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Friday 21 September 2018

Club Focus: Champions ready to end Castlebar run

Previewed: St Brigid's (Roscommon) V Castlebar Mitchels (Mayo); Sixmilebridge (Clare) V Na Piarsaigh (Limerick)

AIB CONNACHT CLUB SFC FINAL

ST BRIGID'S (Roscommon) v CASTLEBAR MITCHELS (Mayo)

Hyde Park, Tomorrow 2.0, deferred TG4

OFTEN, when a club climbs the All-Ireland mountain for the first time, it disappears without trace for at least a season. You can't say that about St Brigid's.

It's not so much that the all-conquering Kiltoom crew have pulled any great surprises in making it a Roscommon four-in-a-row, or by then overcoming the unheralded champions of Sligo and Leitrim.

However, their 5-15 to 1-5 massacre of the latter (St Mary's) served as an ominous message to anyone who thought that Shane Curran or Karol Mannion or Frankie Dolan or Senan Kilbride had gone away.

Tomorrow will be an infinitely tougher test. Castlebar have already revealed their penchant for revelling in the role of underdog (their 3/1 price against Corofin was strange to begin with) and they could flourish if this turns into a dogfight. But the hosts are forewarned and we're sticking with them.

ODDS: St Brigid's 8/13, Draw 13/2, Castlebar 15/8

VERDICT: St Brigid's

 

BANNER BOYS TO 'BRIDGE GAP

AIB MUNSTER CLUB SHC FINAL

SIXMILEBRIDGE (Clare) v NA PIARSAIGH (Limerick)

Ennis, Tomorrow 2.0, live TG4

Can Clare hurling's annus mirabilis get any better? Obvious yes, if Sixmilebridge maintain their recent hectic run of victories in front of a partisan Cusack Park crowd.

Over the past fortnight they've claimed a first county title in 11 years and followed up with a deserved four-point victory over a Midleton side that failed to recapture the form that had conquered Cork for the first time in 22 years.

Na Piarsaigh, you suspect, are less likely to be fazed by the challenge of stalling the Banner's rising tide. A Munster decider is nothing new to a team that won its first provincial title two years ago.

Moreover, the Limerick men had to fight for the right to get here, reeling in a 10-point deficit against Loughmore-Castleiney and surviving the concession of three goals to overwhelm Passage with points, 20 in all.

Typically, Kevin Downes and Shane Dowling led the charge then and might do so again here.

ODDS: Sixmilebridge 11/10, Draw 8/1, Na Piarsaigh 10/11

VERDICT: Na Piarsaigh

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