Not long ago, Ciarán McGowan wrote a piece for Ireland of Welcomes magazine about wonderful game of Hurling. Due to his incorrigible passion for game, he was somewhat nervous that he may have over exaggerated its virtues.

Following wonderful games over last two weekends, I am now concerned that I may have understated virtues of Hurling – but how can we write about these games and still do them justice?

Not since 1961 have Dublin Hurlers won a Leinster Hurling final. But convincing manner in which they beat both Kilkenny and Galway indicates their ambitions will not stop here – could they go all way? The simple answer is yes; they are now in a semi-final and if they can produce another performance on par with either of those we have seen in last two weeks then who could back against them.

And what about Limerick Hurlers who beat Cork yesterday to win their first Munster Hurling title in 17 years?  Who would have predicted that Limerick and Dublin would make it to semi-final places, leaving Cork, Kilkenny, Clare and Galway playing out quarter final stages? But it’s not just results that matter; it’s manner of performances. It’s passion, fire, courage and desire that is rarely witnessed in modern sports – and these guys are amateurs!!!  The combinations of Dublin’s win over Galway, Limerick’s win over Cork, Kilkenny’s extra time thriller against Waterford provide sufficient evidence (if it were needed) to support statement that Hurling is greatest game in world.

Ok, I’ve got that out my system so let’s move on by congratulating Dublin footballers on a good win (good but not great) over Meath on Sunday and a similar comment could also be made about Kerry’s victory over Cork previous Sunday to claim Munster Football title.

Next weekend’s action will decide Connaught football title with London (yes London, it’s a sign of recessionary times - our young men are emigrating again) playing Mayo. And in Ulster, All Ireland Champions Donegal are out to defend their Ulster title against Monaghan – could this be a shock? When a team is at top as Donegal are, they get noticed. They are studied and plans are hatched to expose their weaknesses – Down nearly succeeded earlier in year and Monaghan might just have  a cunning plan this weekend, they’re cute those Monaghan boys. Football is centre stage this weekend four more games in qualifier stages scheduled; fixtures below.

GAA fixtures this weekend

Football:

Saturday 20th July

Galway                 v              Armagh (19:00)                 Prediction – Armagh

Kildare                  v              Tyrone (19:00)                   Prediction – Tyrone

Derry                     v              Cavan (19:00)                     Prediction – Derry

Wexford              v              Laois (19:00)                       Prediction – Wexford

Sunday 21st July

Mayo                     v              London (14:00)                  Prediction – Mayo

Donegal               v              Monaghan (16:00)           Prediction –Monaghan 

Dublin's John McCaffrey leads his team onto pitch to claim victory. INPHO/Ryan Byrne