Both Ballina and our local club here in Dublin at the confluence of Drumcondra and Marino, St Vincents, are in action in the All-Ireland club semi-finals tomorrow. Ballina face Cork’s Nemo Rangers in Ennis while the Vins face reigning champions Crossmaglen in the other semi-final at Navan. I’m not sure about how much green and red bunting is out in Ballina this weekend but I can confirm that this end of Griffith Avenue is well decked out in Vinnies’ blue and white and it’s only childminding duties that prevents me from including in this post photographic evidence of same.
Ronan McGarritty and Ger Cafferkey are both fit to take their places in Ballina’s starting fifteen, at midfield and full-back respectively. It will be interesting, from a county perspective, to see how the pair get on as they could be lining out in those positions for the other green and red side before too long.
Nemo’s James Masters has been talking to De Paper about the match and has listed a whole load of reasons why he wants to be on the winning side. The same publication has another article explaining why Crossmaglen’s pain of defeat (not last year, mind, they won it then – we’re talking two years ago here) will drive them on this Sunday. I’m sure the Vins could come up with a similar story. Wait – they have. God but this pre-match stuff can be a bit tedious.
Enough of the bladder – it’s show me the money time. Nemo are on offer at evens with Paddy Power, while Ballina are quoted at 11/10. Little money to be made there. However, Cross are priced at 8/13 to win with Vinnies at 7/4. I really do think that Vinnies, with their nice mix of youth and experience, have what it takes to see off those oul fellas – here’s your chance to fill up your boots.
The XMG/Vins match is live on TG4 tomorrow with, I think, the Ballina/Nemo match on deferred coverage afterwards. With all four semi-finalists having won the thing previously and all four seriously fancying their chances this year, we could be in for a lively afternoon’s football.