1 p.m.: Anne Kearney Cup Final, Na Fianna vs. Kerry/Donegal
This Ladies competition is for home based players and is the first final meeting in what eventually may become a common thread this summer. These two clubs are side by side with title aspirations.
Both have overtaken Cavan as the premier clubs this season, and this may be the game of the day. K/D have a two pronged attack in Sue Bennett and Denise Dunnion. The defensive play of Siobhan Neville, Una Burke and Aoife Gibson has been exceptional.
Na Fianna has a potent attack as well. Molly O’Rourke, Joanne McKenna, and Mary O’Rourke are devastating when given any room. Ashley Leydon is a fantastic keeper with Captain Fantastic JoMo, Joanne Monahan, perched at number three. I
t promises to be a tight affair. K/D won 2-16 to 1-12 a couple of weeks ago but that will have little bearing as summer players were involved.
K/D to repeat the win but in a far closer game. A high scoring contest with two points in their favor at the end.
2:30 p.m.: SH New Jersey/Kilkenny vs. Tipperary.
Tipp had a loss against Offaly first time out and will look to rebound immediately. After Galway’s impressive performance last week, the senior hurling division is promising to be a very entertaining one this year.
Thomas O’Meara is a very exciting keeper and would probably be the starter if New York had a county team this year. Dave Loughnane is a very lively player and is a packet of exuberance.
Gary Donahue had a terrific battle with Rory Stafford in the last outing, while David Crimmins will be starting his first of two games today. He lines out with Cork afterwards. Up front look for Liam Costello and Kieran Bergin to be the one two scoring punch.
NJ/K are making their debut for the year, with Roy Henley, Thomas Maher and Gerry Hennelly on board for a shot at regaining the senior title they held three years ago. John Slattery and Maurice O’Sullivan will make it a difficult afternoon for Tipp.
It may not be enough however. Tipp to take the points.
On the subject of county teams, it would be fantastic if the hurlers in town had a chance to represent New York this summer. A home and home against Boston is very feasible, with the aggregate score deciding the winner. First and second Sundays or Saturdays in August for dates.
It would certainly be a just reward for the hard working players and officials behind hurling in New York.
4 p.m.: SF Cork vs. Cavan
Opposites collide in this contest, with Cork on a winning streak and Cavan on a losing one.
Cork did not impress against Donegal as they made hard work of the win. When they gel they are devastating but are not an out and out high scoring team. Defense across the field is very impressive, however.
Their strength is the middle of the field, with Alan Rafferty and a combo of Rory Stafford, Pat Mahoney or Colin Daly joining him. Mahoney went off injured last week, and the general consensus at the Mecca is if pain stops him playing it is most likely something the rest of us would be in hospital for.
On the Cavan side second to Mahoney is Garth Kelly. A horse going forward, he went down injured on Sunday but got back up and won the midfield exchanges the rest of the way. Cavan had impressive performances from Brian Naughton, Johnny Ryan and Tomo Smith also and could have had a result against Tyrone.
It doesn’t get easier in this one, but the side has a lot of desire.
5:30 p.m.: SF Tyrone vs. Kerry
When these sides met in the special league, Tyrone left it late but had a barrage of goals that saw them take the win. They again used goals to defeat Cavan last Sunday, and it is now their Master Card. It takes them everywhere they want to be.
Joe Bell, Gerard McCullough, Aiden Power and Sean Coyle are four of their starting defenders who love to come out of the defensive line and start fast breaks. The addition of Gary Reilly in the middle gives them a bona fide team carrier.
Johnny Murtagh has played in All-Ireland finals with Crossmaglen so Gaelic Park is a breeze. He has been their top scorer in the games he has played in.
They will meet a Kerry team set on revenge from the earlier defeat. Ahead easily, the Kingdom then was stunned by the goals. It is a changed team now, though.
The Magic Man is back in Stephen Kavanagh. Full forward for the Galway under-21s this year, he will slip into a full forward line that may include Shane Carty and Dermie Foley, a talented trio. Damien O’Reilly, who was a teammate of Kavanagh for Galway is at center half, while big Damien Meehan is a strong force in the center.
The Kingdom will not make the same mistake twice.
The bank hit with Cork last week, but got the score line wrong. Now at 115 All-Ireland tickets, we take Kerry in this one by three points for 20 and go with another 20 in a straight up contest of Kavanagh against Murtagh in the scoring. Kavanagh to take it.