We’re getting to the midpoint of the football championships and after this weekend, nine teams will be finished for the year.
There are four games down for decision across three venues tonight.
There are two IFC and two SFC Round 3 games to be played with the winners progressing to the semi and quarter finals respectively while the losers will be out.
In the SFC, both games are in O’Moore Park with the clash of O’Dempsey’s and Crettyard Gaels at 6pm being followed by Ballyroan-Abbey and Arles-Killeen at 7.30pm.
While in the IFC Round 3, Portlaoise and The Rock go to battle in Mountmellick at 7pm with Courtwood and Timahoe doing likewise in Stradbally at 7.30pm
Here, we will take a look at each of the games in more detail:
SFC R3 – O’Dempsey’s v Crettyard Gaels
This is a clash of two teams coming into this game off the back of very different results.
O’Dempsey’s were absolutely hammered by Portlaoise in Round 2 and Offaly native Peter Brady has a real job on his hands to get his side to recover for this one.
Meanwhile, Crettyard Gaels did enough to just about see off a stubborn Clonaslee Gaels side and get their push to match last year’s semi-final exploits back on track.
O’Dempsey’s were riding the crest of a wave before hitting that bump two weeks ago.
In the space of 12 months, they had been crowned IFC and Division 1A champions before beating Ballyfin Gaels with ease in Round 1.
They welcomed Conor Meredith back to the fold after an injury lay-off but they were no match for the Town.
Crettyard Gaels lost narrowly to Ballyroan-Abbey the first day but will now have the full attentions of the Ballinakill lads after they were eliminated from the SHC last week.
Nevertheless, we reckon there will be a response from O’Dempsey’s to that Portlaoise loss.
ODDS – O’Dempsey’s 4/11, Crettyard 5/2, Draw 15/2
SFC R3 – Ballyroan-Abbey v Arles-Killeen
This does seem like something of a miss-match.
Arles-Killeen went all the way with Portarlington on two occasions before losing to the replay after extra time in Round 1 but then recovered from a slow start to defeat Mountmellick Gaels comfortably enough in Round 2
Where as Ballyroan-Abbey relied on some very poor shooting from Crettyard Gaels to win Round 1 and were then absolutely trounced by Portarlington in Round 2.
So, both of these teams have lost to Portarlington but the manner of the defeats has been extremely different.
Arles-Killeen also got the better of Ballyroan-Abbey in last years championship and we can’t see anything but a similar outcome here.
ODDS – Arles-Killeen 1/6 Ballyroan-Abbey 4/1 Draw 12/1
IFC R3 – Timahoe v Courtwood
Both of these sides will be welcoming players back to the fold who haven’t played so far this year.
Timahoe have been without Damien O’Connor and Seán Ramsbottom for virtually all of the championship so far.
Ramsbottom suffered a hamstring injury and made his first appearance with ten minutes to go against Annanough two weeks’ ago.
Damien O’Connor dislocated his shoulder before the start of the competition but return to play in a recent challenge game against Killeshin and should be fit to start.
As for Courtwood, they will welcome Danny Luttrell back to the fold after he spent the summer in America.
So it will come down to which of these players can make the biggest impact.
Both of these have suffered defeats to Rosenallis with Timahoe defeating Annanough and Courtwood beating The Rock.
But perhaps it will be the Round Tower men who will prevail.
IFC R3 – Portlaoise v The Rock
Both of these teams reached the semi-finals last year but only one of them will be there this year.
Portlaoise’s second team began with a win over Barrowhouse but followed that with a defeat to Emo.
As with all second teams, they are at risk of losing players to their senior team and have already seen Kevin Fitzpatrick, Shane Smyth and Dean Cullen become unavailable to them for this reason.
As for The Rock, they showed great heart to push Courtwood all the way in a narrow defeat in Round 1 and were rewarded for that effort by defeating Barrowhouse in Round 2.
However, Portlaoise have been good so far and they may just have too much quality for The Rock in the end.