In association with Electric Ireland
Focus shifts to the battlegrounds of Tuam, Semple Stadium and Pairc Tailteann this weekend as the Electric Ireland GAA Hurling and Football Championships continue to heat up.
First up is a titanic tussle between Galway and Mayo minors in the Connacht Final on Friday night.
Kilkenny will take on Clare in the All-Ireland minor hurling quarter-final in Thurles, while Dublin take on Kildare in the Leinster minor football final in Navan.
The Connacht and Leinster Minor Football Final will be live-streamed on the Electric Ireland website, which you can access here.
We preview all three games below.
What: Electric Ireland Minor Connacht Football Final
Who: Galway v Mayo
When: Friday @ 19:30
A massive weekend is in store for the sporting rivals of Galway and Mayo, with the two counties set to battle it out three times in quick succession in the form of the minors, ladies and senior sides going head-to-head on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, respectively.
With both sides having qualified for the All Ireland series, it would be foolish to think either team will take the foot off the pedal as they battle to be crowned Electric Ireland Connacht Minor Football Champions. Galway have already struck first blood in this year’s championship, beating Friday’s opponents earlier in the campaign. However, Galway will need to be wary of Mayo’s Paul Walsh, a scintillating sharpshooter that stuck 4-1, including a bicycle kick, last weekend. His performance earned him the accolade of Electric Ireland Minor Footballer of the Week. A lot of Galway’s pre-match preparation will undoubtedly centre around keeping Walsh at bay.
The Galway rearguard will be kept on their toes, and if they can keep the explosive Paul Walsh at bay, they should have enough to overcome an improving Mayo side. Galway dismantled Leitrim 5-25 to 1-4 last time out but can expect a tougher test on Friday, albeit one they should still pass.
What: Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Hurling Quarter-Final
Who: Kilkenny v Clare
Where: Semple Stadium, Thurles
When: Saturday @ 15:00
Kilkenny will be hoping for a better result this weekend after falling short against Wexford in Croke Park on Sunday. The Cats lost by four points to Wexford, who secured their first Leinster Minor Championship in 34 years, in a thrilling game at GAA HQ. Kilkenny could do little to prevent the prodigious AJ Redmond, who scored 1-11 on the day and ended the Cats’ impressive run this year.
The Cats had been unbeaten in the round-robin stages. They began their campaign with a 0-15 to 2-8 win over the Dubs in Parnell Park before recording a one-point victory over foes Wexford in a brilliant encounter. A five-goal victory over Offaly followed. Kilkenny then recorded a comfortable victory over Kildare (2-20 to 0-15) before falling short against Wexford in last Sunday’s final.
They have a chance to get to winning ways against Clare this weekend and will come up against a familiar face. Jimmy Maher is a Kilkenny-native from Freshford who coaches Clare. He will be hoping for a happy reunion against his compatriots, who will be looking for big games from forwards Billy Drennan, Jack Doyle and Timmy Clifford.
Clare will also hope to bounce back after defeat in the Munster final last weekend after Maher’s men lost 1-17 to 1-11 at the Gaelic Grounds to Limerick. They had gone toe-to-toe with Limerick in the group table, only missing out on finishing top due to scoring difference. Before that, the Banner County beat Waterford, Tipperary and Cork. Clare will be hoping for telling impacts from players such as Conner Hegarty, Diarmaid Cahill and Keith Smyth.
What: Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Football Final
Who: Dublin v Kildare
Where: Pairc Tailteann, Navan
When: Saturday @ 14:00
Dublin’s minor Gaelic footballers reached the Leinster final thanks to a convincing 0-18 to 1-11 victory over Westmeath in Mullingar last time out. The Dubs were five points behind in that game after 36-minutes, with Ben McGauran netting a goal for the Lake County.
However, Dublin rallied to set up this Saturday’s provincial decider in Navan. Alex Rogers registered the first and last scores of the game, while off the bench Fionn Murray, Luke Murphy-Guinane and Senan Forker recorded important scores.
Kildare secured their place in the final with victory over Laois in a hard-fought semi-final. The Lilywhites won 0-12 to 1-6 but may feel they could have put more scores on the board after kicking eight first-half wides. To get past the Dubs, Kildare will need Eoin Bagnall on form once again. Bagnall scored points against Laois, with Aaron Browne and Shane Flynn also chipping in. The Lillywhites last lifted the Leinster Minor Football Championship in 2016. While Dublin won the last of their 33 titles in 2017.
Brought to you by Electric Ireland
Minor players are embarking on their adult lives. They have hopes, dreams, pressures, distractions and ambitions, but for this one moment in time, the Electric Ireland Minor Championships is the major thing in their lives.
Follow the conversation at #GAAThisIsMajor or be a part of the action; watch a selection of the GAA Minor Hurling & Football matches live, join in the pre-game ritual of the Championship Haircut at the provincial finals or vote for your Minor Player of the week, with all nominated players in with a chance of making the Electric Ireland Minor Team of the Year 2019.
Find all information on https://www.electricireland.ie/gaa-minor-championships.