Garrycastle manager Gary Dolan can look ahead to a Leinster club semi-final meeting with Ballyboden St Enda's after a tumultuous weekend for him and his family.

As explained yesterday, Dolan's wife Emer gave birth to a baby at 3am on Sunday morning in Portiuncula Hospital and the manager had to grab a couple of hours sleep before rushing to Mullingar ahead of the 1.30pm throw-in. 

The Westmeath champions overcame Ratoath in a tense and exciting quarter-final, withstanding a second half comeback from the Meath side to win 3-11 to 2-12.

Their reward is a date with the Dublin champions on Sunday week, Ballyboden having finished strongly to see off Louth kingpins Newtown Blues in Drogheda.   

The 2016 All-Ireland champions are unbeaten in both league and championship in the capital this year - a rare achievement - and Dolan cites dual star Colly Basquel as their brightest talent. 

"We played Ballyboden back in 2009 which was a great game too. We pipped them on the day," he recalled on the RTÉ GAA podcast. 

"There are a very experienced outfit. Three or four of the lads that are going to be playing Sunday week were playing that day. 

"They've a solid back six, a lot of them were in the county setup at different stages. And then you look up front with the Basquels (Colm and Ryan). 

"Colly in my eyes is probably better than Diarmuid Connolly in some respects and it's amazing not to see him in the county panel."

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Dolan also contributed to a lively debate sparked by The Irish Times Malachy Clerkin, who argued on the podcast that it would be unwise to curtail the inter-county championship season to provide more space for the club championship.   

"You can please both (club and county). If I go back to 2011 Leinster club final, it was the 17/18 December that we played that. It went on very late that year for various reasons. 

"But then it was another two months before we played the semi-final against St Brigid's up in Longford. That was an awful month. And then it's a further month until the All-Ireland final. 

"You've three months to play two matches. I know it's changed ever since that. I'm sure they'll come to a balanced outcome that'll satisfy both sides but I think the club championship is great and it should be put on a pedestal."