Clash of the giants
Thrillers expected as Evening Herald Dublin Senior Hurling Championship reaches quarter-final stage
ST VINCENT'S v ST JUDE'S
TONIGHT, O'TOOLE PARK, 5.15
THE Tymon bells will be ringing. A big occasion for Jude's. First-time in the quarter-final.
They'll face a St Vincent's side that are bang on the button. But there's more than a dash of the Kilkenny modesty about the Marino men.
"We are not up to the standard yet, but we are getting there. Being unbeaten in the group is a nice confidence booster, but the knock-out stage is a different kettle of fish," reflected Vins mentor, Shay Fleming.
Vincent's have a solid, compact look about them. Tom Carroll in the goal, and trusty defenders in Rory Pocock and Mark Kirwan.
Damien Russell and Diarmuid Connolly will provide invention, and then there's the quick feet of Pádraig Fleury, Cian McBride and Stephen Loughlin.
Loughlin was flying against the Larriers. Ronan Fallon is the commander-in-chief of centre half-backs, while Keith Connolly, Tomas Connolly and Mossy can pot the colours.
The Templeogue team are hoping that Danny Sutcliffe and Rob Hardy will be back in the mix. Ger McManus is an assured keeper, and Ross O'Brien is an accomplished full-back.
Jude's possess some polished hurlers. And they have grit too. Despite being under the cosh for most of the way against Cuala in Shankill, they battled back and weren't that far away from an unlikely result.
The likes of Brian Farrell, Mark Kennedy, Stephen Larkin, Conor Coone and Vinny Walsh put in worthy stints.
That same type of resolve will be required here. Niall Mangan and Ronan Joyce can open the gates, and the likes of John Ryan, Sam Lehane and Cormac Grogan can make the cash register tingle.
THE STORY SO FAR
St Vincent's: Beat Patrick's (P) by 6 points. Drew with Faughs. Drew with Ballyboden. Beat Crokes by 3 points. Beat O'Toole's by 9 points.
St Jude's: Lost to Crumlin by 4 points. Lost to Chiaráin's by 12 points. Beat Lucan by 5 points. Beat Brigid's by 3 points. Lost to Cuala by 3 points.
Verdict: St Vincent's.
ST BRIGID'S v KILMACUD CROKES
TONIGHT, PARNELL PARK, 5.15
KILMACUD keeper Richie Sweetman broke his hand against Vincent's. He won't be in Donnycarney.
Richie is also the manager of the Ballyboden St Enda's camogie side who play Erin's Isle in the Dublin Senior 'A' Championship final at St Peregrine's this evening.
Crokes are blessed with good goalies. MacDara ó hógáin will be between the sticks for this one. He'll know all about the finishing potential of Cian O'Mahony, Tom Cleere and Ciaran Kellett.
Brigid's had a treasured victory over Lucan in their final group match. It confirmed how much they have come on.
Aodhán McInerney and Paddy McAvinue are cultured stick-men. So are Conor Ryan and Daire Plunkett.
Crokes have a lot about them. Two years ago they were in the final. They don't lack calibre.
Sean McGrath, Kevin O'Loughlin and Barry O'Rorke are never far off the Lotto numbers, and the Stillorgan club don't lack conviction or desire.
Ronan Walsh, Rob O'Loughlin, Conor Clinton and Aodhán de Paor form the platform for so many of their attacks. And they are not shy about cleaning up the kitchen.
Brigid's are capable of rattling the Crokes back door. And their fitness is one of their most impressive features.
Kilmacud will have to be into their stride early. If Brigid's get a run on you, the hour can prove very difficult.
THE STORY SO FAR
St Brigid's: Beat Cuala by 3 points. Beat Crumlin by 6 points. Lost to Chiaráin's by 4 points. Lost to Jude's by 3 points. Lost to Lucan by 3 points.
Kilmacud Crokes: Lost to Ballyboden by 11 points. Beat Faughs by 2 points. Beat O'Toole's by 2 points. Lost to Vincent's by 3 points. Beat Patrick's (P) by 3 points.
