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Miltown St Joseph's and Kilmurry Ibrickane will be in action against Kildysart and Doonbeg respectively this weekend.

Rivalries renewed as Cusack and Garry Cup action resumes

With Corofin having edged out Kilrush Shamrocks 0-9 to 0-8 on Thursday evening, Eoin Brennan previews the rest of this weekend’s football action

Cusack Cup Round 3
Kildysart v St Joseph’s Miltown at Kildysart, Saturday 2pm

Two sides poised in mid-table that depending on this result will be either back in contention for Cusack Cup honours or looking over their shoulder at the dreaded return of relegation danger. Of course, it’s a senior versus intermediate tie but Kildysart, outside of intermediate final stumbling blocks, have invariably performed more as a senior side these past few years and will be determined to maintain their top flight status. Ten points separated the sides in Miltown’s favour ten months ago but Kildysart now at home, this rare meeting will be much closer.

Clondegad v Ennistymon at Ballynacally, Saturday 4pm
With the spoils shared equally in recent seasons, this will be seen as a keen barometer for two sides hoping to better their lot in the Clare footballing hierarchy. Clondegad claimed the last significant result to overcome the North Clare side in the 2019 Semi-Final but Ennistymon actually exacted full revenge last year when inflicting a first defeat of the campaign on their rivals. That result effectively ended Clondegad’s Cusack Cup hopes with a second successive home victory this time around enough to do likewise to Mark Shannon’s side who haven’t had a great recent experience around the Shanon Estuary, having fallen to Kildysart a fortnight previously.

Kilmurry Ibrickane v Doonbeg at Páirc Naomh Mhuire Quilty, Saturday 4pm
This age old derby rivalry hasn’t exactly set the world alight in recent seasons as both sides have been at different levels of development. However, while Kilmurry Ibrickane’s history making eight-in-a-row Cusack Cup title feat from 2011-2018 seems a long way away now as they remain bottom of the Division 1 table after low-scoring back-to-back reverses, the Magpies are currently enjoying a perfect start under new management.
A result in either direction would be signifiant as Doonbeg will enter as slight favourites to preserve their winning run but equally the hosts would relish the opportunity to dent their neighbours’ title aspirations.

Éire Óg v St Breckan’s at Éire Óg, Saturday 6pm
Another top versus bottom encounter and another glorious opportunity for an underdog to gain retribution. After all, despite feeling as if they had paid their dues after being agonisingly edged out in the 2020 senior championship semi-final, St Breckan’s were duly brushed aside by eventual
county champions Éire Óg last October to qualify for their first Jack Daly decider since 2014.
That defeat and more importantly its uncharacteristic manner resulted in plenty of introspection around Lisdoonvarna in the intervening months. While back-to-back Cusack Cup victories over the Townies won’t be overly therapeutic, it would still keep St Breckan’s at the helm of the table nearing the midway mark.

Garry Cup Round 3
Corofin v Kilrush Shamrocks at Páirc Finne Corofin, Thursday 7.30pm

That Corofin and Kilrush would swap championship places for 2022 certainly couldn’t have been foreseen following their corresponding fixture last year that the Shams eased by 13 points. However, the falseness of the league was brought home to Kilrush when dropping straight back down to intermediate level whereas twelve months after being defeated in the final, the North Clare side cemented intermediate honours. Corofin’s concession of a walkover last weekend in the hurling equivalent was very alarming though.

Cooraclare v Lissycasey at Cooraclare, Saturday 4pm
While they cantered to the Garry Cup title in 2021, Lissycasey appear to have much more of a fight on their hands this time around as the prospect of two promotion places has thrown up an early four horse race with St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield, O’Curry’s and Corofin.
Cooraclare meanwhile had yet to get off the mark in the division but having dropped down from the Cusack Cup with neighbours Lissycasey at the backend of 2019, the Milesians certainly won’t want to become embroiled in yet another relegation dogfight especially after last year’s championship trapdoor cost them their senior lives.

Kilmihil v St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield at St Michael’s Park Kilmihil, Saturday 4pm
St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield’s 17 point pummelling of Kilmihil in the senior championship was certainly one of the most emphatic results of the entire campaign, particularly being the Parish’s first year back in the top tier.
They have maintained that upward development curve so far in 2022 with eight goals in their flawless two match run so far. Kilmihil meanwhile are still seeking their first points but do have home advantage cling to for any backlash hopes.

Shannon Gaels v O’Curry’s at Labasheeda, Saturday 4pm
An all-Intermediate clash that is surprisingly a brow versus basement affair as O’Curry’s have already taken down 2021 senior duo Kilmihil and Kilrush whereas the Gaels have been lowered by the last two intermediate winners St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield and Corofin. O’Curry’s also got the better of their two match series with Shannon Gaels in 2021, shading their Garry Cup tie by four points before they had to share the opening championship spoils.

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