By Mike Fitzpatrick
Junior "B" Football
Astoria vs. Sligo
Neither Astoria nor Sligo were able to thoroughly break down the other last week, and a draw really seemed a fair result. What that leaves us with is another Sunday afternoon’s football between two sides anxious to make club history by grabbing their first junior football title. Last week’s draw was a game where both sides held the lead at different stages of the contest, but both lacked that killer instinct in front of goal which would have sent one team into the history books and the other home to nurse the headaches of what might have been.
Astoria have had a great run so far in the season, unbeaten in all the games they’ve played. Sligo have also proved to be no slouches, and disposed of a fancied Stamford side a number of weeks back in the semifinals. Sligo will hope to have Barney Healy display the form he has shown the Gaelic Park faithful, and depend heavily on his prowess in front of goal. Astoria’s midfield pairing of Derek McKenna and Sam Yore have proven time and time again that they are potential match winners, grabbing six of their sides nine points between them in last weeks tie. Should Astoria’s forwards get in on the scoring action a little more than they did last time out, I feel they just might grab a victory over Messrss Healy, Spellman and McVann.
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Waterford vs. Tipperary
What promises to be a cracking game if recent appearances at Gaelic Park by these two sides is anything to go by. Waterford narrowly defeated Clare a couple of weeks ago, thanks in no small part to players of the caliber of Mike Curtin, Richie Purcell and Donal Berry.
Tipperary, have been in phenomenal form recently. Their defense is pretty solid, their midfield battles for everything, and as for their attack? Well, their 27-point victory over Westmeath recently speaks volumes. Waterford will certainly fight all the way, and may have a couple of weekenders over for the tie, but I feel the sheer firepower of the Tipp frontline may prove too difficult to overcome.
Div. I Football
Stamford vs. Westmeath
An absolutely crucial tie for two sides battling each other to make further progress in the championship. By the time this game is played, Tyrone will have faced off with Donegal in East Durham, so a lot rests upon the outcome of this one, and the tie upstate. Depending on the result of the Ulster derby game, either side could go top of the table should they win here.
It’s an extremely tough one to predict, both sides have played some fine football at the Park. Stamford’s famous traveling army of supporters will no doubt prove vital to the level of confidence in this highly impressive panel, and having seen their junior counterparts knocked out of the tournament at the semi final stage, they’ll certainly do their best to bring some pride back to Connecticut. Westmeath defeated Tyrone in their last outing at the park, and must hope that they can provide a similar type of display versus Stamford. The performances of the likes of McCabe, Yore and Mathers will be decisive.