAHY Shamrocks are hoping to kick-start what could be another incredible weekend for Kilkenny hurling. They face Russell Rovers in the Junior final with Tullaroan and Ballyhale Shamrocks also chasing All-Ireland glory this weekend. The ease of their semi-final win over Coleraine shows just how talented they are as they hit three first-half goals in the 12-point win. James Bergin helped himself to 2-10 while full-forward Tom Phelan had a hand in so many scores. Russell Rovers also had a big semi-final win, but their 11-point success against Mícheál Breathnach only came after extra-time. The Cork side had Brian Hartnett to thank as his late score forced extra-time, and from there Rovers took complete control.

Odds: Conahy Shamrocks: 7/4 D: 8/1 Russell Rovers: 4/7

Verdict: Conahy Shamrocks

All-Ireland Intermediate Hurling Club Championship final

Fr O’Neill’s v Tullaroan

(Croke Park, 6pm)

FR O’Neill’s and Tullaroan will both be aiming to keep up their counties’ good record in the competition with nine of the 15 previous winners hailing from either Cork or Kilkenny. It was Kilkenny outfit Tullaroan who accounted for Antrim’s Naomh Éanna in the semi-final with nine-time Allstar Tommy Walsh driving them on. Fr O’Neill’s came through a tense semi-final with Tooreen and Mark O’Keeffe and Billy Dunne have failed in their bids to have their suspensions overturned from that game.

Odds: Fr O’Neill’s: 5/2 D: 9/1 Tullaroan: 4/11

Verdict: Tullaroan


All-Ireland Senior Hurling Club Championship final

Ballyhale Shamrocks v Borris-Ileigh

(Croke Park, 2pm)

BALLYHALE’S seven previous All-Ireland titles have traditionally come after tough semi-finals, so their battle with Slaughtneil should act as a good omen for Henry Shefflin’s men. Their last two successes have come after five-point semi-final wins but teams like Ballycastle and Newtownshandrum have really pushed them hard in previous successful campaigns. Borris-Ileigh recorded a superb semi-final win over St Thomas’ and they are looking to add to their previous All-Ireland win in 1987. The Tipperary club will look to county men Brendan Maher, Paddy Stapleton and Dan McCormack to drive them on.

Odds: Ballyhale Shamrocks: 3/10 D: 11/1 Borris-Ileigh: 3/1

Verdict: Ballyhale Shamrocks

All-Ireland Senior Football Club Championship final

Kilcoo v Corofin

(Croke Park, 4pm)

HISTORY will be made at Croke Park – unless it’s a draw after extra-time – as Galway outfit Corofin aim to become the first side to ever win three in-a-row in this competition while Down representatives Kilcoo are aiming for their first-ever title. Mickey Moran’s Magpies are underdogs but they hope to bring an intensity that Corofin have not faced all season. Corofin’s last two finals have been routine affairs but it’s unlikely to be a repeat again. However, they do have class all over the pitch and may just edge this after a bruising encounter.

Odds: Kilcoo: 10/3 D: 9/1 Corofin: 2/7

Verdict: Corofin

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