Co Sligo, who meet Banbridge in the second semi-final, are back in contention to retain the Senior Cup they captured for the fourth time at Royal Tara last year. The Rosses Point club will look to players like Sean Flanagan, Steffan O’Hara, David Brady and Mark Morrissey to retain the trophy. Their semi-final opponents Banbridge have yet to win the Senior Cup but vastly experienced players like Rory Leonard, Conor Doran and Jim Carvill are in their line-up and will take a lot of beating.
Tramore meet Rosslare in the first senior semi-final and must go back to 1992 at Killarney for their only success in the event. Robin Dawson pictured, the gifted 18-year-old who made his senior international debut this year, is their key man. Alan Thomas, Chris Butler, David Kiely and former Waterford hurler Paul Flynn are also in the side. Having come through the Leinster section and disposing of Hermitage easily at Mount Juliet on Sunday, surprise qualifiers Rosslare must be treated with respect. However, with the exception of Leinster interpro Gary Collins, the remainder of their side, Mark Mullen, Paul Murphy, Tony O’Leary and Ian Lynch, are relatively unknown.
Warrenpoint have become Barton Shield experts in recent years, having captured the foursomes championship five times since 1987 and looking good once again on Sunday when defeating Shandon Park in the provincial decider at Moyola Park. Their quartet consists of Paul Reavey and Stephen Coulter and East of Ireland champion Colm Campbell and Ryan Gribben.
The Ulster club face three-time winners Royal Dublin, whose squad includes three players — Kelen McDonagh, Barry Anderson and Ian O’Rourke — closely linked with Athlone, Co Sligo and Cork respectively and also Richard Knightly, who reached this year’s South of Ireland Championship semi-final.
Muskerry’s semi-final opponents are Athenry, with captain Greg O’Sullivan likely to stick with the partnerships of Niall Gorey and David O’Donovan and John Waldron and Daniel Hallissey that have brought them out of Munster and poised to regain a title they last won in 1953.
In contrast, Athenry’s Brian O’Reilly, Martin Hynes, David Byrne and Joe Beirne are little-known outside of Connacht.
AIG Irish finals, Carton House, September 17-20.
Wednesday, September 17. AIG Barton Shield semi-finals: Warrenpoint v Royal Dublin (10.30am); Athenry v Muskerry (10.50am).
AIG Junior Cup semi-finals: Castle v Warrenpoint (11am); Castletroy v Athenry (11.50am).
Thursday, September 18: Junior Cup final (10.20am); Barton Shield final (11am).
AIG Pierce Purcell Shield semi-finals: Enniscrone v Spanish Point (11. 40am); Rossmore v Coollattin (12.20pm) .
Friday, September 19: AIG Senior Cup semi-finals: Rosslare v Tramore (8.30am); Co Sligo v Banbridge (9.20am); Pierce Purcell Shield final (10. 30am); AIG Jimmy Bruen Shield semi-finals: Lisselan v Strandhill (12pm); Strabane v Waterford, 12.40pm).
Saturday, September 20: Jimmy Bruen Shield final, (9am); Senior Cup final (10.30am).