Our regular columnist, ‘The Briar’ previews this weekend football finals.
The Junior A Football Championship Final is set for Clongeen’s second team to play the men of Crossabeg Ballymurn. Clongeen must compete with the confidence of their opponents who were promoted to Intermediate A hurling last week. The momentum will no doubt be in the hands of the unbeaten Crossabeg Ballymurn led by the accurate attacker, Barry Murphy. While Clongeen will put up a formidable defence, Ballymurn should edge this one.
Oylegate and Bunclody are left to fight out the Intermediate Hurling Final. For the Glenbrien folk, Padraig Doran, Eoin O’ Mahoney and Jamie Reck pounce on possession while the Half Way House club possess good scoring forwards like John Paul Connors and Mylie Connors. Colm Farrell acts as a workhorse around the centre while Aidan Nolan is solid on frees like Oylegate’s Fergal Doran. While an even encounter is on the cards, Oylegate look a tad too classy for Bunclody.
In the Intermediate Football Final, St James’ play the Starlights. The southern county side show flair through attackers like Graeme Molloy, Donal Barron and Brendan Doyle. However, they are competing with some skilled Enniscorthy men like John Hudson, Ricky Fox and Tommy Foley. This should be a fascinating encounter with both sides attracted to the almighty prize of senior status. While the Starlights have a good record with wins over Ferns and Glynn Barntown, the unbeaten St James’ should grasp championship glory.
The Top Oil Intermediate A Final is set to be a cracker. Naomh Eanna, who remain unbeaten to date, are indebted with the diligence of Justin Kenny, Darren Kelly and Pedro Travers. Up front David O’ Brien, Conor MacDonald and Padraig Doyle are a powerful force. For Marshalstown, their strong build and great attackers are the main reasons for their solid appearance to date. James Byrne, Declan Byrne and Michéal Jordan are their main talismans. Michael Morris attacks with pace and Joe Kelly is consistent on frees. This will be a magnificent game of hurling but Gorey look a bit slicker than their opponents.
The Minor Premier Football Final makes the pairing of Starlights and Shelmaliers. The men of Over the Water are led into battle with the talented footballers like James Cash, Simon Donohoe, Colin Cleary and are ably captained by Neil Rossiter. The men of Enniscorthy have a wealth of underage talent with the likes of Liam Ryan, Darragh Pepper and Kevin Foley. This should be an intriguing contest with the experience of both sides coming to the fore. While the dogged determination of Starlights is one that will not end until the final whistle, the footballing pedigree of the Shelmaliers gives them a slight edge.
The WFC Senior Football Final, well it’s been a long awaited clash. St Annes play Castletown. The Gorey District side had an unprecedented win over St Martin’s in the semi final. The clinical finishing of Donnacha and James Holmes was crucial. From that semi final win, the Maroon Men will attack St Anne’s with confidence. Rathangan boast the stylish footballer Redmond Barry. Sarsfields were dismantled by Barry alone in the semi final. One of the key areas where this game will be won and lost is the centre field area from kickouts. Castletown have great fielders like Anthony Masterson and Jesse Foley but they are evenly matched by Jonathan Fogarty and David Fogarty. The dogged determination of Castletown will be a problem for the unbeaten St Anne’s but the title seems to be drifting southwards by two points.
Intriguing battles and battles that will decide a championship that started roughly 174 days ago. A well run championship overall and some memorable games too. The semi final’s were remarkably one sided and one could not have scripted the Castletown and Kilanerin quarter final that needed extra time to separate the sides. Most of all, let’s hope that splendid spectacles of football greet the GAA fanatic this weekend.
With all sporting wishes,