Davy Fitzgerald still sidelined as Wexford bid to topple Kilkenny
Leinster SHC semi-final
Wexford v Kilkenny (7pm, Wexford Park, Sky Sports 3)
HENRY Shefflin suggested during the week that a lot of people will fancy Wexford to dump Kilkenny out of the Leinster Championship, but he may have been over-playing the possibility of a shock. Wexford will have taken confidence from their League quarter-final win over the Cats, although Davy Fitzgerald is still serving a sideline ban. They didn’t miss him on the line against Laois though as they recorded an impressive 14-point win. Fitzgerald’s counterpart Brian Cody is sweating on the fitness of Pádraig Walsh, Michael Fennelly, and Ger Aylward.
Odds: Wexford: 3/1 D: 10/1 Kilkenny: 1/3
Munster SFC semi-final
Cork v Tipperary (5pm, Pairc Ui Rinn, RTE1)
CORK’S faces were nearly redder than their jerseys after they escaped with a one-point win over Waterford two weeks ago. Peadar Healy’s side will be under massive scrutiny this evening, although Tipp’ won’t be as defensive as Waterford were. The Premier county will be on a high after their promotion from Division Three and in Michael Quinlivan they have one of the country’s top forwards. Liam Kearns will be without goalkeeper Evan Comerford as he is in the midst of a 12-week ban. Ciaran Kenrick replaces him in goals.
Odds: Cork: 4/7 D: 8/1 A: 15/8
Christy Ring Cup final
Antrim v Carlow (5pm, Croke park, TG4.ie)
FOUR points have separated these teams after three games this year, and that has included a draw in one and extra-time in another. In short, this looks almost certain to be decided in the final moments. The Saffrons have brought Arron Graffin and Paul Shiels into their team while Colm Bonnar has introduced Diarmuid Byrne, James Doyle and Eddie Byrne. Antrim could remain unbeaten against Carlow this year, taking the trophy in the process.
Odds: Antrim: 8/11 D: 8/1 Carlow: 11/8
Nicky Rackard Cup final
Armagh v Derry (3pm, Croke Park, TG4.ie)
ARMAGH have lost the last two finals, but they will need to be at their absolute best to avoid a hat-trick of defeats. Derry have brought Chrissy McKaigue and Brendan Rogers into their starting team while their bench features quality players like Ruairi Convery, Kevin Hinphey and Paddy Henry – that depth should prove crucial.
Odds: Armagh: 11/4 D: 10/1 Derry: 1/3
Lory Meagher Cup final
Leitrim v Warwickshire (1pm, Croke Park, TG4.ie)
WARWICKSHIRE looked head and shoulders above every other team in the group stages, and they are favourites to add to their 2013 success. Former Antrim forward Liam Watson has hit 9-53 for the side this year and manager Tony Joyce, originally from Belfast, will hope his county colleague is on form. This is Leitrim’s first Meagher final appearance and it’s likely to end in heartache.
Odds: Leitrim: 7/2 D: 12/1 Warwickshire: 2/9
Connacht SFC semi-final
Galway v Mayo (4pm, Pearse Stadium, live on RTÉ2)
LAST July’s Connacht final defeat may have stung Mayo but it didn’t derail them and simply proved as a reminder of how meaningless provincial defeats can be to the top bracket. Galway strive to make up further ground on the elite and have been massively improved under Kevin Walsh, winning promotion back to Division One for next year. Conor O’Shea is out injured for Mayo and is replaced by Jason Doherty, with Aidan O’Shea still among the subs as his brother Seamus continues at midfield with Tom Parsons.
Odds: Galway: 15/8 D: 8/1 Mayo: 4/7
Leinster SFC quarter-final
Offaly v Westmeath (3pm, O’Connor Park)
A SINGLE point separated them in Mullingar last summer and there still appears to be little to separate the midland rivals. John Heslin’s continued good form helped guide Westmeath to the Division Four title after an unbeaten campaign but it was a level they should never have found themselves at in the first place. Offaly endured a torrid night in Armagh where they conceded 6-22 but stabilised to stay in Division Three. Westmeath have more in attack.
Odds: Offaly 7/4 D: 8/1 Westmeath: 8/13
Munster SFC semi-final
Clare v Kerry (3.30pm, Cusack Park)
AFTER all the off-field distractions that have enveloped the Kerry camp over the past fortnight, Eamonn Fitzmaurice will never have been as glad of 70 minutes’ football to bring a bit of focus back to the real business. Clare reached an All-Ireland quarter-final last year but the road was ended in an 11-point loss to the Kingdom, who’d earlier beaten them in Munster by 12. Colm Collins’s side had to squeeze past Limerick in the quarter-final, though it wasn’t quite as close as the one-point margin suggests.
Odds: Clare 9/1 D: 16/1 Kerry: 1/14
Ulster SFC quarter-final
Cavan v Monaghan (2pm, Kingspan Breffni, live on RTÉ2 and BBC2 NI)
WHEN they met in the League there was nothing to separate them in a 0-7 apiece draw and the history of this clash is one of close encounters. There’s been an average of just over two points separating them in their last nine Championship meetings but only one has ended in a draw.
Odds: Cavan: 21/10 D: 7/1 Monaghan 8/15