This weekend sees fifth round action in the European Rugby Champions Cup. With all four provinces in action, it is sure to be a fascinating few days of action – if rugby is your thing, that is. The fact of the matter is some people would prefer to watch pre-season GAA to European Cup rugby (the inverse is true also, of course).
With that in mind, here are the best games on this weekend for those of you who want to brave the cold and who, come those warm summer championship clashes, can point at the debutant from the terrace and say ‘I saw him earlier in the year – good player’.
Munster SHL: Limerick v Cork, Gaelic Grounds.
Both teams got off to a winning start in the Munster Senior League last weekend and will be looking to build on it. John Kiely’s Limerick defeated an under-strength Waterford side while Cork got the better of Kerry.
Although wholesale changes are to be expected, any time these sides meet, bragging rights are at stake. The winner here will be well placed to make the final of the competition.
McGrath Cup: Cork v Kerry, Mallow
If you are in the Rebel County and don’t want to leave the county boundaries, there is fascinating football tie in Mallow (or at least as fascinating as games can be in January). As with the Cork hurlers, the footballers will be looking for bragging rights when they face off against the Kingdom.
This could be a cracker and a fine way to spend an afternoon and have a look at some of the fringe players in both these squads.
Dr McKenna Cup: Donegal v Cavan, Pairc MacCumhaill
The biggest of the McKenna cup ties this weekend is Cavan’s trip to the north-west. In front of a big crowd last weekend, Cavan got the better of Tyrone, while Donegal fell a point short against UUJ. The McKenna Cup always seems to be the most competitive pre-season competition, so this could be the tie of the weekend.
The other big game up north this weekend is Derry vs Armagh.
Walsh Cup: Carlow v Wexford, Cullen Park
With Davy Fitzgerald in charge of the Slaneysiders, all eyes will be on this Wexford side as they look to improve on the last few years. Beating Cork in the championship proved that they can perform on the big day so it will be interesting to see their progress throughout this year.
For Carlow, they put up a spirited fight against Dublin and will be looking to put up a good showing this weekend.
O’Byrne Cup: Laois v Meath, Portlaiose
Both teams had big wins at the weekend as Laois beat DIT and Andy McEntee’s first game in charge of Meath saw them hammer Wicklow. These are two sides haven’t had piles of success in recent times so both will want to get into the habit of winning games, even this early in the year. During the week, Meath made it two wins from two beating DIT while Laois also had little trouble beating Wicklow.
These are two sides haven’t had piles of success in recent times so both will want to get into the habit of winning games, even this early in the year. During the week, Meath made it two wins from two beating DIT while Laois also had little trouble beating Wicklow.
Connacht Senior Football League: Leitrim v Galway, Carrick-on-Shannon
Leitrim had a big win in their first game putting up a big score against GMIT. This weekend is a tougher test as they face Galway. Leitrim don’t win many games, so they take what they can get so they may want this one more than the Tribesman.