Third in the group
The big goal of Antrim is to return to the McCarthy Cup after five years. Their league form was solid, beating Kerry last weekend and returning to the top flight with the Division 2 title.
Neil McManus. Cushendal’s talent has led the team for more than a decade, but in a fit of positive encouragement, he was injured two minutes later against Kerry and the forwards still conceded.
Explode from the blocks as they play their favorite Westmeet in the title on Sunday and travel to Carlo six days later. They have speed following the promotion and will look to return to Croke Park by mid-December if they can open two wins.
New manager Darren Gleeson has done well to bring back a number of key players who have not been available in recent seasons; Ciaran, Connor Johnston, Michael Bradley, Domnal Newgent, and Niall McKenna and Gerard Walsh.
Adan O’Brien, who made his debut in the Keho Cup last winter, competed against Kerry in the experienced team a week ago. Goalkeeper Ryan Elliott, who made his league debut against Limerick in 2018, is still a relative newcomer and is also learning his trade.
Darren Gleeson has a long way to go before he can match Porto club member Liam Shedi’s achievements, but he’s on the right track with Antrim. “He has a burning intensity when he talks to you like Liam,” he said, pulling the saffron up.
Darren Gleeson, who is doing well, is hugely successful in the league final, and is optimistic. Facing the first round clash with Westmeet is crucial. In the midst of great progress, another year at this level will not be the end of the world.
Leinster, who was eliminated after four defeats, competed in the SHC
A passion for the 2019 Leinster Championship, Carlo enjoyed great relationships against Kirkenny and Wexford. The decision to include a sixth team in Leinster from 2021 gives them a fighting chance to stay there next year – if they can make a comeback.
Marty Cavanaugh, Chris Nolan. The two will walk to another county team and remain at the center. Cavanagh, who scored 1-34 in the league, was a Leinster club finalist last December and Nolan, a junior, was a FitzGibbon Cup finalist in February.
Keep up the path. They could have broken their spirit with four championship defeats last summer, with an injured group experiencing another round of thumping in this year’s league. They will face an antrim team with two competitive games as they sit on the first weekend.
Damien Jordan took goals from Brian Tracy, played all the games in the league, kept clean sheets against Dublin and Laois, and caught Claire on a single goal. Carlo used 30 players in the league.
Dean Tobin and Thaddeus Daly were Celtic league players a few years ago. Ciaran Whelan was a key figure in the Carlo Under-20s last year. All three experienced game time in the league, albeit late as subs.
Colm Bonner was a turning point in his four-year rule. He enjoyed a lot of success, but it’s been 18 months or more. The league deportation last March was a real failure, and the championship will be a test of his management skills.
Kanda was the team. Going back to the fourth year under the Colm Bonner is a step away. They have given a very bad part, from a very small foundation, and may have a great need to rise again.
Fourth in the group
Donald Egg Cossack recently said that good teams have three basics; A good goalkeeper, a good free-taker and a good manager. Kerry has three of Martin Stackpool, Shane Conway and Fintan O’Connor, so a chance of a puncher.
Shane Conway. It’s only a few months since Lixna Mann gave up on the late scoring that lifted UCC to Fitzgerald Cup victory. The Talisman weighed in with a score of 1-14 against Antrim last weekend.
It has been argued that Kerry relies heavily on Conway, so they need to step in if they want others to play the game for the title. Last weekend goalkeeper Mikey Boyle, the mighty Fiona McKessie, O’Leary and Shane Nolan all had the ability to lose weight.
The relatively experienced team played against O’Connor Antrim last weekend, from 2019 captain Stockpool, current captain Brian Murphy to Shane Nolan and Boyle. Thomas O’Connor has a great future in the Kerry defense.
Kerry loses to Cork in the Munster Quarterfinals Michael Slatery shot 1-4 in the Under-20s against Antrim for the Seniors. Another under-20 starter, Dan Gogh, also came in for the seniors and is growing to be a great player.
Fintan O’Connor is in charge of the seniors and under-20s, so there is a finger on the pulse in the country. They have a favorable McDonald Cup schedule with Meath First Up in the trolley. Trips to Mallinger and Corrigan Park in Antrim will challenge or break his team.
It was a great league final against Antrim. If it weren’t for the Kilmoyley boys, they would have added a lot. Of course the competitors, Shane Conway are on an aggression to win if they can get more support.
Christie Ring Cup winners, promoted to McDonald’s Cup
Christie Ring Cup holders raise a level so they can do it all. No wonder they are 33/1 out for the title. This weekend’s Round 1 game in Kerry offers a decent chance for a great start.
Padreig O’Hanrahan. A good free-taker is a godsend, and O’Hanrahan scores a lot for meat. He is in form with 10 points in Rathore’s county semi-final, winning a final they have never played before.
In fact, the players need to be deployed to reach Croke Park on December 13th, to make sure the title.
Trim goalkeeper Charlie Ennis has put in a stellar performance since two-time Ring Cup winner Shane McGann left this year. Senior Mickey Burke is not a newcomer, but it’s the first season since he left the football setup and returned.
Potterton is a well-known name in Meath Hurling, and Nikki is the latest genius to attack for the Royals. Peter Slevin from Na Fianna and Emon O’Donchada of Klan Na Gael are two things that give Bosnik Ware hope.
The 8-18 leak against Ofali last January baptized new manager Nick Ware. Roharni stabilized things in Division 2A of the Man League, which they opened with a two-point loss to Ofali, but was never in the promotion film.
Spiritual leader Nick Fitzgerald is lost, and Nick Ware advances. That said, their goal is to stay at Joe McDonagh. The battle is to get some home results and stay out of the deportation playoffs.
Laois lost in the final
Westmeath also has a 100% record of qualifying for the Joe McDonald’s Cup Final – they lost. They have reached every final so far but lost to Carlo in 2018 and Laois last year. They are a favorite of bookmakers to make a fortune a third time, and will not diminish it.
Killian Doyle. Westmeath has a lot of class effects – Angus Clark, Robbie Grewille, Darag Clinton, Niall Mitchell, Tommy Doyle – but Doyle is a great forward and free-taker, snapping 1-28 in three league starts.
Westmeet needs a quick start and a strong finish to their group campaign. They begin with a journey to Antrim. Win it, they will be in a polar position in the second 5 home draw against Carlo. They have never beaten Carlo in a McDonald’s Cup.
Shane O’Brien used 29 different players in the league, of which only six started each game, so a lot of experimentation took place. Ten people on the panel included Kilkenny in the 2016 Under-21 Championship defeat, so it’s more of a spinning door than a group committed to gaining valuable experience every year.
Goalkeepers Brian McHugh and Josh Cole, who played in the 2019 Under-20 Championship, played in the league this year, starting with a call-up against Tipperary and a 0-2 draw against Limerick.
Last year’s coach Shane O’Brien was a relatively surprising choice to replace Joe Quaid. He jumped to the deep end of Division 1, but competed with Westmeath Waterford, Limerick and Cork, overtaking Cork 1-13 to 3-5 in the 20th minute in horrific conditions, the kind they could experience in the coming weeks.
I will make them favorites. Shane O’Brien stepped forward and added a stellar team around him. Davey Glenn is just a big signing in this position but it may give them the distance to achieve it. It will be frustrating to make amends for the last disappointment of the past year.
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