The AIB GAA senior football provincial championships get underway in Connacht and Ulster next Sunday with first round games in both provinces.
In Connacht, Leitrim champions, Glencar-Manorhamilton take on Tourlestrane (Sligo) in Carrick-on-Shannon (3.0) while in Ulster; Kingspan Breffni Park will host the preliminary round game between Cavan Gaels and Glenswilly (Donegal) at 3.30. It will be preceded by the Drumgoon (Cavan) v All Saints (Antrim) intermediate championship clash at 1.45.
Glencar-Manorhamilton recently won the Leitrim title for a fourth successive season, beating St.Mary’s by 0-10 to 0-6 in the county final. They will be hoping for better luck than they enjoyed in the previous three Connacht championships, having lost to St. Brigid’s, Roscommon (1-13 to 3-5) last year, to Corofin, Galway (2-13 to 0-9) in 2009 and to Eastern Harps, Sligo (1-15 to 1-5) in 2008.
Despite being without injured Sligo star, Tourlestrane beat Coolera-Strandhill in the Sligo final (1-12 to 0-8) in a game where Brian Egan scored 0-9 for the winners.
Tourlestrane last won the Sligo title in 2007 but after beating St. Mary’s (Leitrim) in the first round, they lost to St.Brigid’s (Roscommon) in the semi-final. Tourlestrane are this year bidding to become the first Sligo club to win the Connacht title since 1983 (St.Mary’s) while no Leitrim club has ever won the senior provincial title. The Glencar-Manorhamilton v Tourlestane winners will play reigning Connacht champions, St.Brigid’s in the semi-final on November 6.
St.Brigid’s retained the Roscommon title last Sunday when beating Elphin (1-9 to 0-7) in the final. A late goal by Damien Kelleher sealed victory for St.Brigid’s, thus keeping alive their ambitions of retaining the Connacht title and seeking to get back into the All-Ireland final, having lost this year’s decider to Crossmaglen Rangers.
Cavan Gaels were last in the Ulster championship in 2009 where they lost to St.Gall’s (Antrim) in extra-time in the first round. They regained the Cavan crown this year with an easy win over Castlerahan (4-11 to 0-7) in the final in a game where Martin Dunne (1-4), Seanie Johnston (1-3), Robert Maloney-Derham (1-1) and Kevin Meehan (1-0) scored 4-8 between them.
Glenswilly will be making club history by representing Donegal in the Ulster championship for the first time. They won their first county senior title when beating St.Michael’s (1-8 to 0-9) in the final on a day when county star, Michael Murphy scored 1-7.
AIB GAA CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP BRIEFS
*Antrim senior champions, Loughgiel are through to the Ulster final, having beaten Kevin Lynch’s (Derry) by 2-18 to 1-5 in the semi-final. Liam Watson scored 1-7 for the winners who will now attempt to retain the provincial crown when they play Ballycran in the final on Sunday week.
*Athy bridged a 24-year gap to win the Kildare SF title for the first time since 1987 when beating Carbury by 2-11 to 2-7 in the county final. James Eaton scored 1-4 for Athy who will play Edenderry (Offaly) in the first round of the Leinster championship on November 13.Edenderry won the Offaly title for the first time in a decade with a one-point win over Clara in the final.
*Latton won their third Monaghan SF title in six years when beating Scotstown by a point (1-6 to 0-8) in the county final on Sunday. Hugh McElroy scored 1-2 for Latton who will play the winners of the Cavan Gaels/Glenswilly first round tie in the Ulster quarter-final on October 30.
*Oulart-The Ballagh are back as Wexford SH champions for the third successive year after beating Rathnure by 1-10 to 0-11 in the final on Sunday. Managed by former Wexford star, Liam Dunne, Oulart will begin their Leinster campaign against the Kilkenny champions (Ballyhale Shamrocks or James Stephens) on October 30.
*Clough-Ballacolla won the Laois SH title for the second time in three years with a 1-10 to 0-11 over Portlaoise and will move straight to the Leinster semi-final where they will play Oulart-The Ballagh (Wexford) or the Kilkenny champions on November 13.
*Defending All-Ireland senior hurling champions, Clarinbridge had to stage a late rally to earn a draw against Mullagh in the Galway championship. However, Portumna, three-times All-Ireland winners since 2006 were eliminated from the Galway race, losing by a point to St.Thomas’s in the quarter-final.
*The Leinster junior hurling championship begins on Saturday with three fixtures as follows: Knockbridge (Louth) v Boardsmill (Meath); Carlow Town v Maynooth (Kildare); Naomh Barrog (Dublin) v St.Patrick’s (Wicklow).
AIB GAA CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS 2011/2012
(Dates subject to change)
October 16: Quarter-final: Glencar Manorhamilton (Leitrim) v Tourlestrane (Sligo).
November 6: Semi-finals: Mayo v Galway; St. Brigid’s (Roscommon) v Glencar Manorhamilton or Tourlestrane
November 20: Final
November 13: First round: Meath v Dublin; Laois v Louth; Athy (Kildare) v Edenderry (Offaly);
November 20: Quarter-finals: Meath/Dublin v Wexford; Laois/Louth v Wicklow; Athy/Edenderry v Carlow; Westmeath v Longford Slashers (Longford).
December 4: Semi-finals
December 18: Final
November 6: Quarter-finals: Waterford v Kerry; Cork v Limerick.
November 20: Semi-finals: Clare v Waterford/Kerry; Tipperary v Cork/Limerick.
December 4: Final
October 16: First round: Cavan Gaels (Cavan) v Glenswilly (Donegal).
October 30: Quarter-finals: Tyrone v Derry; St. Gall’s (Antrim) v Armagh; Roslea (Fermanagh) v Down; Cavan Gaels or Glenswilly v Latton (Monaghan).
November 13: Semi-finals
November 27: Final
October 30: Quarter-final: Kilkenny v Oulart-The Ballagh (Wexford)
November 6: Quarter-final: Westmeath v Dublin.
November 13: Semi-finals: Kilkenny/ Oulart The-Ballagh v Clough-Ballacolla (Laois); Westmeath/Dublin v Offaly.
November 27: Final
October 30: Quarter-final: Tipperary v Waterford.
November 13: Semi-finals: Na Piarsaigh (Limerick) v Tipperary/Waterford; Carrigtwohill (Cork) v Clare.
November 27: Final
October 9: Semi-final: Loughgiel (Antrim) 2-18 Kevin Lynch’s (Derry) 1-5.
October 23: Final: Ballycran (Down) v Loughgiel.