All Ireland Football Quarter finals the runners and riders.

July 28, 2010

By Paul Walsh

We have reached the stage of the season were the serious business begins. The four provincial winners meet four battle-hardened teams that have emerged from the qualifiers.

On Saturday, the champions Kerry will continue the defence of their crown against Down at 2pm. Kerry will enter in as heavy favorites for this clash. Their team is packed with genuine stars and in “The Gooch” and Kieran Donaghy they have two of the most gifted attackers in GAA.

Down crushed Sligo in their last match but were far from impressive in their previous outing against Offaly. Benny Coulter the star man for Down limped of with 10 minutes remaining in the Sligo match. For Down to have any chance, Coulter must be fit.

Kerry have dangerous and effective players all over the park and this factor will give them the edge. My prediction is Kerry by at least 4.

That match will be followed by a mouth-watering clash between Dublin and Tyrone at 4pm. These teams have been involved in some classic matches in recent history. They met at the same stage in 2008 when Tyrone beat Dublin comprehensively and gave them a footballing lesson.

Well they say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery and Gilroy’s attempt to mould Dublin as a defensive counter attacking team is clearly an attempt to ape Tyrone’s style. Dublin have improved throughout the qualifiers but Tyrone showed in the Ulster final that they are serious All Ireland contenders.

Mickey Harte and Tyrone have been on the road a long time and I expect to see this experience defeat a developing Dublin side with a little to spare. I expect to see a Tyrone victory but also Dublin to make a battle out of it before losing by at least three points. I think most Dublin fans will be happy if we avoid the humiliation of the last two years and restore some pride.

Connacht champions Roscommon will face Cork at 2pm on Sunday, with Meath’s match against Kildare throwing-in at 4pm.

Roscommon caused the shock of the All Ireland so far when defeating Sligo to claim the Connaught title. Sligo’s subsequent heavy defeat to Down has cast a shadow over the quality of the Connaught championship this year.

Cork are among the three contenders for the All Ireland along with Tyrone and Kerry. They laboured through their victory over Limerick but I expect that shock to the system to inspire them on Sunday. Cork are a class above Roscommon and I fear that the Westerners may be in for a torrid time. I would expect Cork to win by a margin of 6 points or more.

Meath V Kildare is probably the closest game to call. Meath are not as good as the margin of victory against Dublin in the Leinster championship would suggest. Their “win” against Louth was underserved and all the negative publicity surrounding their team will either get to them or fire them up.

Kildare after their disastrous loss to Louth have impressed as they comfortably negotiated their way through the qualifiers. This is their third year in a row in the All Ireland Quarter Finals and I expect them to progress further this year. Dermot Earley should dominate a weak Meath midfield and this could be the platform for a narrow Kildare victory.

All matches will be held in Croke Park:

Saturday:

Kerry v Down – 2pm
Dublin v Tyrone – 4pm

Sunday:

Roscommon v Cork – 2pm
Meath v Kildare – 4pm

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Dublin 1-21 V Tipperary 1-13

July 13, 2010

It was a good start to the day with Dublin dispatching Clare in such a comprehensive manner in the first game of Saturday’s double-header. Dublin won in the end by 13 points and the impressive Liam Rushe, Alan McCrabbe and Dotsy O’Callaghan give hope that Dublin my progress to an All Ireland semi final this year.

The crowd was sparse for the hurling match but there was an expectation that some more fans would arrive for the football. This arrival of fans did not materialise and I had the strange sensation of having space to breath on the hill. The attendance of 22,000 can be put down to the weather, Oxygen and a general disillusionment with the Gilroy/Whelan management team.

Dublin were poor in the first half but still managed to go 7 points ahead with Bernard Brogan scoring a number of frees and Michael MacAuley fisting home a goal after good work from Eoghan O’Gara. A slip from Rory O’Carroll allowed his man Barry Grogan escape and collect the ball before rounding Cluxton to score as easy a goal as you are likely to see. This goal brought Tipp back in to the game and had the Dublin fans on the hill fearing the worse. 

The second half saw a much-improved performance with the Brogan’s contributing scores and influencing the game to a greater extent. Dublin ran out winners by 8 points in what was a far from vintage performance but enough to see us through to the next round of qualifiers to face our old foes Armagh.

There were positives to take from the game. The Brogans played well with Alan in particular returning to some sort of form. The caveat is that this was Tipperary we were playing and the Armagh defence will be a different prospect altogether next Saturday. Eoghan O’Gara looked good in his first start. He is direct and strong and set up our only goal. He offers Dublin something different and is sure to start against Armagh.

