By Mike Fitzpatrick
Div. B Quarterfinal
Offaly vs. Kerry
The lads of the Junior Division B get a rare opportunity to parade their talents on New York’s premier Gaelic football ground when these two sides come face to face in the season’s premier quarter final.
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New boys Offaly will be hoping to make it through against this Kerry side, who obviously feel they can live up to their fellow countymen in the senior division by clinching some silverware this season. It’s bound to be a tough game, with a lot at stake, and the fact that these lads will finally be playing before a larger crowd should add to the excitement. It will no doubt be a close one, and I feel that Offaly may just surprise a few folk on Sunday.
Westmeath vs. Kilkenny
Kilkenny have certainly turned the corner with regards to their recent form. Last year, The Cats failed to pick up a solitary point throughout the whole campaign. This time around however, the famous old club have managed a couple of nice wins, including a healthy victory over Clare last week at Gaelic Park.
Lying in joint fourth place, these two sides will certainly be out for the championship points this week. Whichever team wins will be sitting nicely behind the leaders of the pack. It’s more or less understood that at this stage, Tipperary and Limerick will qualify for the latter stages of the season, and dark horses Waterford are fancied to quite a distance also. That leaves one place up for grabs, between Westmeath and Kilkenny. The other two sides in the division, Offaly and Clare, have failed to grab the results this season, and it’s not likely that they’ll emerge as playoff contenders at this late stage. Sure to be a highly competitive game, it could really go either way.
Sligo vs. Cavan
Kerry, Donegal and Tyrone are virtually guaranteed of their places in the playoffs, and with two positions still up for grabs, they could go to any two of a number of clubs. Monaghan are out, having picked up their fifth defeat last week when they fell to Leitrim. Leitrim, having started shakily, have begun to string the results together and are now in a healthy position nearer the top of the table. Mike Brosnan’s men stand in the final qualifying place right now, but have played two games more than Sligo, and one more than Cavan, so either side is capable of still making it to the playoffs.
Cavan, as has been the norm, started well this year, but have really faded since.
Sligo will be out to pick up the points to move closer to their dream of playing in the final rounds of the championship, and I feel they might just swing it.
Rockland vs. Mayo
Rockland are certainly the surprise packages this season in New York’s GAA circles.
Playing their first ever season as a senior team, the boys from Westchester have won five out of six games to date in their division, and will certainly be out to win this one to move that little bit nearer to clinching promotion at the first attempt.
Mayo have had something of a topsy-turvy season so far, having won three and lost three, despite getting off to a great start to the campaign. Both sides will be hammering away at each other as there’s quite a lot at stake. Rockland’s enthusiasm may just be enough to overcome this young Mayo side.