Championships: last chance saloon

Seconds out, Round 3. And this time there are no second chances. It’s do or die; sink or swim as the final round of the senior and intermediate football championships are down for decision.

Seconds out, Round 3. And this time there are no second chances. It’s do or die; sink or swim as the final round of the senior and intermediate football championships are down for decision.

With four sides already through to the quarters, Athy, Moorefield, Confey and Maynooth, there are four other spots up for grabs among the remaining eight sides.

Opening proceedings on Friday is the game between Naas and Leixlip in Celbridge on Friday evening.

Naas had a great win over Carbury in Round 2 and can certainly look with confidence to this clash.

Leixlip got the better of Ballymore in Round 2 impressively but could find Naas a different opposition.

Not a lot between these sides but if Naas can repeat the display they showed against Carbury they must have a great chance.

Naas to win: Odds, Naas 4/5 Leixlip 5/4; draw 7/1.

Saturday in St. Conleth’s (6.15) St. Laurence’s take on Celbridge and the big issue here is just how will Celbridge come out of their drubbing at the hands of Moorefield in Round 2.

They opened brightly but once The Moore’s second goal hit the Celbridge net that was it, the Celbridge heads went down quicker than the titanic.

Larries get the vote.

Odds: St. Laurence’s 4/6 Celbridge 5/4; draw 7/1.

Another mid-day shoot out at St. Conleth’s Park on Sunday sees holders, Sarsfields take on last season’s IFC champions Monasterevan.

On paper it looks comfortable for Sarsfields, despite being comprehensively defeated by Athy in Round 2, they are the shortest priced favourites in Round 3 to to advance to the quarter finals.

Monasterevan were not overly impressive when defeating Kevin’s by just two points in Round 2 but nevertheless are a decent side; well disciplined; playing a system that can be hard to break down.

Sarsfields get the vote but this one could be looked upon as a potential banana skin.

Odds: Sarsfields 1/5; Monasterevan 7/2; draw 8/1.

The final game in Round 3 of the Joe Mallon Renault Round 3 SFC sees Allenwood take on Clane in Hawkfield.

Clane were surprisingly defeated by Maynooth last time out while Allenwood beat a 14-man second half Suncroft side (who also lost Fionn Dowling to injury before the break).

Hard to look beyond Clane but Allenwood will certainly give it their all on the day.

Odds: Clane 4/7 Allenwood 6/4; draw 6/1.

Meanwhile Round 3 of the Joe Fox Tool & Plant Hire IFC is also down for decision on a packed weekend of local fare.

Through to the quarters at this stage are Johnstownbridge; Raheens, Ellistown and Kilcock.

The opening game in this grade gets under way in Hawkfield on Friday evening with Eadestown taking on Round Towers at 7.30.

Towers, of course,drew with JTB in their Round 2 game before going under in the replay in a right decent game of football.

And while The Bridge deservedly booked their place in the last eight, Towers put on a display that suggests they will have a big say in the destination of this championship before the dust settles.

Eadestown had a comfortable win over Kilcullen in Round 3 but it is hard to see anything other than a win for The Towers on this occasion.

Odds: Round Towers 8/15; Eadestown 6/4; draw 7/1.

On Saturday Castledermot take on Rathangan in Athy (6.15) and having seen Castledermot on a few occasions this term, must say they are an improving side and all the work going on in the club is certainly paying dividends.

They defeated Clogherinkoe in the last round by four points and while not being overly impressive nevertheless deserved their win.

Rathangan lost out to 
Ellistown last time out and will have to show much improvement if they are to make it through to the knock-out stages.

Castledermot get the nod in this one although it might be a tad closer than many expect.

Odds: Castledermot 4/9 Rathangan 7/4 draw 7/1.

Caragh will be expected to get the better of Sallins in the third Round of the IFC, in a game fixed for Saturday in Clane at 4.30.

Caragh pushed Raheens all the way in Round 2 while Sallins had three points to spare over Kill.

If the Caragh lads can show the same tenacity and hunger as they did in their local derby defeat last time out, it should be enough to see them through on this occsion.

Odds: Caragh 4/5; Sallins 6/5; draw 7/1.

The final game in Round 3 in this Joe Fox IFC sees Robertstown take on near neighbours Ballyteague.

Sparks could fly in this one in what is sure to be a tight affair.

Ballyteague showed all their championship 
spirit when going under by the minimum to a fancied Kilcock side in Round 2 while Robertstown, had four to spare over Nurney in Round 2.

Ballyteague will be fancied to advance but if there is going to be a shock in this grade this weekend I wouldn’t rule out Robertstown providing it. They have a knack of scoring goals and at the odds certainly are the value bet, so we will giive them a hesitate vote to provide the shock.

Odds: Ballyteague 1/3; Robertstown 9/4; draw 7/1.

The semi finals of the IFC relegation is also down for decision and here Nerney get the vote to defeat Kilcullen while Clogherinkoe might just have enough for Kill.

In the Tom Cross JFC you can expect wins for Grangenolvan over Cappagh; Castlemitchell v Rheban; Two Mile House against Milltown while Straffan should account for Rathcoffey.

Outright odds for SFC: Athy 6/4; Moorefield 2/1; Sarsfields 7/1; Confey 8/1; St. Laurence’s 12/1; Celbridge 14/1; Naas and Clane 16s and 25s and better the rest.

Outright odds for IFC: JTB 4/7; Raheens and Towers are at 6s; Ellistown and Kilcock 7/1; Castledermot 8;1; Rathangan 12s and 20/1 the rest.

Odds: Cill Dara Betting.

-Tommy Callaghan