Eadestown Rony Slattery lays off his hand pass as St Laurences Padraig Fogarty covers in the Preliminary Round of the 2021 SFC
With the groups settled following last weekend's preliminary rounds of the Kildare SFC and IFC, we now move into the opening round of both this weekend, while there is also action from the Tom Cross JFC.
All the senior games are down for decision this Saturday in St Conleth's Park, Newbridge and the Manguard Plus COE, Hawkfield.
The opening game at St Conleth's sees Castledermot take on Clane in Group C. Expect a tight game here with the nod going to the boys in all-white who lost to Sarsfields but still put in a very credible display.
'Dermot fell to Carbury but put in a strong display, coming from well off the pace to lose by just three. Could be tight but Clane get the nod. Game 2 in St Conleth's Park sees Carbury take on favourites Sarsfields. The Sash were very impressive against Clane while Carbury did get over Castledermot, who they beat by three points, having led by 11 at one stage. Sarsfields are flying at the minute and get a confident vote.
The 4 pm game is in the Losers' Group in Conleth's where Moorefield and Raheens will both be hoping to get back to winning ways, both having fallen last week to Maynooth and Johnstownbridge respectively.
Roli Sweeney will be hoping his players show a bit more composure in possession and more intent up front while Frank Hanniffy will be expecting Raheens to show a bit more penetration in attack. Expect a tight one here, Moorefield get the vote, but not with any great degree of confidence.
The final game at Newbridge Headquarters throws-in at 6 pm with Athy taking on Naas.
The champs looked at times in top form in their win over Round Towers yet only managed to win by two points, conceding four goals (having conceded just two in the entire 2020 season). No doubt they will be hoping to tighten up at the back this time around.
Naas were too strong for Clogherinkoe, and while they were not overly impressive, nevertheless it was a game they were never going to lose. Athy get the vote with Niall Kelly in brilliant form, Paudi Behan looked very lively but they will have to be on their guard. Luke Griffin, Eamonn Callaghan and Darragh Kirwan all did well fro Naas in that opener.
Meanwhile Manguard Plus COE, Hawkfield is the venue for the four other SFC games on Saturday with the opening clash (12 noon) between Johnstownbridge and Maynooth and after their impressive showing against Raheens, JTB will be hoping to begin the group games with a win over Maynooth who shocked Moorefield in the preliminary round.
The Bridge could be missing Luke Flynn who looked to pull up with a hamstring on Sunday last but with Daniel Flynn in flying form, along with Sam Doran and Sean Hurley should still have too much for Maynooth who will be again looking to Mark Donnellan and Neil Flynn and two goal hero Eoin Donnellan to get over the line.
Game 2 in Hawkfield sees Celbridge take on Eadestown. Celbridge were in total charge against Confey while Eadestown showed against St Laurence's they are a team not to be taken too lightly. Even so the experience of the boys from the north of the county should get them over the line.
The 4 pm throw-in at Hawkfield St Laurence's and Confey in Group C and The Larries should have too much for Confey who are struggling big-time at present.
The final Round 1 game of the SFC at Hawkfield will see Clogherinkoe take on Round Towers. Jack Robinson was simply brilliant against Naas and if Glenn Ryan's boys are to record a win they will have to put the shackles on Robinson and while that is easier said than done, the boys in black and amber get the nod to record a win.
Another eight games down for decision here starting on Friday evening in Rahens where Ballymore take on Leixlip. Both of these would have eyes on the business end of the campaign.
Ballymore were impressive against Allenwood while Leixlip were too strong for Nurney. Leixlip can win this one but only if they can keep tabs on Niall Murphy who was very impressive against Allenwood.
Monasterevan take on Sallins in Hawkfield, also on Friday. The Blues hit Suncroft with four goals in the prelim round while Sallins raised 15 points against Kevin's. Tight game but the vote goes to Monasterevan.
Two IFC games at Conneff Park, Clane on Saturday. In the first one at 4 pm, Kilcock clash with Rathangan while at 6pm Ballyteague play Straffan. Wins expected for Kilcock and Straffan.
Caragh take on Ellistown in Hawkfield (Saturday at 8) and the maroon clad boys are enjoying a great run at the minute. Ellistown had a good win over Milltown, hitting 4-9 but Caragh will be a different prospect, they defeated Two Mile House in the opener and could record another win here.
St Kevin's and Suncroft meet in Ballyteague on Saturday (2 pm) and this one could go either way, both were poor in their opening game and will be desperate to turn their respective form around. The Jimmy Hyland factor could swing it.
Milltown take on Two Mile House on Sunday in Newbridge at 1 pm with The House getting the nod to prevail.
Meanwhile the Tom Cross JFC continues with six games down for decision on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
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