By Patrick Ward
Another intense weekend of action is on the cards across both codes in Kildare GAA for the men's and the ladies' games, with no less than six county teams playing in major championship fixtures.
The biggest of all comes on Sunday at 2pm when a hugely confident Kildare side travel to Croke Park for their first game in the inaugural Super 8 series, with Monaghan stepping up as the opponents. Kildare are in sensational form right now, winning four qualifier matches in a row and improving with each passing game, and the fact that the Lilywhites racked up 3-20 in Navan last Saturday on the way to a comfortable win over Fermanagh bodes well.
Monaghan managed to edge by the challenge of Laois in their own qualifier clash last Sunday, with Malachy O'Rourke's men joining Kildare, Galway and Kerry in Group 2 of the Super 8's. The Lilywhites will host Galway in their second game before travelling to Kerry for their final match in the group.
On Saturday afternoon in Limerick, the Kildare U20s who captured the Leinster title last week will face off against a massively talented Kerry team. Davy Burke's side won the Leinster title by breezing past Dublin in the final last Friday, and a cracking the lies in store in the Gaelic Grounds at 4pm. Before that, the Kildare U21 hurlers will take on Kerry in the same venue at 2pm. The Lilywhites beat Wicklow in their first game in the All-Ireland U21 B Hurling Championship.
This evening, the Kildare minor footballers will have a second crack at trying to make it to the Leinster final in Aughrim to take on Wicklow at 7pm in a replay of the sides' semi-final. The Garden County youngsters managed to secure a last gasp draw in a titanic battle in Newbridge last Sunday to ensure a second day out is needed.
On Sunday, the Kildare ladies kick off their All-Ireland Intermediate Football Championship campaign when they take on Wexford in Crettyard, Co Laois, at 2pm. The Lilies lost to Wexford in the opening round of the Leinster Championship, but they both enter into this secondary competition now. Wexford have already beaten Kildare on three occasions this year, so it will be a big challenge for Daniel Moynihan's side.
The Kildare minor ladies feature in one of the biggest games on the ladies calendar this weekend as they go in search of All-Ireland glory. Gavan Doyle's side will play Roscommon in Moate at 2pm in the All-Ireland Minor B final.
Plenty of these games will clash, the most obvious being the seniors men's and ladies' game, which is a shame considering there are many families who have players on both teams.
A fantastic weekend of action in store however, and it's great to see so many Kildare teams involved in these stages of their respective championships. C'mon the Lilywhites!
Feature photo shows Aaron Kennedy (St Laurences) blasts to the back of the net in extra time at last week's minor semi-final against Wicklow; the replay this evening is the first of a blockbuster card of Kildare GAA fixtures this weekend for no less than 6 county teams. Photo Pat Tinsley
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