Exactly a year ago, we were looking forward to the All-Ireland football final between Dublin and Mayo. Twelve months on and the football championship is all but a memory after its rescheduling in the GAA's new-look calendar.

The days are starting to draw in and the the respective club championships across the land will be decided in the weeks ahead.

That said, despite the earlier finish to the inter-county scene, half of the 32 club football championships are behind where they were in 2017. In a study carried out by my colleague Declan Whooley, half of the 32 club football championships are behind where they were in 2017.

Looking at the 10 hurling counties that competed in the Leinster and Munster hurling championships this season, again only Waterford are ahead of last year’s schedule. 

And so to this weekend, some counties are making good progress in concluding their respective competitions.

Slaughtneil hurlers are in search of a 12th county title

In Derry, Slaughtneil are eyeing a sixth consecutive county hurling title and they face Kevin Lynch Hurling club in the semi-final, with Banagher up against Lavey in the other semi.

Saturday 15 September
Banagher v Lavey, Celtic Park, 5.30

Sunday 16 September
Slaughtneil v Kevin Lynch, Ballinascreen, 3.30pm

Imokilly players celebrate their 2017 success on Leeside

At the other end of the country, the Cork hurling championship is at the quarter-final stage. Divisional side Imokilly, the defending champions, take on Newcestown, a club still searching for a first senior county win. Another last-eight clash sees Blackrock take on St Finbarr's. Between them, they have 57 titles to their name, but it's 2002 and 1993 respectively since they last tasted success. 

Saturday 15 September
Blackrock v St Finbarrs, Páirc Uí Chaoimh 3.30pm
Midleton v Newtownshanmdrum, Páirc Uí Chaoimh 5.00pm

Sunday 16 September
Imokilly v Newcestown, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 4.30
Sarsfields v UCC, Páirc uí Chamoimh, 6.15pm  

Carlow football had another good year in 2018 and their club championship is firmly at the business end.

Holders Éire Óg and Palatine are already through to the semis, with Tinryland or Mt Leinster Rangers and Rathvilly or St Andrew's to join them in the last four.

Saturday 15 September
Tinryland v Mt Leinster Rangers, Netwatch Dr Cullen Park, 6.30

Sunday 16 September
Rathvilly v St Andrew's, Netwatch Dr Cullen Park, 6.30 

Dr Crokes are in search of a 13th title in the Kingdom

Elsewhere in football, Dr Crokes remain on course to retain the Kerry county championship. They will take on An Ghaeltacht for a place in the quarter-finals as the Round 3 games are decided.

Saturday 15 September
Dingle v St Kieran's, Austin Stack Park, 5pm
South Kerry v Rathmore, Killorglin, 5pm

Sunday 16 September 
Mid Kerry v St Brendan's Board, Fitzgerald Stadium 2pm, 
Dr Crokes v An Ghaeltacht, Fitzgerald Stadium, 3.45pm

St Brigid's coach Frankie Dolan

In Roscommon, 2017 winners St Brigid's (3rd) are on the road against Roscommon Gaels (2nd - better points difference) in a vital match in Section A. Both club are on five points, one behind leaders Clann na nGael who face bottom club Boyle. The top two in the section qualify for the semis.


The third and fourth placed teams in Section A take on the top two sides in Section B in the quarter-finals. Padraig Pearses, Elphin and St Faithleach's are in contention to advance from the latter grouping. 

It's a case of we'll meet again in Longford, with Clonguish and Dromard set for another tussle to settle their quarter-final encounter. Defending champions Mullinalaghta St. Columba's await in the semis on Saturday, 22 September. The first semi-final sees Abbeylara take on Colmcille

Sunday 16 September
Clonguish v Dromard, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, 1.45pm
Abbeylara v Colmcille, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, 3.30pm

Cavan Gaels' Micheal Lyng

Cavan Gaels eye a 15th crown in the land of the Breffni and they face Gowna in the last eight. Last year's runners-up Castlerahan host Kingscourt Stars.

Saturday 15 September 
Lavey v Lacken GAA, Athletic Grounds, 5pm
Castlerahan v Kingscourt Stars, Edwin Carolan Community Park, 5.30pm

Sunday 16 September 
Gowna v Cavan Gaels, Lacken GAA, 3pm 
Crosserlough v Ramor United, St Matthews Park, 5pm

Tourlestrane's Eamonn O'Hara and Shane Dunne celebrate last year's county success

Eamonn O'Hara and Gerry McGowan guided Tourlestrane to a Sligo title in 2017 and St Molaise Gaels stand between them and a date with Coolera/Strandhill in the semi-finals. 

Saturday 15 September
Coolaney/Mullinabreena v Calry St Joseph's, Bunninadden Community Park, 5pm

Sunday 16 September
Tourlestrane v St Molaise Gaels, Bunninadden Community Park, 5pm 

Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada

Mohill won a seventh Leitrim title last autumn and face Allen Gaels in the quarters.  

Saturday 15 September
Allen Gaels v Mohill, Páirc Seán MacDiarmada, 4.30
Seán Ó Heislin v Glencar Manorhamilton, Páirc Seán MacDiarmada, 6pm

Sunday 16 September 
Gortletteragh v St Mary's-Kiltog, Ballinamaore, 1.30pm
Achadh Mhaolláin v Gaeil na Meilge, Páirc Seán MacDiarmada, 4.30