Verdict: Kilmacud Crokes.
BALLYBODEN ST ENDA'S v LUCAN SARSFIELDS
TOMORROW, PARNELL PARK, 2.30
LUCAN haven't been just knocking on the door. They have been ringing the bell as well.
They are an excellent team. And even better when Kevin O'Reilly is in it.
Injuries have frowned on Kevin. It's always a treat to see him back in the swing. One of the finest hurlers in the city.
Boden have a few of their own. They have put more coal on the Firhouse fire in the last few weeks.
Their early form in the group was sketchy. But late on against Patrick's, when the match was well won, they just kept on digging for gold.
They maintained that tempo when they hopped across the road to beat Faughs. The four-in-a-row glow is burning brightly.
Niall Gleeson, Cronan Dooley, Barry Aird, Mick May and Tadhg Clandillon are tidy in their work for Lucan.
Johnny McCaffrey and Tommy Somers will drive the Sars forward, and they'll be hoping for scores from the hurls of Peter Kelly, Peter Carroll and Aidan Roche.
Boden's strength in depth gives them an extra edge. Nobody is assured of their place in the choir.
Great to see Conal Keaney back with the ash. Stephen Nolan has added a dash of pedigree, but there are so many Boden residents living on Quality Street ... Maguire, Spain, Hiney, Travers, McCormack, Ryan, O'Connor, Doody ... you could be delivering letters all night.
THE STORY SO FAR
Ballyboden St Enda's: Lost to O'Toole's by 4 points. Beat Crokes by 11 points. Drew with Vincent's. Beat St Patrick's (P) by 23 points. Beat Faughs by 22 points.
Lucan Sarsfields: Beat Chiaráin's by 8 points. Beat Cuala by 4 points. Lost to Jude's by 5 points. Beat Crumlin by 6 points. Lost to Brigid's by 3 points.
Verdict: Ballyboden St Enda's.
CRAOBH CHIARáIN v O'TOOLE'S
TOMORROW, PARNELL PARK, 4.0
DERBY DAY. The Craobh against the Larriers. Sky Sports' Super Sunday couldn't hold a candle to it.
O'Toole's produced one of their best displays of recent years against Boden in the drawn semi-final last year.
Damien Hernon will be asking for more of the same. Commitment, and a rub of the green, will win this one.
Games between these two neighbours are usually tight and tense. A goal out of nothing could seize the day.
Openings will have to be earned ... and taken. O'Toole's have the Nescafé blend about them ... plenty of experience but youth as well.
Brendan McLoughlin will relish this one. He might even strike a few drives that wouldn't be out of place at Celtic Manor.
Michael Carton and Conor White are excellent engineers. Peadar Carton, Keith Horgan, Paul Bradshaw and Kevin Flynn can pop them over.
Philip Brennan, Ger O'Meara and the always busy Paul O'Donoghue add to the Ayrfield collection. The Craobh's All-Star, Alan McCrabbe, has completed a few master-pieces in his time.
McCrabber gives his all for the Craobh cause. The boss man, Davy Kelly, knows that every player will graft till the last bell.
Keith Elliott, Eugene Farrell, Darren Kelly, Derek O'Reilly will help to mind the back of the house. Philip Purtell will endeavour to inject energy, and Craobh can boost their tally via Robbie Mahon, David Keane, Ger Ennis and Francis Usanga, who is capable of reinforcing the attack with strength and speed.
THE STORY SO FAR
Craobh Chiaráin: Lost to Lucan by 8 points. Beat Jude's by 12 points. Beat Brigid's by 4 points. Beat Cuala by 6 points. Beat Crumlin by 4 points.
O'Toole's: Beat Ballyboden by 4 points. Beat Patrick's (P) by 2 points. Lost to Crokes by 2 points. Beat Faughs by 6 points. Lost to Vincent's by 9 points.
Verdict: Craobh Chiaráin.