Shels fancied for first title to crown Malone’s career
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.