London fixtures this weekend take a break on Saturday to avoid clashing with the All Ireland football final replay, but there is a packed weekend of matches come Sunday.
The showcase match is the Intermediate Hurling final between Brothers Pearse and Father Murphys to see which one of the in-form teams will contest in the senior championship next year.
Brothers Pearse started the championship as favourites, having come down after being relegated from the senior championship last year and retained most of their players. But Father Murphy’s have had solid group stage of the campaign and beat the Pearses in the earlier rounds.
Both teams look as strong as any in the senior championship this year and it is a shame that only one will be able to compete against the top tier next year.
Clashes to watch for will be to see how the Pearses’ full-back Joe Bermingham diffuses the attacking threat of Sean Howlin should he start at full-forward, with the Father Murphy’s talisman a constant threat in their semi-final match against St Declan’s when he scored 2-1. Another interesting battle will be in midfield where Paul Uniacke has proved himself as one of the best players in the county this season, and the explosive Stephen Bardon who is capable of creating chances out of nothing from anywhere on the pitch.
As well as the final are the two senior hurling championship semi-finals. Last year’s county finalists Robert Emmetts and St Gabriel’s top the group and play in the two matches, having only lost one match each in the group stages.
The Emmetts actually lost to the Gabriels, while the Gabriels’ loss comes as one of the standout games of the championship so far. Kilburn Gaels, who won the senior title in 2014, and reached the All Ireland club final the following spring, had a relegation fight on their hands in the opening rounds, as they struggled to get any points on the board.
With a vast number of their senior players exiting the team to play for their home clubs this year they were struggling for numbers and genuinely seemed focussed on ensuring that they would merely stay senior for 2017. But, in a huge turn of events they beat St Gabriels in Round 3 and after another win afterwards booked their semi-final place. They even went close to causing a shock against the Emmetts at the weekend, eventually only losing by three points.
Sean Treacys who have gone in under the radar after solid performances against the lower teams make up the other semifinal, and they will play the Gabriels on Sunday at Greenford. Football semi-finals decided Last weekend also saw the group stages of the senior football tied up and the semifinal clashes finalised. They are scheduled to be played on October 8th.
Tir Chonaill Gaels ran out winners of Group 1, following a shaky start where they threw away a lead to only manage a draw against Round Towers. But they went on to beat St Kiernans, who they had played in last year’s county final, and then picked up a second win convincingly against Garryowen in the last round.
They face Parnells next who finished second in their group after beating Fulham Irish by four points in their 2-10 to 0-12 game on Sunday.
The other semi-final sees last year’s finalists St Kiernans take on North London Shamrocks who seem to have gone from strength to strength in the past few years. They won the Intermediate championship in 2014 to get promoted to senior last year and despite not making it out of the group stages were commended for their quality and battling performances in staying up in their first year.
But now they have topped a very tough group, with two wins against Parnells and Fulham Irish, as well as a draw against Kingdom Kerry Gaels.