Intermediate final places up for grabs
PREVIEW A LOOK AHEAD TO THE LOCAL G.A.A. ACTION
MICK HAGAN has a hectic programme of matches for the last weekend in September.
Top of a good bill are the two semi-finals of the Intermediate football championships, to be played at Aughrim on Sunday.
Annacurra, the only team to finish on full points, take on Eire Og in the first match and straight away it should be said the this one is wide open.
Annacurra have a hard working defence built around county star Alan Byrne; the return of another former county player Ciarán Shannon has bolstered up their midfield while the have scoring forwards in Clive Horan, Frank Clune, Partick Moules and Alan Horan. Their trainer is Paddy Molloy.
Eire Og have so far promised more than they delivered and just scraped through on a narrow score difference.
However, they have a lot of talented players on their books at the moment. They signed up a top class defender - Alan Costello who won the club championship with St. Vincent’s last year. James Leonard and Daniel English form a good enough midfield pairing but they will do well to get an even break in that area
Up front new county ‘find’ Darren Hayden will be their big hope but the ever reliable Johnny Barry is likely to be their top scorer
They are trained by former Dublin All-Ireland winning captain Seán Doherty, surely one of the best Wicklow born players to captain an All-Ireland winning team
I have a hunch that Eire Og could spring a surprise.
Carnew take on Ballymanus in the second match and no prizes for guessing who the favourites for this one will be.
From the start of the year manager Robert Doyle has Carnew flying. They are playing in Division 1 of the SFL and by now have beaten most Senior teams in the county.
They dropped only one point in the championship and that was to Dunlavin but then bounced right back with a good win over Kilbride.
Most people still consider Ballymanus most unlucky to lose to Stratford on a replay in last year’s final. However injury and retirements hit them hard this year and they struggled in the early stages.
However, after losing to Annacurra in their first match they came back strongly to beat Bray Emmets, Knockananna, and Valleymount before knocking out fancied Avondale in ther final match. Their trainer is Paudie Byrne.
They have good young talent in county player Seánie O’Neill, county Minors Mark Kenny and Kevin Byrne, the Stapleton brothers and veteran defender Lorcan Byrne.
Carnew are powered by the Doran brothers, the Collins brothers, the O’Sullivans, veteran Don Hyland and two great young players in Seánie Kinsella and Brian Osborne. The return of Graham Keogh after injury has boosted their chances
They must get the vote to make the final.
The two semi-finals of the Junior A football championship are listed for Arklow on Sunday.
The first match is between Newcastle and Rathnew. With Newcastle trained by former Rathnew star Trevor Doyle this one is more than just a local derby.
Newcastle have been knocking at the door for a while and have pulled together a very useful team. From Ciarán Doyle at full-back, Niall Yoeman, Adam Merryman and William Sutton at midfield, county Minor Robbie O’Gara, John Paul Kelly and Paddy Kavanagh they have strength in every line.
Rathnew may have stripped this team a little to bolster the Senior side but they still have a strong side. Former Senior stars Declan Byrne, Mark Coffey and Don Doyle bring a lot of experience to the team
Form in this one says Newcastle; tradition points to a Rathnew win. I go for Newcastle but it will be tight and noone can rule out Rathnew in any grade.
Kiltegan take on Ballinacor in the second semi-final. The Glenmalure side, trained by Kevin Byrne, have an abundance of good young players and are more than due a break through.
They took some time to settle this year but when they got going they turned in some high class performances and many of their supporters believe that the best is still to come.
Paddy Byrne, Chris Kennedy, Calum Rowden, Ger Byrne and James Byrne have all been on Wicklow Minor teams and are very promising players. The Dowling brothers and Paul Cullen bring the class while Tony Byrne, Colin Byrne and Declan Green adds in the experience.
Kiltegan have had an amazing run in the championship and are at this stage the only unbeaten team out of the twelve. They have a very tight defence built around John Byrne and Denis Hayes; a good midfield in Blaine Harmon and Adrian Keogh but they lack scoring forwards and often have to depend on Keith Furlong to see them thtrough. Manager Ciarán O’Toole won’t hear of defeat.
That edge in ability to take scores in the end could be the difference between the sides and see Ballinacor could go
PHILLIP DOYLE JBFC
The first semi-final of the Junior B football championship between An Tochar and Tinahely takes place at Arklow on Saturday.
Both sides are laced with players of great experience. An Tochar have a number of the team that won them their first Senior championship back in 1995 and may just about pull through
A number of games, most of them just unpredictable in the Junior C football championship Avoca, trained by Eddie Leonard should beat Rathnew’s third team at Arklow.
In a double-header at Baltinglass, Stratford take on Shillelagh and Kilbride take on Tinahely’s third team
Carnew and Hollywood meet in the semi-final of Division 4 of the SFL at Baltinglass on Saturday evening.
DOOLEY POYNTON SHC
The Glenealy v. Bray Emmets match in the SHC first appeared in a fixture list as far back as the of May but has not yet been played.
Mick Hagan is having another go at getting it played at Avondale on Sunday even where Glenealy will win with something to spare.
Wayne Doyle of St. Pat’s is chased by Bray’s Seán Prendergast during the Minor football championship semi-final.