Friday 15 December 2017

This weekend we should be treated to exciting games

Billy's football analysis

Once again the business end of the Gaelic football season has finally been reached almost seven months after the first ball was kicked in the league stages of the championship. This weekend we should be treated to some close and exciting games in the senior and intermediate grades.

In the Senior quarter-finals St Martin's play Adamstown in the first of a double header in New Ross. St Martin's have reached this stage with three wins out of five, losing to Gusserane in their first game and Castletown in their last one.

They have racked up impressive score lines in their games and should be too strong for Adamstown. The Aidan O'Brien trained team have lost a number of players through injury, including Michael Furlong. Replacing a player of his calibre is very difficult for any club side and I expect St Martins to progress.

St Anne's v St James should be an interesting game, with St James qualifying for this match due to two hugely impressive performances against Castletown and especially Gusserane. They have exceeded expectations and have nothing to lose at this stage against the reigning champions. St Annes are the only unbeaten team in the championship so far, but there is a doubt about the availability of Red Barry.

His is a crucial cog in a well oiled machine, but St Anne's should still have enough in their armoury to overcome last year's Intermediate champions. The game will be closer than some people expect but St Anne's should still win this one.

Fethard v Castletown is the hardest result to call in my opinion. Despite indifferent form this year Castletown showed the character you would expect in their defeat of St Martins in the last round, when losing was not an option. Fethard have only lost to the two teams that contested last year's final, so their form has been reasonably good. Their defensive style could frustrate their opponents and I think we could have a mild upset here with Fethard progressing to the semi-final.

The last match is between the Shelmaliers and Starlights. Last year's runners are striving to go one better and have cruised through to this stage with some impressive high scoring performances, scoring 8-54 as they progressed.

Losing Clive Lawlor from centre-back for the year has been a major blow but they have recovered well with the amount of young talent they have available.

Starlights are a bit of an enigma and have some excellent young footballers at their disposal.

Now that their interest in the hurling championship has ended they are capable of one big performance and are capable of an upset. However, I expect Shelmaliers to have a bit more craft and should win this one.

With Bannow and Glynn already qualified for the last four in the Intermediate championship, two ties are down for decision this week. I can't comment on the Taghmon v Kilanerin game as I am appointed to referee it (well the first half anyway) so maybe the editor will oblige.

The last quarter-final is yet again a tough one to call. Rosslare started really well and won their first two games, but a collapse in form saw them lose the next three. They should be playing better with the players at their disposal and the return of Naomhan Rossiter from America will be a major boost to their chances. Bunclody are the dark horses of the intermediate grade and their only loss was a surprise one to Ferns. They have been scoring freely and if they can continue the good form they have shown I expect them to qualify for the semi-final.

So there's your spending money for the weekend. Rush down to your local bookies, tell them I sent you and back the above accumulator. Bet responsibly and always remember it's not my fault if and when you lose.


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