The clash of Galway and Dublin brings the curtain down on the U-21 football championship, while this weekend also sees hurling action in the Leinster round-robin and the Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher Cups, writes James McMahon.

SATURDAY 29 APRIL

All-Ireland U-21 football final 
1700 Galway v Dublin, O'Connor Park, Tullamore

Who then will be crowned the last ever All-Ireland champions in this grade? Next year will see the start of a new chapter for those at U-20.

It's fair to say that over the years the U-21 competition has produced some great games since its inception in 1964. Between them Galway and Dublin share nine titles, with the Dubs tasting success on three occasions so far in this decade, while the Tribesemen have twice tasted success in the same period.

After a hat-trick of All-Ireland minor wins - 2014-'16 - it was expected that Kerry would go all the way in this final instalment. That confidence gained more credence after their demolition of Cork in the Munster final. 

However, Galway did not read script when the sides met in the semi-final a fortnight ago. Gary Fahy's side, fresh from an extra-time win over Sligo in the Connacht decider, led the charge right from the off. They had the ball in Kingdom net after 21 seconds after were 1-07 to 0-01 to the good after 10 minutes. 

By half-time, Galway were eight points clear and while Kerry goaled just after the resumption, they could never reel their opponents in, for whom Peter Cook in midfield and Michael Daly were outstanding.

All told it was a great team effort by the westerners. They won't lack for confidence in Tullamore. 

Dublin may not have been as dashing against Donegal on Easter Saturday, but were comfortable winners against rivals who had strong hopes of reaching final.

Aaron Byrne

Despite losing Con O'Callaghan to a black card early on, Dessie Farrell's men were the more creative of the sides and combined solid defending with pace and accuracy on the break as they booked their place in the decider. 

Aaron Byrne's thrusting runs that yielded crucial points in the second half and Sean McMahon's goal late on put the seal on Dublin's victory.

Galway are marginally the favourites with the bookies in what should be a fitting finale for this grade. 

Christy Ring Cup Round 2A 
1400 Antrim v Down, Cushendall 
1500 Kildare v Wicklow, Newbridge

Christy Ring Cup Round 2B 
1500 Carlow v Mayo, Netwatch Cullen Park 
1800 Roscommon v London, Dr Hyde Park

Antrim's Neil McManus

The Christy Ring served up some close finishes in Round 1. Extra time was needed to separate Carlow and Antrim, with the Saffrons eventually prevailing by the bare minimum. It was also that close as Wicklow and Kildare got the better of London and Mayo respectively.

It was more comfortable for Down in their seven-point win over Roscommon. 

Expect more close encounters in Round 2, with the winners from last week meeting in Cushendall and Newbridge.  

Nicky Rackard Cup Round 2A 
1500 Derry v Longford, Owenbeg 
1500 Tyrone v Donegal, Carrickmore

Nicky Rackard Cup Round 2B 
1500 Armagh v Louth, Athletic Grounds

Lory Meagher Cup Round 2 
1400 Leitrim v Cavan, Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada 
1400 Warwickshire v Sligo, Páirc na hEireann 
1430 Lancashire v Fermanagh, Old Bedians, Manchester

SUNDAY 30 APRIL

Leinster SHC Round 2 
1500
Meath v Laois, Páirc Tailteann 
1500 Westmeath v Kerry, TEG Cusack Park

Meath and Laois were the winners in the opening round and so we're set up for what should be a cracking encounter. The Royals are back in Leinster for the first time since 2004 and after the win over Kerry, their manager Martin Ennis is determined that they can make their mark.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport, he said: "We know plenty about Laois as some of our lads know some of their guys from playing with Carlow IT.

"I hope we can get the same support we got today for what should be a cracker of a game. As of now we fancy our chances against anybody."

In Mullingar, it's a case of win or bust as Westmeath host Kerry. 

ONLINE
Live blog on RTÉ.ie and the RTÉ News Now App on the U-21 football final from 1630 on Saturday.

TV
Live coverage of Galway v Dublin from 1645 on TG4. Live streaming on GAAGO.ie

RADIO
Live commentary on Galway v Dublin from 1700 on Raidió na Gaeltachta.

WEATHER
Saturday: 
Rather breezy with fresh south to southeast winds. Some scattered outbreaks of rain, with a lot of cloud cover in general. Best of any sunny spells across the midlands, north and east. Highest temperatures 11 to 14 degrees Celsius, with best values across the midlands. 

Sunday: Rain likely across the south and east.