Mayo goalkeeper Aisling Tarpey makes a save from Eimear Scally of Cork during the TG4 All-Ireland Quarter-Final match between Cork and Mayo at Cusack Park in Ennis, last weekend. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Calm before the storm

It’s a somewhat strange weekend coming up with the focus clearly on the All-Ireland Hurling Final, but just a week out from the start of the county football championships and then it will be action packed from here to the conclusion.

All-Ireland Hurling Final

The expectation is that Limerick will complete the 3 in a row, but it would be foolish in the extreme to write off Kilkenny especially with Brian Cody directing operations from the sideline.

The sides last met in the championship semi-final of 2019 in which Kilkenny won, although there was controversy at the end when Limerick were denied a clear 65 which could have forced extra-time if it had been scored.

John Kiely has said Limerick are in a good place and really looking forward to Sunday, while Cody is just delighted to be in the final and is confident that if they perform they can win.

It’s a big day for Colm Lyons as he takes charge of his very first senior final, but he has refereed at the highest level, officiating at many big game at both club and county level.

The Nemo Rangers man has a very experienced team with him and they will be, like Colm really looking forward to Sunday, the biggest day in hurling.

Special mention to John Barry who has rendered many years of service as an umpire to a number referees over the years. Best of luck to Colm and his team, enjoy and savour the occasion.

Ladies Football

There was huge disappointment for Cork in Ennis last Saturday as they lost out to Mayo by 2 points in the All-Ireland quarter-final, and with results elsewhere producing a few surprises, manager Shane Roynane will have seen it as a lost opportunity to possibly make the final.

Many thanks to all for their co-operation during the season, focus now switches to the upcoming club championships, and after that Shane and his management team will turn their attention to next season, where he hopes the majority of the panel will still be available, even if some are maybe considering their options after long and distinguished careers at this level.


There’s a very unfortunate fixtures clash coming up on Saturday week 23 July, with both Cork teams in semi-final action in the Glen Dimplex All-Ireland championships, similarly for Galway.

Nowlan Park in Kilkenny is the venue for the Intermediate semi-finals, Cork and Galway joined by quarter-final winners Meath and Derry both of whom Cork played in the group phase.

Cork beat Meath but lost to Derry narrowly in Owenbeg, but did beat the girls from the Oakleaf County in the league.

I fail to understand why the draw did not take place last weekend to give counties time to prepare, 2pm and 4pm are the respective throw-in times.

The expectation is that the draw will be held along with the senior draw in Thurles on Saturday after the quarter-finals. The pairings here are Kilkenny v Dublin and Limerick v Waterford.

Kilkenny and Waterford are favoured to win and if that happens it will be Cork v Kilkenny in the semi-final.

These games will be played in Croke Park, with 3.15pm and 5.30pm starts.

Cork will be without Orla Cronin who has opted out of the panel and unless Ashling Thompson’s red-card is overturned - unlikely I believe - this will lessen the options available to Matthew Twomey and his selectors, more on this game next week.

County Junior B Finals

There’s a double-header in Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday which for the four participating clubs represents a huge and special afternoon.

It gets underway at 3pm with the hurling decider. It’s Freemount v Randal Og and having lost the C football final to Ballyphehane last Saturday, the Duhallow club will be keen to avoid another final loss.

At 5pm in the football it’s Diarmuid O’Mathuna’s v Fr O’Neill’s where the latter’s big match experience might get them over the line.

County football championships

With the camogie semi-finals next weekend and a host of important games in all grades of the football championships, let’s take a quick look at the first round pairings in Intermediate and Premier Intermediate.

The Premier Intermediate grade is always ultra competitive and this year’s campaign should be no different and getting a win in opening game is crucial.

Macroom and Rockchapel get proceedings underway on Friday 22 in Mallow, and this should be lively. The Duhallow side lost the league semi-final to Aghada, while Macroom have made the final of the Tom Creedon Cup - close one but Macroom to shade it.

On Saturday in Millstreet it’s Kanturk v Naomh Aban. They were in the same group last year, Kanturk won and should do so again, while Agahada will be favoured to beat Bantry Blues, although Ruairi Deane is in great form. They meet in Oven’s with a 4pm start in these games.

Another repeat pairing from last year sees Na Piarsaigh meeting Castletownbere in Aughaville, also at 4pm - Na Piarsaigh might win this one.

On Sunday at 7pm it’s Cill Na Martra v Nemo Rangers in Cloughduv and St Vincent’s v Iveleary (venue TBC) - a Mid-Cork double looks likely.

In the Intermediate Championship, it actually gets underway on Thursday in Glenville with the meeting of St Nick’s and Glanworth. Nick’s have had a few tough years and will be keen to get off to a winning start.

There are two games on Friday; Glenville will be fancied to beat Kildorrery in Kilavullen, while there will be very little between Dromtrariffe and Aghabullogue in Donoughmore.

Kilshannig if they have a fit Killian O’Hanlon will be expected to get the better of Ballydesmond in Banteer on Saturday, and on Sunday Boherbue meet Glanmire in Glantane, the latter to prevail in this one.

There are three games at 7pm, Gabriel Rangers should be too strong for Adrigole, Kealkil the venue for this game, in Ballyclough, Mitchelstown will be favoured to collect the points when they meet Millstreet, and depending on the calls of their senior team, St Finbarr’s might have too much for Ballinora in Ballicollig.

Next week there will be a preview of the other three grades in the football championships as the senior champions begin the defence of their title.