Leinster football final and Galway decider are the highlights of GAA club action
The Leinster showpiece and the long-awaited Galway senior final are set to bring down the curtain on the 2014 club season this weekend.
AIB Leinster Club SFC Final
Rhode v St Vincent’s
Sunday, 2pm, Pairc Tailteann
It's very much a case of the underdogs taking on the favourites this Sunday as the AIB Leinster club football championship series draws to a close in Navan.
Rhode are in another provincial decider against a Dublin outfit, having lost to Kilmacud Crokes in 2008 and 2010, and their first ever decider in '06 to Moorefield.
However, they are fully deserving of their appearance in Sunday's showpiece after gaining revenge for that Leinster loss against the Kildare champions last month in their semi final. They also impressed in a huge win over Navan O'Mahony's by 4-10 to 0-13 points in the quarter final.
Niall McNamee is undoubtedly one of the brightest attacking talents in the country, and along with Anton Sullivan and Paul McPadden, they will pose much more of a threat to the Vincent's full back line than any other team has up to now.
The Dublin side enjoy quick starts and use early scores to break any resistance their opponents may have planned in the opening minutes.
They racked up 1-2 inside five minutes against Portlaoise while they also grabbed an early goal against Garrycastle but to the credit of the Westmeath champions, they fought back to level things up early in the second half.
The Dessie Dolan-led side did exposed some weaknesses in the Vincent's set up and Rhode will be looking to take that a step further on Sunday.
Vincent's midfield struggled for long periods after a bright start and Diarmuid Connolly is often forced out the field to gather possession which blunts their edge closer to goal.
Their tackling is also somewhat borderline and a fussy referee could see the Dublin champions cough up a lot of frees to an opposition who have the players to take the opportunities that arise.
Vincent's is a challenge that no side in 2013 managed to negotiate and in 2014, despite some wobbles, they are still the most impressive club side around with a huge reserve of talent on the bench.
Rhode don't have a good record in finals and their management will know that every single chance will need to be taken in Navan if they are to dethrone the champions.
Last week's hurling was decided by extra time and we have a feeling that it might be a similar situation on Sunday. If Rhode hang in there for as long as possible and break even at midfield then they have a massive chance.
However, with the best club player in the country, Diarmuid Connolly, on form for Vincent's they should progress to the spring time and the latter stages of the AIB GAA Club Championship.
This weekend of course also sees the AIB GAA Senior club football q-final clash of Tir Chonaill Gaels from London and Corofin of Galway at 1pm at Ruislip.
Galway Club SHC Final
Gort v Portumna
Sunday, 1.30pm, Kenny Park
The latest county hurling final of the year takes place this Sunday in Galway as All-Ireland champions Portumna face great rivals Gort after a two month break of action.
The delay is all down to the incredibly drawn out process of Turloughmore's various appeals to the DRA about their expulsion from the Galway championship.
It means that Portumna have been waiting a solid two months to resume action after beating Craughwell on October 12th while Gort at least have had some competitive games in the run up to Christmas with their semi final win over Beagh coming on the 30th of November.
The champions haven't been moving as slickly as they can but then again they were in action until March of this year and effectively have been on the go for the last 18 months non-stop.
Beating Craughwell in the semi is of no use now considering the enormous break and that's why we feel that Gort could finally get one over on their rivals in a decider and secure a second title in four years.