HomeFootballKerry win sets up Armagh clash as Donegal to face Galway in...

Kerry win sets up Armagh clash as Donegal to face Galway in wide open All-Ireland semi-finals

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Donegal will meet Galway and Kerry will face Armagh in the last four of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, decided after a tumultuous and entertaining weekend of Gaelic games at HQ.

It’s the first semi-final fixture list since 2009 not to feature Dublin, with the reigning All-Ireland champions dumped unceremoniously out of the Championship by a revitalised Galway on Saturday.

In order to avoid any repeat pairings, Donegal could only draw the Connacht outfit, with a draw ultimately not necessary.

Kerry’s win over Derry tees up a repeat of the 2002 All-Ireland final, as they face more Ulster opposition in the shape of Armagh.

The most anticipated match of the weekend lacked quality, with both teams laborious at stages, but a fired up Kerry showed determination to pull away and win on a 0-15 0-10 scoreline.

Enda McGinley described the match as “really poor”, though it will concern Jack O’Connor little, as Kerry march on to face the Ulster runners-up.

With many of The Kingdom’s bigger names quiet, Dylan Geaney and Killian Spillane chipped in with crucial scores from the bench in what was their first true test in this Championship campaign.

For Derry, it brings an end to a season that has been turbulent above all, and they remain with only a solitary win in their history against Kerry.

Armagh will be eager to test themselves against The Kingdom, having carried the favourites’ tag admirably in a six-point win over Roscommon, ending their Croke Park hoodoo in doing so.

An emotional Kieran McGeeney described victory as “a monkey off the back”, with the Orchard manager also having suffered the loss of his uncle Peter Kelly on Friday.

Eoghan Ban Gallagher in action for Donegal during their draw with Galway in the Allianz Football League Division One match in Letterkenny on Sunday Picture: Margaret McLaughlin
Eoghan Ban Gallagher in action for Donegal during their draw with Galway in the Allianz Football League Division One match in Letterkenny last year. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin

The other pairing sees Jim McGuinness and Pádraic Joyce go head to head. The Westerners could make a second final in three years, with the Tír Chonaill men aiming to secure a place in the showpiece event for the first time since 2014.

The sides last met in the 2023 Allianz Division 1 campaign, one which saw Donegal relegated, although they did manage a 1-09 1-09 draw against Joyce’s charges in February 2023.

They will reflect less fondly on the sides last Championship meeting, one in which both Michael Murphy and Martin McElhinney were sent off back in 2017.

The wily Johnny Heaney, who was effective from the bench in The Tribesmen’s quarter-final upset at the weekend, slotted in a brace of goals on that occasion en route to a 4-17 0-14 win in a Qualifier win seven years ago.

Both Shane Walsh and Damien Comer started on that occasion, as they did for the first time this year against Dublin.

Donegal’s win over Louth showcased their scoring ability in Croke Park, with the likes Michael Langan looking at home on his way to three points, while red-hot Peadar Mogan clipped over five.

An unbeaten Galway have yet to concede a goal in this year’s Championship however.

The All-Ireland semi-finals are pencilled in for the weekend of the 13/14 July.

All-Ireland semi-final fixtures
– Armagh v Kerry
– Donegal v Galway

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