Kildare Hurling semi's, Intermediate football quarters and Senior football relegation to be decided
On we go with another plethora of fixtures this weekend with the two SHC semi-finals taking centre stage. However there are many more vital games in both codes down for decision, including the SFC relegation final and the IFC relegation final, vital games for the four teams involved.
The action gets under way on Friday September 9 in the IFC quarter-final between Allenwood and Sallins.
Sallins defeated Suncroft, after a bit of an initial struggle but pulled clear in the second half to book their quarter-final spot against undefeated Allenwood, winning their three group games.
Allenwood are more than a decent side and will be very anxious to return to the senior ranks and while they will be fancied to win this one and a book a semi-final spot, Sallins will be no push-over.
Pat 'Stretch' Winders has the boys in green and white moving well, they are a fine attacking side and will certainly ask questions of The Blues.
However Allenwood are full of confidence at the minute and with the probable return of Johnny Doyle are in good shape.
Allenwood had to dig deep to get the better of Caragh with fine displays from Luke Anderson in goals, they had nine different players on their score sheet, which tells its own story and in the likes of Johnny Byrne, Mark Delaney, Sean Moran, to name just a few, are all players more than capable of holding their own and while Jamie Cox, the Dalton boys, Paul Farrelly and Cian Grimes will certainly test Allenwood, expect The Blues winning run to continue.
Leixlip v Ballyteague go head-to-head on Saturday in quarter-final no. 2. Fancied from the start Leixlip are enjoying more than a decent season. Manager, former county star, Enda Murphy was pleased with his side's overall display, although did admit they were not at their best especially in the opening half against Sallins.
Ballyteague have been hot and cold this season, and while they are heavily reliant on Jimmy Hyland they also have a few excellent players such as Stephen Ennis, Tommy Callan and Brian McGrath.
Like a lot of cases the side that qualified automatically after the group games will probably always start as favourites and this is no different.
The SFC relegation final sees Round Towers take on Confey. Towers have really struggled to date while Confey are not a whole lot better in this regard.
Difficult to separate these sides, both have lost all their championship games this year.
Confey have a slightly better scoring rate than Towers but on the other side Towers have conceded less than Confey so really very little to separate them.
This is a toss of a coin job and just might come down to who wants it the most.
IFC relegation final
The IFC relegation final is between St Kevin's and Milltown and while Kevin's come into this one after a very disappointing campaign, they have been intermediate since the '70s, they should have too much for a Milltown side who are struggling big time at the minute.
Verdict: St Kevin's.
On Sunday we have the two UMPC Senior Hurling Championship semi-finals in St Conleth's Park, Newbridge and while champions Naas, are certainly roaring hot favourites against Clane, to advance to the final where they are seeking their third crown in a row, something they should do with relative ease, the clash between Celbridge and Maynooth is quiet a different kettle of fish.
Maynooth are back at this level after a number of seasons at intermediate level while Celbridge, we should remember, gave Naas their toughest game of the championship last season, putting it up to them in the final for a long time before going under.
Naas came through Group A without too much bother racking up a scoring total of no less than +117 and only conceding 39.
Celbridge, who operated in Group B (Losers group) dropped just one point, that to Confey but they have not been as convincing as we might have expected.
Maynooth, on the other hand, albeit against stronger opposition, are not scoring as freely as one would have expected.
This could be a tight one with Celbridge getting the vote, probably more to do with their experience on the big day more than anything else.
Verdict: Naas and Celbridge.
SHC 'B' semi-finals
The SHC 'B' semi finals are also down for decision on Saturday where Moorefield will cross swords with Naas (2nds) again and if their last outing is anything to go by well this could be a cracking game.
Naas looked home and hosed in the final group game but Moorefield made a remarkable comeback and were somewhat unlucky not to shock the county town team.
That game though will have Naas on their guard and they get the vote to book a final spot.
The second semi-final in the SHC 'B' sees Éire Óg Corrachoill take on Kilcock. The boys from Prosperous/ Caragh are very strong at this grade, having been relegated just last season and while Kilcock have been making good strides I expect this game to be one too far for them.
Verdicts: Naas and Éire Óg Corrachoill.
JHC, IHC FINALS
Both the Junior and Intermediate Hurling finals are also on the weekend programme of fixtures.
Éire Óg CC should have enough against Wolfe Tones while the IHC final will see Bradford take on Maynooth and the former may have enough in that one.
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