Three of this year’s senior club football provincial finals were played this afternoon and so the race for the Andy Merrigan Cup on Patrick’s Day next year is now down to just five runners. Once the Leinster final take place – it’s fixed for Sunday week – the line-up for February’s All-Ireland semi-finals will be completed.
Galway champions Corofin already know who their next opponents will be. The 2015 All-Ireland champions crushed the 2013 Merrigan Cup winners St Brigid’s in today’s Connacht final, running away with it at Carrick-on-Shannon on a scoreline of 2-13 to 0-5. Kerry’s Dr Crokes were even more emphatic winners in today’s Munster final, as they thrashed The Nire from Waterford by 3-15 to 0-6 at Mallow, but they’ll now have to get by Corofin to make it to Croke Park on March 17th next.
Corofin, who today equalled Clann na nGael’s haul of seven Connacht titles (interestingly, the Roscommon club completed their tally back in 1989 while Corofin only won their first provincial title in 1991), are now the 11/8 favourites to lift the cup on Patrick’s Day. My local club up here in the capital, St Vincents, are 11/4 second favourites but they haven’t got out of Leinster yet.
The Dublin champions – for whom Enda Varley scored two points and provided assists for his teams two goals – got the better of Longford side Mullinalaghta at Pearse Park this afternoon on a scoreline of 2-12 to 0-11. I had intended making the trip down to the Midlands for the game today but other plans intervened so I had to give it a miss. There’s something else in the diary for Sunday week as well so I won’t get to the Leinster final either.
That one is Vincents against Rhode of Offaly, which is a rematch of the 2014 decider, with the winners going on to face Derry’s Slaughtneil in the All-Ireland semi-final in the New Year. The Oakleafers made it all the way to the All-Ireland final in 2015, but then lost heavily to Corofin at Croke Park. Today’s victory over Down’s Kilcoo is their second provincial success. Amazingly, this afternoon’s win by the Derry champions completed a treble of provincial football, hurling and camogie titles won by the club this year. Style on them.