Final Four! Hyde set for weekend of semi-finals

Hodson Bay Hotel SFC Semi-Finals

 The Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon Senior Football Championship and Callington Ltd Intermediate Football Championships have reached the semi-finals stage with all four games down for decision this Sunday at Dr. Hyde Park…

Roscommon Gaels v Strokestown at 2 pm

Not too many were predicting this as a semi-final pairing, but the two ‘town’ teams are here on merit and both will be going into this game confident of making it to the final.

Strokestown played well in the group stages but they just about scraped into the quarter-finals. However, there were signs against Pádraig Pearses that John Rogers’ men were going to produce a big display and that they did against Oran last Sunday.

They played some great stuff in the quarter-final and their direct brand of football, kicking the ball long into their full forward line, paid rich dividends with Shane McGinley and Diarmuid McGann the beneficiaries.

Strokestown have some very experienced players who have all represented Roscommon at one stage or other and they will feel that they will have the measure of the Gaels on Sunday.

However, Roscommon Gaels produced their best championship performances in many years in their last two games. They easily swatted away Michael Glavey’s in their final group match and then last Saturday they dealt with the considerable challenge of Padraig Pearses, dumping the champions out with a confident display of attacking football.

Under Frankie Dolan’s management, the county town team have been transformed following the return of players from abroad.

However, they will have to be very careful not to take Strokestown for granted on Sunday as Strokestown have the players to take advantage of any complacency in the Gaels’ camp.

This could well be a cracking match but the odds would have to favour Roscommon Gaels. If they can maintain the form that we have seen in the past two games they should be good enough to progress to the final.

Prediction: Roscommon Gaels (narrowly).

Boyle v St. Brigid’s at 4.15 pm

This is a far more predictable pairing and both sides have made it this far without losing a match. However, it must be said that both teams were less than impressive in their quarter-final wins.

Brigid’s started this championship in flying form and under new manager Jerome Stack, the Kiltoom men quickly became the team to beat. When they hammered Pádraig Pearses they shot to the top of the betting and since then nothing has happened to take them off their pedestal.

Boyle have not been too far in terms of their performances thus far. However, they fell over the line last Sunday against Michael Glavey’s and they won’t need to be told that they will have to play better this weekend if they are to advance.

Cian McKeon, Donie Smith and Daire Cregg make up the strongest full-forward line in the county and they have the potential to beat any opposition with their skill and scoring power.

Another tight game in prospect here, and in truth this is the toss of a coin. Boyle have come up short in big games in recent seasons against some of the more established teams and they will want to put a big performance together this weekend.

Weighing up the form of each side, the hesitant vote goes to men from north Roscommon to emerge by a point or two.

Prediction: Boyle.


Callington Ltd IFC Semi-Finals

(Both games on Saturday in Dr Hyde Park)

Fuerty v St. Dominic’s at 2 pm

This is a definite candidate for ‘Game of the Weekend’. Dominic’s will go into the match as favourites but they won’t be going any further if they don’t produce their best display of the season against a Fuerty team who have been very impressive again in this campaign.

Dominic’s started their championship slowly but they are coming into this semi-final unbeaten and they will hope that all their big players like Mark Miley, Eoin McCormack, Jack Lohan, Keith Doyle, Darren Donnelly and Daire Keenan are on top form.

Tomas Gilleran’s charges have improved in each game and are coming into top form at just the right time.

Fuerty will be hoping that the Lyons’ brothers, Mark Ward, Philip Neilan, the Bannons, Niall Kilroy and co will rise to the occasion. Fuerty have plenty of big match experience in recent years and they will pose a formidable challenge this Saturday.

But Dominic’s are on a mission. They have experienced heartbreak in the last two finals and are determined to make it third time lucky this year. They should be good enough.

Prediction: St. Dominic’s

Éire Óg v St. Croan’s at 4.30 pm

Éire Óg will come into the match on the crest of a wave following the euphoria of their penalty success against St. Brigid’s last weekend. Liam Creaton and Conor Cox led the charge and they will have to be prominent again if Éire Óg are to advance to a final.

St. Croan’s, who are down from the senior ranks, started this championship slowly but are coming into form at just the right time. Mike Holland, Gerard Connaughton, Keith Muldoon, Ross Timothy and Cathal Connelly are all playing well and Malachy Gately will want a crack at getting his charges back up at their first attempt.

Croan’s look the more balanced side and they should advance by a few points.

Prediction: St. Croan’s