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Monday 24 July 2017

Boden strong enough to avenge last year's defeat

Cuala forward Colm Cronin. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
Cuala forward Colm Cronin. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Dublin SHC 'A' Group 4

CRAOBH CHIARÁIN v NA FIANNA

(O'Toole Park, Today, 4.00)

On paper, this very much looks like a team developing with visible momentum against a team that is struggling to remain competitive at the serious end of the championship.

Joey Boland is on hand to provide experience for Na Fianna, a team blessed with youthful promise from the likes of Donal Burke, AJ Murphy, Shane Barrett and Jonathan Treacy.

Craobh have had a disappointing start to the year, losing heavily to St Jude's, St Brigid's and Crumlin and they look unlikely to reverse that form today, despite their renowned battling qualities.

VERDICT: NA FIANNA

DUBLIN SHC 'A' GROUP 3

KILMACUD CROKES v SETANTA

(O'Toole Park, Today, 5.30)

This looks like the most one-sided of fixtures from today with Kilmacud expected to get their campaign up and running with a comfortable victory.

They remain a seriously talented side with Oisín O'Rorke a wonderful marksman while Seán McGrath, Fergal Whitely, Caolan Conway and Ryan O'Dwyer are other potential match-winners among their ranks.

Setanta have just one point from three AHL2 matches this year and a similarly disappointing reverse awaits them this evening.

VERDICT: KILMACUD CROKES

DUBLIN SHC 'A' GROUP 4

O'TOOLE'S v NAOMH BARRÓG

(Parnell Park, Today, 4.0)

On what is a landmark day for Naomh Barróg, they will look to make a positive Dublin SHC debut against a battle-hardened O'Toole's team.

The Kilbarrack club have made huge strides in recent years under Ger Ryan and Rory Cannon but it would be unfair to expect too much from them at this current stage.

In contrast, the Larriers have a wealth of experience and too much strength in depth to find themselves in any real trouble today.

Verdict: O'TOOLE'S

DUBLIN SHC 'A' GROUP 1

CUALA v BALLYBODEN ST ENDA'S

(Parnell Park, Today, 5.30)

Cuala's All-Ireland success has altered the hurling landscape in the county but it is difficult to see them playing at their optimum this evening, given their arduous campaign of the past 12 months.

Con O'Callaghan's presence in today's All-Ireland U21FC final is a loss for the Dalkey side but the likes of David Treacy, Colm Cronin and Mark Schutte have sufficient experience and quality in attack to overcome this particular absence. There was very little between the teams last year with extra-time required and the Ballyboden mindset is inherently one of confidence.

With the footballers having exited the SFC, dual players like Conal Keaney, Stephen O'Connor and Shane Durkin will be able to focus exclusively on the small ball and that factor cannot be overestimated.

Paul Ryan and Niall McMorrow provide the finesse and in terms of desire, it could be that Boden's need is the greater.

VERDICT: Ballyboden St Enda's

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