With three former winners and recent finalists involved, the anticipation towards this weekend’s All-Ireland senior club football semi-finals has never been higher and it starts in Newry on Saturday.
St. Vincent’s are three-time All-Ireland winner including two in the last decade. The Dublin champions are captained by Diarmuid Connolly who has made a massive imprint on this campaign.
Connolly scored four points in their county semi-final win over Ballymun Kickhams but his 1-2 contribution in the Leinster Final against Offaly’s Rhode marks him out as the one to watch.
The St. Vincent’s attack also features 2008 winning captain Tomas ‘Mossy’ Quinn and Mayo’s Enda Varley while Cormac Diamond will be another to watch. Shane Carthy and Daithi Murphy will be around the middle of the field while their defence is anchored by 2014 winning captain Ger Brennan plus Jarlath Curley, Mick Concarr and Craig Wilson.
Slaughtneil are still on course for a historic All-Ireland treble and their camogie team reached the decider two weeks ago. While as many as nine of the football panel could line out with the hurlers against Dublin’s Cuala in their semi-final on February 25th.
Hurling captain Chrissy McKaigue is a Derry senior defender and he’ll be joined in the rear-guard by Brendan Rogers, Paul McNeill, Karl McKaigue and Francis McEldowney. Padraig Cassidy, Patsy Bradley and Paul Bradley will aim to win midfield. Their danger forwards are Cormac O’Doherty, Chris Bradley and Se McGuigan.
The four teams remaining have substantial claims to being All-Ireland contenders. Slaughtneil are riding on the crest of a wave now and that desire to better than their 2015 final loss to Corofin could just get them back to Croke Park.