Club Championship County Final previews
Sunday October 7
Monaghan SFC Final
Ballybay v Scotstown, Clones, 3.30pm
Scotstown are appearing in a sixth consecutive senior championship final and bidding to complete a four-in-a-row of titles.
They’ll got into the match as warm favourites against a Ballybay side who haven’t won a county championship since 2012, which was also the last year they reached the final.
There was very little between these two teams though when they met in last year’s semi-final when Scotstown only prevailed by two points after a replay.
And when they met in the earlier rounds of this year’s Championship the defending champions had just a single point to spare over Ballybay.
This one is likely to go right to the wire.
Carlow SFC Final
Eire Og v Palatine, Netwatch Cullen Park, 3.45pm
This match should be a humdinger. Eire Og are defending champions but Palatine won back to back county titles in 2016 and 2017 so both teams have a lot of quality.
The two teams met last July in the Senior League semi-final and on that occasion Palatine came out on top by eight points.
This match will most likely to be a lot tighter, but a Palatine team managed by Niall Carew will fancy their chances of dethroning the champions.
Longford SFC Final
Abbeylara v Mullinalaghta, Pearse Park, 4pm
These two teams are contesting the Longford SFC Final for the third year running.
Abbeylara will be hoping it will be third time lucky from their point of view, because Mullinalaghta were victorious on both previous occasions.
Both teams know one another intimately because they’re neighbouring clubs who pool their resources at underage level so gaining a tactical edge won’t be easily done.
Instead it’s likely to come down to who has the greatest cutting edge in attack, and Abbeylara will be hoping that Robbie Smyth can work the oracle for them in that respect.
On his day he’s an obvious match-winner, but Mullinalaghta arguably have a great range of threats in attack with players like Rian Brady and David and James McGivney.
Offaly SHC Final
Coolderry v Kilcormac-Killoughey, O'Connor Park, 4pm
The fact that this is Kilcormack/Killoughey’s fifth final in seven years is testament to their enduring quality and consistency.
The team hasn’t changed all that much during that period, and their success remains founded on a dominant defence and an attack that very much revolves around captain Ciaran Slevin.
He’s scored 3-51 already over the course of the campaign but Coolderry have their own ace marksman in the shape of Brian Carroll who has amassed 3-65.
Both men can be relied on to rise to the occasion again on Sunday, so it may come down to how well the supporting cast perform. Kevin Connolly has been excellent all year for Coolderry too as have Cillian Kiely and Thomas Geraghty for Kilcormac-Killoughey.
These two teams have met already in the Championship this year in a first round clash that finished level. This match is likely to be another finely balanced contest, but their more proven defence might well give Kilcormac-Killoughey an edge.
Waterford SHC Final
Abbeyside v Ballygunner, Fraher Field, 3.30pm
Ballygunner are bidding to win an incredible fifth Waterford SHC title in a row when they play Abbeyside in Sunday’s Final.
They’re red-hot favourites to do it too against an Abbeyside team that are playing in their first county senior hurling final in 10 years.
Managed by Peter Queally, Abbeyside are a very well-coached team that are greater than the sum of their parts.
They’re especially strong in defence and are capable of making a real match of this, but the sheer excellence of Ballygunner players like the Mahony brothers, Brian O’Sullivan, Stephen O’Keeffe, Shane O’Sullivan, and Barry Coughlan should see them come out on top.
Laois SHC Final
Camross v Rathdowney-Errill, O'Moore Park, 4pm
These two teams met in the second round of the Championship back in August when Camross came out on top by five points.
Since then, though, Rathdowney-Errill have gone from strength to strength and this match looks very evenly balanced.
Gearoid Burke is more than likely going to miss out for Camross with an ankle injury and if he does he would be a considerable loss for the reigning champions.
It’ll most likely go down to the wire, but the firepower supplied by players like Zane Keenan, Mark Dowling, Eoin Gaughan, and Oisin Bennett could give Camross the edge.
Roscommon SHC Final
Athleague v Four Roads, Athleague, 3pm
Four Roads are the traditional kingpins of Roscommon hurling and won eight county finals in a row from 2008 to 2015.
But by their very high standards they’re currently going through something of a mini-famine having lost the 2016 and 2017 Finals.
They have looked back to their best so far this year though and have already won the Roscommon Senior League.
An Athleague team looking for their first county title since 2007 are formidable opposition, but Four Roads are favourites for a reason.
Meath SHC Final
Kiltale v Trim, Pairc Tailteann, 3.30pm
Kiltale are warm favourites to win a remarkable fifth Meath SHC title in a row.
There are injury doubts though over star forwards Ross Ryan and Jack Regan and if either misses out their absence would be a big blow.
Trim are an improving outfit and accounted for the beaten finalists of the last two years, Killyon and Kildalkey on the way to this final so they’ll be no pushovers.
If they can get enough ball into danger-man Alan Douglas they’ll fancy their chances of pulling off an upset, though their defence will have their hands full containing a Kiltale attack that has scored 11-58 in their last three matches.