Preview: All Ireland SFC semi-finals

All Ireland SFC Semi-Finals

Saturday July 9

Galway v Derry, Croke Park, 5.30pm

This promises to be an intriguing encounter at GAA headquarters between two in form teams.

Derry's ruthless display at the quarter-final stage when scoring 5-13 against Clare illustrated the progress made under Rory Gallagher's shrewd management.


The following afternoon Galway were involved in a thriller against Armagh that went the distance. It could be similarly tight when the Tribesmen collide with Derry.

Throughout the Ulster Championship Derry demonstrated admirable composure when defeating Tyrone, Monaghan, and Donegal.


Shane McGuigan, Niall Loughlin, Gareth McKinless, and Benny Heron have contributed handsomely.

Elsewhere Chrissy McKaigue, Brendan Rogers, and Conor Glass have also enjoyed productive moments for a well organised Derry outfit.

Galway's passage into the last four has been tough too with wins over Mayo, Leitrim, Roscommon, and Armagh offering a reminder of the ability that exists in Pádraic Joyce's panel.

Cillian McDaid's contribution against Armagh was crucial, while Rob Finnerty, Shane Walsh, and Damien Comer carry a potent attacking threat.


Centre back John Daly is an influential figure for Galway, who chalked up an important Allianz Football League 4-11 to 0-12 win over Derry at Owenbeg earlier in March.

That will have little relevance this weekend considering Derry's improvement in the intervening months.


In three previous Championship meetings Galway have registered triumphs over Derry, including two semi-final victories in 1998 and 2001. The stakes are piled high once again.

Seán O'Shea, Kerry, and Brian Fenton, Dublin, in Allianz Football League action last year.
Seán O'Shea, Kerry, and Brian Fenton, Dublin, in Allianz Football League action last year.

Sunday July 10

Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, 3.30pm

The latest chapter in one of the great GAA rivalries will be scripted on Sunday afternoon.

Inevitably significant debate and interest surrounds the Dublin and Kerry game with both counties eager to return to an All Ireland final.

The 32nd Championship meeting involving Dublin and Kerry should be tasty.

Kerry motored smoothly through the Allianz Football League and Munster Championship before eventually shrugging off Mayo's resistance at the All Ireland quarter-final stage.

For Dublin the spring was disappointing, suffering relegation to Division Two in the League, but Dessie Farrell's team has improved considerably in the Championship.

Wexford, Meath, and Kildare were beaten with the minimum of fuss in Leinster before Dublin dealt with Cork last time out.

Injury doubts to key players, though, are a factor for the two teams entering what will be a revealing encounter.

Kerry, with manager Jack O'Connor eager to make an impact once more, will be looking to Seán Ó'Shea and David Clifford for inspiration, while Tom O'Sullivan will try to drive forward at every opportunity.

Con O'Callaghan, if available, will pose stern questions of the Kerry defence, while Ciarán Kilkenny and Cormac Costello have also enjoyed good moments in the Championship.

At centrefield Brian Fenton remains a classy performer for Dublin, who will be primed for the Kerry challenge.