Paul Flanagan, Ballyea, and Pauric Mahony, Ballygunner, pictured ahead of Saturday's AIB Munster Club SHC Final.
Paul Flanagan, Ballyea, and Pauric Mahony, Ballygunner, pictured ahead of Saturday's AIB Munster Club SHC Final.

Weekend's club championship preview


Saturday December 3

AIB Munster Club SHC Final

Ballyea v Ballygunner, FBD Semple Stadium, 3.15pm

Two stirring semi-finals ensure this decider in Thurles is eagely anticipated.

Ballyea eventually fended off St Finbarr's challenge to reach the final, while Ballygunner demonstrated plenty of resolve to edge out Na Piarsaigh.

The AIB All-Ireland club champions showed plenty of class too with Pauric Mahony's shooting exhibition critical in a high quality encounter.

Nine Waterford SHC titles on the spin have been claimed by Ballygunner, who are now delivering on the provincial and national stage too.

A remarkable Croke Park triumph over Ballyhale Shamrocks illustrated Ballygunner's brilliance, but Ballyea will be primed for this match.

In last year's Munster championship Ballygunner cruised to an emphatic success over an understrength Ballyea.

Now, though, Ballyea, featuring Paul Flanagan and Tony Kelly, will be primed for a battle with silverware the considerable prize for whoever prevails.

Chrissy McKaigue, Slaughtneil, and Conal Cunning, Dunloy, pictured ahead of the AIB Ulster Club SHC Final.
Chrissy McKaigue, Slaughtneil, and Conal Cunning, Dunloy, pictured ahead of the AIB Ulster Club SHC Final.

Sunday December 4

AIB Ulster Club SHC Final

Dunloy v Slaughtneil, Athletic Grounds, 1.30pm

Since 2016 Slaughtneil have captured four AIB Ulster Club championships to confirm their emergence as a serious force.

Some excellent performances in the All-Ireland series have followed too, merely underlining the sheer hard work that has taken place in a progressive club.

Dunloy, though, bring tradition and talent into this decider.

Impressive in Antrim recently, Dunloy now want to showcase their ability in this type of environment.

Dunloy won the last of their 10 provincial titles back in 2009, but enter this match encouraged with Conal Cunning in prolific scoring form.

Gregory O'Kane's team also features Keelan Molloy and Seaan Elliott, who will be eager to cause the holders problems.

Slaughtneil produced a dynamic display to defeat Portaferry in the penultimate round with Brian Cassidy and Shane McGuigan prominent.

Oisín O'Rorke, Kilmacud Crokes, and Eoin Cody, Ballyhale Shamrocks, pictured ahead of the AIB Leinster Club SHC Final at Croke Park.
Oisín O'Rorke, Kilmacud Crokes, and Eoin Cody, Ballyhale Shamrocks, pictured ahead of the AIB Leinster Club SHC Final at Croke Park.

AIB Leinster Club SHC Final

Ballyhale Shamrocks v Kilmacud Crokes, Croke Park, 2.30

Since 1978 Ballyhale Shamrocks have won 12 AIB Leinster Club SHC titles, while also losing two finals.

On Sunday afternoon at GAA headquarters Ballyhale face Kilmacud Crokes, who have reached a first provincial hurling showpiece.

That Crokes' footballers are in action at Croke Park adds another layer of intrigue, but Ballyhale will be firmly focused on gleaning further silverware.

Ballyhale did precisely what was required last weekend when defeating an emerging Naas outfit.

TJ Reid mined 1-6 while Darragh Corcoran, Paddy and Adrian Mullen also starred.

Crokes will be looking to Oisín O'Rorke and Fergal Whitely for scores, while Ronan Hayes carries a threat too.

Galway captain Seán Kelly is a key performer for Maigh Cuilinn.
Galway captain Seán Kelly is a key performer for Maigh Cuilinn.

AIB Connacht Club SFC Final

Maigh Cuilinn v Tourlestrane, Pearse Stadium, 12.45pm

Former Roscommon colleagues Don Connellan and Fergal O'Donnell take charge of two well drilled teams in the western decider.

Tourlestrane have claimed seven Sligo SFC titles in a row, but reaching a first Connacht final since 1982 is source of significant pride.

Gary Gaughan remains an influential figure for Tourlestrane, who will be eager to disturb Maigh Cuilinn's swift running game.

Two Galway SFC victories in three years is a clear sign of Maigh Cuilinn's development.

There was no Connacht championship when Maigh Cuilinn triumphed in 2020 so a promising team featuring three Kelly brothers, Peter Cooke, Dessie Conneely, and Owen Gallagher remain eager to impress.

Niall Mitchell, The Downs, and Shane Horan, Kilmacud Crokes, pictured ahead of the AIB Leinster Club SFC Final.
Niall Mitchell, The Downs, and Shane Horan, Kilmacud Crokes, pictured ahead of the AIB Leinster Club SFC Final.

AIB Leinster Club SFC Final

The Downs v Kilmacud Crokes, Croke Park, 4.30pm

An eventful AIB Leinster Club SFC has unfolded with two capable teams left in the race.

The Downs, prompted by the dashing Luke Loughlin and Niall Mitchell, have enjoyed a productive stint following a hard earned success in Westmeath.

Rataoth's late rally nearly forced extra-time at the semi-final stage, but Lar Wall's well organised team survived.

Kilmacud Crokes have been forced to play with talisman Paul Mannion due to injury in recent months, but Shane Walsh has delivered in style.

With Craig Dias continuing to impress at centrefield, Crokes have been adept at eking out wins in tight matches.

The Downs last contested a provincial final way back in 1972, while Crokes have won this competition five times.

A victory on Sunday would edge them to within one of Portlaoise and St Vincent's, who have been Leinster champions on seven occasions.