By Eamonn Normanly
1 Carlow senior football championships final
The most important match of the year on the local football scene is finally here. After a season of blood, sweat and tears Rathvilly and Éire Óg will fight tooth and nail for the county title. Éire Óg certainly won’t be lacking confidence coming into this final, after beating Palatine in the semi-final, and dashing their hopes of winning three county titles in a row. But Rathvilly may also believe they have the upper hand as they’ve already beaten Éire Óg – 0-15 0-13 – earlier in the year.
Rathvilly will certainly be hungry for the title as they lost out to Palatine in last year’s county final, but this is Éire Óg’s first final since their victory in 2012 and they won’t let this opportunity pass too easily.
The minor football county final between Fenagh and Éire Óg will take place just before the senior final. Both teams will come in looking for the win, with Éire Óg looking to seal a senior minor double while Fenagh also have an U18/U16 double in their sights after their younger team beat Rathvilly in last Tuesday’s final.
2 FIFA World Cup Qualification
After a costly home loss to 10-man Serbia, Ireland face Moldova in a hugely important fixture on Friday night. The boys in green suffered two massive blows to qualifying during September, extinguishing their hopes of automatic qualification and now they will need to at least match Wales’s result in Georgia this evening and then try to overhaul the Welsh in Cardiff on Monday night. However, on the plus side, Wales talisman Gareth Bale is out of Monday’s game due to injury.
Martin O’Neill has recently announced a two-year extension of his contract, which means that he will stay on as manager until Euro 2020, no matter how he fares in his fierce battle for World Cup qualification.
3 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix 2017
The 42nd Japanese Grand Prix will take place this Sunday at the Suzuka Circuit. The race is the 16th round of the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship and it is the 32nd time that the race has been run as a World Championship event. The circuit is 5.8km long, so with 53 laps it is 307.47km in total.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton enters the round with a 34-point lead over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the Drivers’ Championship. Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas sits third, a further 25 points behind. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes hold a lead of 118 points over Ferrari, with Red Bull Racing a further 115 points behind in third place.
4 Super League Grand final: Castleford v Leeds
Castleford Tigers and Leeds Rhinos will battle it out for the chance to be Super League Champions in Old Trafford at 6pm this Saturday.
It is the first time ever Castleford have made it to a Grand Final so they will not go down easily. Leeds on the other hand have been in the Grand Final nine times and have won seven of them, more than any other Super League team.
Castleford will be without their new star-man Zak Hardaker who agreed a permanent deal with Castleford from Leeds in July. The full-back who scored 13 tries to lead the Tigers to the league leaders shield will miss the Old Trafford showpiece due to “a breach of club rules”.
Castleford were underdogs at the start of the season but after a fantastic campaign, they certainly will put it up to favourites Leeds and it could make a very exciting match.
5 Galway marathon
This Saturday, early on an Autumn morning, over 4,000 people will gather to take part in the Galway marathon. There will be three different races in which people will take part, the 10k run, the half-marathon and the full marathon. The marathon course in mostly flat, and has some beautiful views across Galway Bay.
The Irish cross-country skiing team will also partake in the marathon on Saturday. They will wear roller skis and will start just ahead of the runners. Team captain Dominic McAleenan leads Tadhg De Barra, who is favoured to represent Ireland in the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea in February 2018, Thomas Maloney, who is a K1 canoeist but is with the skiers as part of his training, and Brian Kennedy who completed in the 2017 world championships and is the son of a Tinryland native.