The frailties are still there for all to see in the full back line. There is no doubt that Rory O’Carroll is a good footballer but he is still short of experience at the top level. It seems that Gilroy has little choice but to preserver with this full back line and hope they cement in to a cogent unit.

The halfbacks played well enough with David Henry’s return having a stabilising effect. In midfield, MacAuley was impressive but McConnell again was disappointing. One wonders how long dumb and dumber will keep picking a player who is clearly not comfortable in the position.

Gilroy needs to make two changes to the team to give us the best possible chance on Saturday. Eamon Fennell in for Ross McConnell in midfield to give us ball winning potential and in the half forwards, Bryan Cullen should come in for Niall Corkery. Corkery has not contributed anything in any championship game this season. Cullen showed in his cameo against Tipperary that half forward could be a position he could do some damage in.

Even if Gilroy puts out his best team, which I doubt he will, I am still pessimistic about our chances against Armagh. I expect Armagh to grind out a result although I don’t see us getting a thumping. Stephen McDonnell Armagh’s full forward with three all stars and one All Ireland medal in his back pocket will relish terrifying our shaky full back line. This may well make the difference. I expect to see the hurlers comfortably beat Antrim and be our sole representatives for the remainder of the All Ireland series come 6.30 pm on Saturday.

NHL Div 1: Dublin 1-21 1-12 Tipperary

February 28, 2010

Alan McCrabbe shook of his injury picked up last week to hit nine points as Dublin claimed the scalp of last year’s All-Ireland runners-up Tipperary at Parnell Park. Considering the heavy defeat Dublin suffered last week this will be a significant boost to their confidence.

Tipperary captain Eoin Kelly cracked home a first minute penalty but the visitors were 1-12 to 1-07 behind at half-time.

Dublin looked impressive throughout the game  and they were not flattered by the eventual size of their victory.

Championship draw-2010

October 24, 2009

The 2009 All Ireland season is barely over but already its time for the draw for next year.  So how did the Dubs fare? In the football we have drawn Wexford in the Leinster Quarter Final’s. If Dublin win this game they will face the winner of Meath and Offaly in the Semi Final.  Kildare are on the other side of the draw and a mouth-watering rematch of 2009’s Leinster Final is on the cards. My prediction for what it is worth is that Dublin will reach the Leinster final against Kildare and attempt to win a sixth title in a row. It’s a title Dublin are far from certain to win. I expect that Kildare will improve again this year and will have a settled team which will be a big advantage. Dublin on the other hand have to try and recover from the mauling by Kerry in this years All Ireland Quarter Final. They have a manager and squad with a number of question marks over them. 2010 is not a year I expect to see Dublin have their name engraved on the side of the Sam Maguire.

After the hurlers creditable performance in this years All Ireland they have been handed a tough draw for 2010. Dublin will meet Brian Cody’s five-in-a-row chasing Cats if they can overcome the winners of the Preliminary Round clash between Carlow and Laois. Under Anthony Daly Dublin hurling is really starting to progress. I dont expect them to beat Kilkenny in the Leinster semi-final but they will put up another creditable performance. Dublin will be a team no-one wants to meet in the qualifiers. To continue the progress of 2009 I am sure Anthony Daly is aiming for an All Ireland semi-final place.

Introduction

October 24, 2009

Hill16 pictureThis Blog chart’s my experiences following the Dublin football team on its quest for Sam Maguire. The summer odyssey for a Dublin fan is full of highs and lows. We come to the first championship game full of expectation. After the first win the hype builds. Talk begins in the pubs and the workplaces. As the Dublin hype machine slips into fifth gear we cancel all weddings, parties, holidays and life saving operations in the month of September. We need to keep All Ireland weekend free for our glorious return to the pinnacle of inter county football. Then it happens, our spirits plummet faster then an Irish bank’s share price in a recession. We lose to Kerry in the semi final. For Kerry you can substitute Tyrone or Mayo or any decent team and for semi final you can substitute quarter final. You know the script we lose and the other 31 counties in Ireland laugh.

It’s a long time since 1995 and the pain gets harder to take every year. So I want to capture what it’s like following the Dubs on an All Ireland run. The craic of matchday, the atmosphere of the hill and the passion of the fans. I want to reach out to my country cousins and ask why cant we all get along? What would you all do if you didn’t have the Dubs to hate?

Hello world!

October 24, 2009

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