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Thursday 12 December 2019

Youthful Na Fianna to edge rivals

Dean Rock. Photo: Sportsfile
Dean Rock. Photo: Sportsfile

Ballymun Kickhams v Na Fianna (Parnell Park. Tonight, 8.15)

As local rivalries go, few match the intensity of Ballymun and Na Fianna, and given that whichever team loses tonight exits the championship, the stakes couldn't be higher in Donnycarney.

County friendships will be put on hold for an hour at least as Ballymun look to improve on a relatively moderate recent championship record, especially given the wealth of talent at their disposal.

The availability or otherwise of Dean Rock will be key to their chances and getting the best from the likes of Paddy Small, John Small and James McCarthy is the main challenge for manager Brendan Hackett.

In Dessie Farrell, Na Fianna possess a hugely insightful bainisteoir and his youthful side could well edge the contest if James Doran, Conor McHugh, Aaron Byrne and David Lacey reach their potential.

 

Ballinteer St John's v St Vincent's (Monastery Road, Tonight, 7.30)

St Vincent's will be looking to bounce back from their loss to Castleknock back in April, a defeat that, coupled with last year's semi-final defeat to St Jude's, has seen their aura of invisibility slowly eroded.

Of course, Diarmuid Connolly should be close to peak health and while the emergence of Sean Lambe is a boost for the team, there remains an over-reliance on Connolly and Tomás Quinn for creativity and scores.

Ballinteer are a dangerous opponent for any team, blessed as they are with the pace of Nicky Devereux, Aaron Bradshaw, Fearghal Duffy and Robbie Gaughan and if Eoghan Fitzpatrick and Glenn Whelan are allowed to influence matters around the middle third, this could prove a tricky obstacle for the 2017 winners.

 

Kilmacud Crokes v St Sylvester's (Parnell Park, Tonight, 6.45)

With their quarter-final spot already assured, Kilmacud could well use tonight's clash to reassimilate their Dublin contingent back into their starting 15.

While there may be little benefit in including Paul Mannion and Cian O'Sullivan, their fellow county contingent in Cian O'Connor, Rory O'Carroll and Andrew McGowan shouldn't lack for motivation as they return to club colours.

Motivation may be an issue for a Syls team that were beaten heavily by both Na Fianna and Ballymun back in April although they pushed the holders Crokes all the way in last year's memorable quarter-final.

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