Gort (Galway) v Coolderry (Offaly) in the Limerick Gaelic Grounds (2.00)
Coolderry are seeking a first appearance in the All-Ireland final, having won the Leinster title for the first time last November when they beat Oulart-The Ballagh (Wexford) in the final.
Gort are also chasing their first All-Ireland title but have reached the final before. In 1984, they beat Midleton (Cork) by 1-11 to 2-4 in the semi-final before drawing with Ballyhale Shamrocks (Kilkenny) in the final (1-10 each). However, they lost the replay by 1-10 to 0-7. Gort also reached the 1981 All-Ireland semi-final where they lost to James Stephens (Kilkenny) by five points.
Several fathers of current players were on the Gort teams of the 1980’s, as was current manager, Mattie Murphy. He crowned a great year by steering Gort to their first Galway title since 1983 last November, having led Galway minors to All-Ireland glory two month earlier.
Gort underlined their pedigree by beating Clarinbridge, the reigning All-Ireland champions, in the Galway county final. Captained by Andy Coen, they won by 0-17 to 1-12 in a game where Gerry Quinn scored 0-7 and Aidan Harte 0-5 for the winners. Harte was aboard the Galway senior squad last year. As Galway champions, Gort were automatically crowned Connacht champions.
Having dethroned Clarinbridge, Gort will fancy their chances of reaching the final as part of their wider ambition to become the 7th Galway club to win the All-Ireland, following in the illustrious footsteps of Castlegar (1980), Kiltormer (1992), Sarsfields (1993-94), Athenry (1997-2000-2001), Portumna (2006-2008-2009), Clarinbridge (2011).
Coolderry are attempting to become the second Offaly club to win the All-Ireland title (Birr won in 1995-98-2002-2003). Coached by former Tipperary star, Ken Hogan, Coolderry made an impressive advance through Leinster, beating highly rated Ballyboden St.Enda’s (Dublin) and Oulart-The-Ballagh (Wexford).
They beat Ballyboden by 1-18 to 0-15, with Damien Murray scoring 0-8, Cathal Parlon 0-6 and Eoin Ryan 0-4 while the goal came from Barry Teehan.
Parlon (1-3) and Murray (0-6) were again hugely prominent in the Leinster final, as was Brian Carroll who scored 0-3. It was an excellent all-round performance by Coolderry, for whom Joe Brady was outstanding at centre-back as Coolderry won by four points.
How they reached the semi-final
Coolderry 1-18 Ballyboden-St.Enda’s (Dublin) 0-15 (Leinster semi-final)
Coolderry 1-15 Oulart-The Ballagh (Wexford) 1-11 (Leinster final)
Gort qualified automatically for the All-Ireland semi-final as Galway champions.