Championship 2024 Blog

Contenders to make a statement of intent in Salthill?

Mike Finnerty | 15 May 2024

Mickey Harte and Páraic Joyce will renew acquaintances this Saturday evening

Are Kerry ready to go up a gear?

They may have just won their 11th Munster title in 12 seasons, but Kerry have been more solid than spectacular in their two championship outings so far.

Wins over Cork and Clare were achieved without hitting too many high notes, and failing to raise a green flag in either match while also coughing up goal chances has also raised a few eyebrows.

But perhaps Jack O’Connor is planning for his team to peak over the coming weeks, starting at Fitzgerald Stadium this Saturday afternoon against Monaghan?

There is no doubt that his dynamic duo in attack, David Clifford and Seán O’Shea, will take watching. They have shot 0-23 between them in the last two games.

Can Monaghan raid the Kingdom?

It’s been a hard year for Monaghan so far, and there’s nothing easy about the prospect of a trip to Kerry next weekend.

The Farney Men were relegated from Division 1 of the National League after winning just one of their seven games, and a two-goal defeat to Cavan at the start of last month was another blow to their morale.

But they have had five weeks to prepare for the All-Ireland Series and, as Mayo showed last season, that is ample time to plan an ambush for one of the title contenders.

Rory Beggan’s availability is still uncertain, but Monaghan will need all hands-on deck to have any chance of upsetting the odds.

Galway aim to make home advantage count

With the Nestor Cup secured for a third successive season, and the confidence gained from a last gasp win over their fiercest rivals in the bank, Galway return to the scene of their Connacht Final triumph on Saturday evening to face Derry in Salthill.

A home win against the National League champions would put Padraic Joyce’s team in a strong position to qualify for the knock-out stages of the All-Ireland series and galvanise them for upcoming clashes with Armagh and Westmeath.

But they will need to deliver a better 70-minute display this weekend if they are to repeat their 2022 All-Ireland semi-final win over the Oak Leaf men.

Derry look to show bouncebackability

Mickey Harte’s men have had four weeks to recover from their shock Ulster championship defeat to Donegal at Celtic Park, but time will tell how much damage that loss has done to their self-belief and systems of play.

The concession of four goals and Donegal’s targeting of goalkeeper Odhran Lynch with long restarts will have been a major focus over the last few weeks for Mickey Harte and Gavin Devlin. Galway are unlikely to find as many chinks in the armour this weekend.

A chance for the Glen contingent to reset and recharge the batteries may not have Conor Glass and company any harm either, so how Derry bounce back will be worth watching.

A Leinster derby to savour

The only certainty in the Leinster senior hurling championship right now is that nothing is certain. There is still everything to play for after three rounds.

That is one of the reasons why the meeting of table-toppers Dublin and second-placed Kilkenny on Saturday evening in Parnell Park has attracted so much attention.

Carlow’s draw with the Cats last weekend has made things even more interesting, as it makes everything a little more uncertain in the battle for places in the provincial semi-final and final.

Right now, Dublin are in pole position with two rounds to play while Kilkenny will be smarting after an unexpected off day against Carlow.
Something will have to give.