Shels fan­cied for first ti­tle to crown Malone’s ca­reer

New Ross Standard - - SPORT -

THE BIG­GEST day on the lo­cal foot­balling cal­en­dar takes place next Sun­day, when a novel pair­ing of Shel­maliers and Ki­lanerin con­test the Tom Doyle Sup­plies Se­nior cham­pi­onship fi­nal. The two most con­sis­tent, and it has to be said, im­pres­sive, teams through­out the year have qual­i­fied for this fi­nal on merit.

For the third time in their his­tory, Ki­lanerin are at­tempt­ing to con­tinue an amaz­ing club se­quence of winning the Se­nior fi­nal ti­tle im­me­di­ately af­ter gain­ing pro­mo­tion from In­ter­me­di­ate, a truly re­mark­able record.

They cer­tainly have the play­ers to help achieve their goal as the merger with Tara Rocks has im­proved the qual­ity of per­son­nel avail­able. Rhys Ow­ley, Niall Breen and Conor De­vitt are just a few names that spring to mind who have made a ma­jor im­pact on team per­for­mances.

Tom Hughes or­gan­ises the de­fence with author­ity and leads from the back, while Páuric and Niall Hughes have been in great form this year.

Seán Forde has been scor­ing reg­u­larly and with the out­stand­ing Matty Forde or­ches­trat­ing the young charges around him, they are a for­mi­da­ble out­fit. Through­out the year they have played with great be­lief and are a well-or­gan­ised team.

As you would ex­pect with any Ki­lanerin team, they have a high scor­ing av­er­age com­pared to most sides in the cham­pi­onship and the abil­ity to score un­der pres­sure is a ma­jor weapon they have in their ar­tillery.

Shel­maliers cre­ated their own bit of his­tory this year by lay­ing to rest the ghost of six semi-fi­nal losses, and did so with some style and author­ity. To their credit, they have looked a much-im­proved side this year and play a sim­i­lar fast-mov­ing style to their op­po­nents on Sun­day.

They are the only side with a one hun­dred per cent record in the cham­pi­onship this year and have looked con­fi­dent when faced with every chal­lenge placed be­fore them.

Their squad is packed with youth and ex­pe­ri­ence and their driv­ing force is Wex­ford le­gend Brian Malone. This man leads by ex­am­ple whether play­ing for club or county and is an ex­am­ple to any aspir­ing sportsper­son.

The team is packed with tal­ented foot­ballers like James Cash, Si­mon Dono­hoe, Eoin Doyle and one of their best play­ers this year, Eoghan Nolan. Glen Malone, young Ross Banville, Craig McCabe and Conor Hearne have also been im­pres­sive this year.

The semi-fi­nal win over reign­ing cham­pi­ons Starlights will have given them even more con­fi­dence that they have the squad to break their duck and bring the ti­tle across to Castle­bridge for the first time in the club’s his­tory.

Ver­dict: De­spite strong con­sid­er­a­tion of the text I re­ceived from Myles Doyle beg­ging me not to tip the Shel­maliers, I’m afraid I have bad news for him.

I think the men from Over The Wa­ter have shown a mas­sive im­prove­ment in their squad and in the way they play this year, and I tip them to be cham­pi­ons by a small winning mar­gin.

Maybe my judge­ment has been clouded and it’s a sen­ti­men­tal thing where I’d like to see an­other one of Wex­ford’s foot­balling legends, Brian Malone, ful­fil a life­time am­bi­tion with his club, but so be it.

What I re­ally hope is that we have a game de­serv­ing of the oc­ca­sion, fast mov­ing, plenty of scor­ing, and the only sign of a blan­ket is if some­one is us­ing it in the crowd to keep warm.

I think these two teams are ca­pa­ble of restor­ing the pub­lic’s faith in the way Gaelic foot­ball should be played.

A huge con­grat­u­la­tions to a great Wex­ford G.A.A. man, Ea­monn Cleary, on his dog’s vic­tory in the Ir­ish Derby re­cently.

Ballyanne Sim, called af­ter his late fa­ther Si­mon, made his dreams come true on a night to re­mem­ber for the Cleary fam­ily in Shel­bourne Park.

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