AND then there were six. The race for All-Ireland club glory in the senior, intermediate and junior grades has reached the semi-final stage.
All six ties are down for decision over the weekend, beginning on Saturday with the clash of Emmet Óg (Monaghan) and Edinburgh-based visitors Dunedin Connollys in the Intermediate last-four tie.
That game will have a 1pm start at Aghabog GFC and is followed on Sunday by five semi-finals across a bumper afternoon.
In the senior championship, it’s boiled down to a former champion and three clubs looking to get their hands on the Dolores Tyrrell Memorial Cup for the very first time.
Donaghmoyne from Monaghan, the five-time winners, travel to Bray Emmets for a clash with Dublin and Leinster champions Foxrock-Cabinteely, while Galway and Connacht standard-bearers Kilkerrin-Clonberne, who knocked out 2017 All-Ireland champions Carnacon, host Cork outfit Mourneabbey.
Galway’s St Brendan’s and Dublin’s Clontarf will battle it out for the right to play Emmet Óg or Dunedin Connollys in the Intermediate decider, while Trillick (Tyrone) host Glanmire (Cork) and Old Leighlin (Carlow) welcome Sligo’s Tourlestrane in the junior semi-finals.
17th November 2018
All Ireland Intermediate Club Championship Semi Final – Result on the Day (Rule 421)
Emmet Óg (Monaghan) (H) v Dunedin Connollys (Scotland); Aghabog Emmets, 1pm
The weekend’s action gets underway on Saturday when Emmet Óg of Monaghan, the reigning Ulster Intermediate champions, welcome Dunedin Connollys from Edinburgh to Aghabog.
No Ulster team has won the Intermediate All-Ireland title since Fermanagh’s Lisnaskea in 2011, with Armagh’s Shane O’Neills in 2016 the last club from the province to reach the grade’s decider.
Dunedin contested a junior decider in 2013 and would love to reach the Intermediate Final.
In a real quirk of fate, Dunedin Connollys knocked out Kerry’s Na Gaeil at the quarter-final stage, the club who beat them in that junior final five years ago.
Dunedin are a force to be reckoned with, as Donegal’s 2010 All-Ireland Intermediate medallist Karen Feeney captains a team that also contains highly-rated Wicklow native Caoilfhionn Deeney.
Monaghan star Ellen McCarron will lead the Emmet Óg attack from centre-forward – and is a force to be reckoned with.
Emmet Óg: D Morgan; R Hughes; A McQuaid, K Monaghan; N Rooney, C McBride, M Monaghan; M McCarville, E Daly; E Leonard, E McCarron, O Reilly; F Monaghan, B Tierney, G McCluskey.
Dunedin Connollys: S Loftus; E Hutson, S McEvoy, A Rogerson; K Reidy, J McCormick, E Kelly; R Heeney, M Crowley; K Feeney, S O’Sullivan, M Harper; A.M. Leen, C Deeney, M Vaughan.
18th November 2018
All Ireland Senior Club Championship Semi Finals – ET if Necessary
Kilkerrin/Clonberne (Galway) (H) v Mourneabbey (Cork); Clonberne Sports Field, 2pm
The meeting of Kilkerrin-Clonberne and Mourneabbey will revive memories of the 2015 All-Ireland semi-final meeting between the sides.
Three years ago, Mourneabbey claimed a one-point victory on Cork soil but now it’s the turn of Carnacon’s conquerors Kilkerrin-Clonberne to have home comforts.
Both sides are littered with inter-county players from Cork and Galway, with a heady mix of established and rising young stars.
For example, Kilkerrin-Clonberne’s Noone sisters Hannah and Lynsey have enjoyed phenomenal seasons already.
Lynsey captained the Galway Minor A side in their final victory over Cork, and claimed the player of the match award, while sister Hannah skippered the U16 A side that won the All-Ireland final against Kerry.
Annette Clarke captained Galway to TG4 All-Ireland Senior glory in 2004 while the Divilly and Ward sisters are established current Galway seniors.
Nicola Ward is named to start but she’s considered extremely doubtful with a knee injury, with Louise listed at centre forward.
Mourneabbey have suffered final heartbreak in 2014, 2015 and 2017, and are desperate to get over the line.
They’re managed by Tipperary boss, Shane Ronayne, and there’s class right through their ranks, with the O’Sullivan sisters, Ciara and Doireann, leading a potent attack.
Both of the senior semi-finals could turn out to be classic ties and a big crowd at the Clonberne Sports Field will feed into a memorable atmosphere.
Kilkerrin/Clonberne: L Murphy; A Costello, S Gormally, C Costello; S Fahy, L Gannon, H Noone; S Divilly, C Miskell; L Noone, L Ward, O Divilly; N Ward, A Clarke, A Morrissey.
Mourneabbey: M O’Sullivan; E Meaney, C.A. Stack, A O’Sullivan; S Conroy, R O’Sullivan, K Coakley; M O’Callaghan, B O’Sullivan; E Harrington, C O’Sullivan, N O’Sullivan; E Jack, L Fitzgerald, D O’Sullivan.
Foxrock Cabinteely (Dublin) (H) v Donaghmoyne (Monaghan); Bray Emmets, 1pm
Donaghmoyne, the five-time All-Ireland Senior Club winners, make the trip to Bray Emmets, where they’ll face off against Dublin and Leinster champions Foxrock-Cabinteely.
Donaghmoyne are the only one of the four semi-finalists who know what it’s like to go all the way and lift the senior title – which should count for something.
The Monaghan stars know what it’s like to defeat Fox-Cab too – having claimed victories in the 2016 final, and the 2015 semi-final.
Cathriona McConnell was on fire for Donaghmoyne as they captured an 11th Ulster senior club title in 15 years, scoring victory over Donegal’s Glenfin.
