Preview: Leinster Club SFC Semi-Finals
Sunday November 26
AIB Leinster Club SFC Semi-Finals
Rathnew (Wicklow) v Moorefield (Kildare), Aughrim, 2pm
Suddenly all sorts of possibilities exist in the Leinster Club Championship. That is the impact of Rathnew's shock win over raging hot favourites St Vincent's.
Moorefield, though, carry plenty of belief and conviction with them to Aughrim. Having stayed the distance in a tense Kildare decider Moorefield subsequently beat Portlaoise.
Niall Hurley-Lynch rifled over the winning score deep into stoppage time. It was the type of success which confirms Moorefield's pedigree and potential.
Eanna O'Connor, a splendid Kerry minor in his underage days, notched 1-5, another sign of Moorefield's ability in attack.
When Tomas Quinn struck a goal for Vincent's against Rathnew the Wicklow outfit could have accepted an honourable defeat. It didn't happen with James Stafford supplying a decisive cameo in the closing stages.
Such resolve and resilience is part of the Rathnew story, but Moorefield will bring similar qualities to Aughrim.
St Loman's (Westmeath) v Simonstown Gaels (Meath), TEG Cusack Park, 2pm
Having flared to prominence in Westmeath and Meath recently this should be an interesting clash in Mullingar.
St Loman's have gleaned four county titles in five years, while Simonstown Gaels have stitched back to back victories in Meath.
Delivering in Leinster, though, is the next step both clubs crave. How Loman's finished against a capable St Columba's, Mullinalaghta team bodes well. John Heslin, Paul Sharry, and Shane Dempsey are smart inter-county operators, but what pleased manager Luke Dempsey the most against Mullinalaghta was the impact made by Loman's substitutes when the issue was delicately poised.
Colm O'Rourke's Simonstown Gaels adequately dealt with Starlights and will be familiar with Loman's threat.
Injuries have ravaged Shane O'Rourke's career, but he remains a splendid footballer at this level, while Padraig McKeever is a sharp finisher inside.