Saturday, July 11

5 p.m.: John Joe McGovern Final Rangers vs. St. Barnabas

A novel pairing for the first junior silverware of the season. Both New York squads are here on merit and the game promises to be a lively and entertaining contest to open the weekend.

Rangers look like the top team in the division, with Cillian and Ronan Caffrey from Kilmacud Crokes, Gavin Beadle and Eoin Delaney from Raheney, and home-grown talent Sean Twomey, John Williams, forming the backbone of the side. Ronan has been in excellent form after his season began with a role in New York’s contest against Mayo; he scored a point that day off the bench. With Denis Twomey pulling the strings they will be favorites for this cup.

St. Barnabas has another New York scorer from that Mayo day, Thomas McGovern, on their books. A flying forward when on song, he is a handful when in full flight.

Joe Hallinan at full back is a safe pair of hands, while Ciaran Moyle’s, Brian Dennehy, Thomas Brady, and young star Shane Flanagan will give Rangers a full day at the office.

The bank is at 55 tickets after Kerry turned the form book upside down last week. My friend Donie said there should not have been any games on for the 4th weekend, and that would have saved me a bundle.

Here goes this week -- 30 tix on Rangers to regain a cup they had a couple of years ago, with five points to spare. 

Sunday, July 12

1 p.m.: IF Roscommon vs. Brooklyn/Long Island

Roscommon came back down to earth after the John Brady Cup win with a draw against Armagh last week.

The big news in town is Mike Frank Russell, the Kerry All-Ireland winner, is coming on board for their push to the championship. That would certainly be a lift of biblical proportions.

Liam O’Sullivan (Renard) and Liam Sheehan (St. Mary’s) are already on board from Kerry with Sully a terrific forward.   Lonan Maguire is very capable at number six, while Martin Slowey can fill any slot in the defense effectively.

B/LI will counter with Niall and Daniel Byrne from St. Dominic’s in Roscommon, with Enda Lally, Shane Toner, Paul McDaid and Damien O’Boyle looking to put a spanner in the works for the Rosses.

It may not be enough, however, as the Roscommon panel has improved each week and will be in no mood to let a pair of valuable points go astray.

Roscommon to prevail by four.

2:30 p.m.: SH New Jersey/Kilkenny vs. Offaly

Both sides had contrasting results first time out, with Offaly taking the points form Galway with eight to spare and Tipp giving NJ/K a lesson in shooting in their contest.

Offaly have a brilliant custodian in Aiden Ryan, a former Galway keeper -- few will get by the number one. Rory Stafford is a revelation in the half back line, a rock under the dropping ball.

Willie Walsh, Eunon McKillop, Brendan McGourty, and the hitman Shane Sweeney, who is again averaging over seven points a game, look set to push them to a county final appearance again. Enda Condron and Colin White are also filling very important roles for the side with White extremely dangerous if given a half chance.

NJ/K will want to forget their first outing. Finbarr Flood was black and blue afterwards and actually played very well under extreme pressure. Aiden Downes, Roy Henley, Thomas Maher, if available, and Declan Hogan will want to regroup and get back in a positive frame of mind.

It won’t get easier against the champions. Offaly to win going away.

4 p.m.: SF Cork vs. Tyrone

The contest of the afternoon. Both sides are undefeated in championship play.

Tyrone is improving as the year chugs along, and they are becoming a more complete outfit. Gerard McCullough, Joe Bell, Paul Mulherne and Aiden Power give them a settled and strong look at the back. Bosco. as Mulherne is known. was outstanding last time out versus Kerry.

Gary Reilly and Pakie McMullan from Killeshill in Tyrone are brilliant operators -- both can break games open. John Murtagh from Crossmaglen was devastating against Kerry, with 1-10 from frees and play. His clash with David Crimmins will be a stern test.

Cork were not overly impressive versus Cavan last time out. They seemed to relax early instead of blowing their opponents out of the water. Evan Byrne will keep the back line on their toes, while Sean Lordon is developing into a solid center half, with Denis McCarthy and Paddy Harrington tight marking corner men.

Stafford plays his second game of the afternoon, along side Alan Rafferty in the middle. Up front the onus of scoring will again fall on J.P. Boyle with help from Conor Hunter and Nicky Dineen.

It should be a very close and tough encounter, worth the price of admission alone. A draw is quite possible, but Cork should just shade it.