Pre-seasons finals weekend is upon us and here we preview the four clashes taking place in Connacht, Leinster and Ulster.
Friday, January 18th
O'Byrne Cup final
Dublin v Westmeath, Parnell Park, 8pm - TG4
Tonight’s O’Byrne Cup decider sees Westmeath back on the final stage bidding for their first success in the competition since 1988.
Jack Cooney’s team have hit the ground running early and will have no issue with heading to Parnell Park as 11/4 outsiders against a Dublin side which has been going with its third string in these early weeks of the New Year.
Paul Clarke steered an experimental capital outfit to victory on this stage two years ago and he’s fancied to do the same again on home turf here.
Saturday, January 19th
Walsh Cup final
Wexford v Galway, Bellefield, 2pm
Galway required a sublime sideline cut from Joe Canning to edge victory in their season opener against Dublin last time out and are sure to be in for another battle when they travel to take on Wexford on Saturday.
Davy Fitzgerald wasn’t getting carried away after Wexford’s win over Kilkenny last weekend, stating that the Cats “were short practically their first team”, and both the Clare All Ireland winner and his players will be anticipating a stiffer test against the Leinster champions this weekend with silverware on the line.
It should make for an intriguing decider at Bellefield, where the Tribesmen will be entering as slight favourites.
McKenna Cup final
Armagh v Tyrone, Athletic Grounds, 7.30pm - TG4
It doesn’t seem all that long ago that these two rivals were battling it out in Ulster finals and this weekend will see the neighbours vying for some early silverware in a fresh new season.
Armagh boss Kieran McGeeney has opted for relatively strong line-ups so far, starting with returnee forwards Jamie Clarke and Stefan Campbell inside.
His counterpart Mickey Harte has been experimenting with a couple of new attacking options from last year’s All-Ireland final run in the likes of Kyle Coney and teen sensation Darragh Canavan, son of Red Hands legend Peter.
It should be a cracking contest when these two cross the white line on Saturday night at the Athletic Grounds.
Sunday, January 20th
Connacht SFL final
Galway v Roscommon, Tuam Stadium, 1.30pm
Anthony Cunningham can claim his first trophy as Roscommon manager with victory at Tuam Stadium on Sunday and stressed the need for improvement after his side’s winning start against Sligo last time out.
This weekend will mark the fifth year in-a-row that the Rossies meet Galway on this particular final stage and it’s the hosts that are 1/2 favourites to dethrone their opponents this weekend.
Kevin Walsh side’s get the nod here too with a bit to spare.
Join the hoganstand.com match tracker on Sunday afternoon for live action from the Connacht SFL final and the All-Ireland club intermediate and junior semi-finals.