Donaghmoyne were stunned by Tyrone’s St Macartans in last year’s provincial decider but have bounced back with renewed vigour.
There’s vast experience coursing through their ranks, including the Courtney sisters, Sharon and Cora, and they’ll prove a tough nut to crack.
But Fox-Cab are a tight unit themselves and comparing the recent Leinster final team to the 2016 All-Ireland Final, there are nine survivors.
Sinead Goldrick, Niamh Collins, Amy Connolly, Hannah O’Neill, Emma McDonagh and Tarah O’Sullivan are all TG4 All-Ireland Senior championship winners with Dublin – and have brought that winning feeling back to club level.
Both sides have been impressive en route to the All-Ireland semi-finals but only one can progress from what promises to be a rip-roaring contest.
Foxrock-Cabinteely: A Tarpey; A Murray, S Quinn, E McDonagh; S Goldrick, N Collins, L Fusciardi; T O’Sullivan, C Ní Mhurchadh; L Nerney, A Connolly, F Claffey; H O’Neill, C O’Riordan, A Ring.
Donaghmoyne: L Martin; J Geoghegan, F Courtney, L Garland; H Kingham, S Courtney, J Courtney; N Callan, R Courtney; A Garland, L Kerley, A McElroy; C McConnell, C Courtney, S McConnell.
All Ireland Intermediate Club Championship Semi Final – ET if Necessary
St Brendans, Ballygar (Galway) (H) v Clontarf (Dublin); Duggan Park, Ballinasloe, 1pm
Clontarf make the trip from the capital to take on Galway outfit St Brendans in an attractive All-Ireland Intermediate semi-final.
Clontarf finally landed the county crown after losing three previous finals, and their victory over Cuala in the Dublin decider was a landmark breakthrough.
Clontarf kicked on from there to capture the Leinster title and now they stand just an hour away from a possible All-Ireland Final appearance.
Former international soccer star Siobhan Killeen is a forward to watch out for in the Clontarf ranks and Clontarf also have former Irish Women’s Rugby team captain Fiona Coghlan on the bench.
Hosts St Brendans can call up on the experienced Rebecca McPhilibin at the heart of their defence and the Galway girls showed ominous form in the Connacht championship.
Both teams boast lovely blends of youth and experience and considering that the intermediate grade produced a classic All-Ireland Final in 2017, when Dunboyne edged a pulsating tie with Kinsale, this could be another cracking fixture in the grade.
St Brendans: Sinead Kelly; Sarah Kelly, M Mitchell, N Fahy; L Farrell, R McPhilibin, N Lohan; L Mulrooney, N Ward; L Walsh, E Muldoon, L Booth; S Langan, R Conway, M Delaney.
Clontarf: C O’Connor; H Bolger, K Murray, E Plunkett; H McLaughlin, G Reilly, B Walsh; S Fagan, N Hetherton; S Murphy, T Fitzgibbon, F Skelly; S Killeen,
All Ireland Junior Club championship – Semi Finals – ET if Necessary
Trillick (Tyrone) (H) v Glanmire (Cork); Trillick St Macartan’s, Gargadis Rd., 1pm
Trillick skipper Cathy Donnelly is getting married on November 30 and somehow managing to juggle those commitments with an All-Ireland assault!
The Tyrone and Ulster champions meet Cork’s Glanmire in Sunday’s semi-final, with home advantage a potential match-winner for Trillick.
Emma Brennan was a star for Tyrone in their march to TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate glory and she’ll play a key role for her club at midfield.
Visitors Glanmire had a number of players on the Cork minor A panel this year, including the versatile Abbie O’Mahoney, and they’re a force to be reckoned with.
Glanmire are very much a club on the rise in recent times in the adult and underage ranks – and they’ll look to emulate Aghada, the Cork club who won the All-Ireland Junior title last year.
Trillick: M Barrett; K Murphy, N Kelly, D McCarney; A McCaughey, C Donnelly, O McSorley; E Brennan, G McGuinness; C Brogan, D Gallagher, E Gray; F Owens, A Seaney, C Kelly.
Glanmire: A Carey; R Kelleher, A McNamara, A Turpin; A McCarthy, E Baker, L Cashman; E Twomey, A O’Mahoney; S O’Brien, E Murphy, S Murphy; N McAllen, K Hannon, S Deane.
Old Leighlin (Carlow) (H) v Tourlestrane (Sligo); McGrath Park, Bagenalstown, 1pm
No Carlow team has ever contested an All-Ireland Club final but that could change as Old Leighlin prepare for their junior semi-final clash with Tourlestrane.
Old Leighlin got past the challenge of Dublin’s Castleknock in the Leinster junior final replay and have teenager Rachel Sawyer in a rich vein of form.
Aoibhinn Gilmartin is another forward and Carlow county player who will need close watching by the Tourlestrane defence.
But the Sligo representatives will go into this one with confidence themselves after defeating Naomh Anna Leitir Móir to deny Galway a provincial clean sweep in the senior, intermediate and junior grades.
Katie Walsh is a proven inter-county forward and despite Sligo’s relegation from Division 2 of the Lidl NFL this year, she was named in the second tier’s Team of the League.
Old Leighlin: N Hanley; R Maher, A Roche, P Murphy; E Meaney, E Atkinson, M Dermody; M O’Sullivan, C O’Neill; R Sawyer, S O’Neill, N Forde; A Roche, A Gilmartin, E Brennan.
Tourlestrane: C Walsh; S Brennan, L Walsh, S Mooney; E Meers, S Henry, C Marren; A Egan, N Brennan; A Corcoran, G Carty, T Walsh; S Cunney, K Walsh, L Surlis.