Both Limerick SFC semi-final games are down for decision in Kilmallock on Sunday. The first game sees defending champions Ballylanders play Newcastle West at 2pm. Drom-Broadford take on Monaleen in the second game which has a 3.45pm throw in.
Ballylanders v Newcastle West
Date: Sunday, October 4
Newcastle West are gunning for their first SFC title in 23 years when they face defending SFC champions Ballylanders on Sunday.
The west Limerick outfit most recent chance of lifting the title came in 2012 when they lost out to Drom-Broadford after a replay in the final.
They topped Group 2 to qualify for the semi-final’s automatically with only one loss to their name - a surprising defeat to Adare.
Defending champions Ballylanders have had a mixed season up to now as they bid to retain the SFC title for the first time.
They had three points to spare in last week’s quarter final win against Fr Casey’s at the Gaelic Grounds, albeit without the influential Kieran O’Callaghan and Shane Fox, but Ephie Fitzgerald’s men have yet to replicate their 2014 form.
This is a major worry for them as they prepare to face a Newcastle West side who have had a mightily impressive 2015. How Brian O’Connell and Tom Lee play in this game will be key to Ballylanders’ chances. NCW’s Stephen Kelly has rolled back the years while Iain Corbett has also been in fine form for the Magpies this season. En route to the semi-final Newcastle West have accounted for Fr Casey’s (twice), Na Piarsaigh, St Kieran’s and Ballysteen.
Bally have beaten Monaleen, St Patricks and Rathkeale while they lost to Pallasgreen and Drom-Broadford.
The bookies have made Ballylanders favourites for the game but Newcastle West are primed and ready to pull off a shock.
Prediction: Newcastle West
Drom-Broadford v Monaleen
Date: Sunday, October 4
Monaleen are looking to gain revenge for their 2013 SFC final loss to Drom-Broadford when the sides meet in this year’s semi-final in Kilmallock side on Sunday.
The city side have also lost out to Drom earlier in the group stages this season.
Monaleen have done well to make it to this stage after indifferent early form in the group stage of the competition. Their comeback win against St Patricks in the penultimate group game gave them the push needed to make the knockout stages.
Drom-Broadford on the other hand have been mightily impressive on their run to the semi-final, only suffering one defeat on the way.
Killian Phair has been their outstanding forward throughout the season and kicked five points from play in Drom’s final group game against Ballylanders.
Seanie Buckley received a red card in the Ballylanders game and there is doubt surrounding his availability for the Monaleen game.
Drom are 4-6 with the bookies to win the SFC championship ahead of the game and Monaleen are going to have to put in their best championship performance of the season to derail them.
Given Drom-Broadford’s form and Monaleen’s fragility, it is very hard to look beyond a win for the west Limerick side.