Can Kil­coole stop Ti­na­hely’s march to the crown

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - SPORT - BREN­DAN LAWRENCE

ON Thurs­day evening at 7.30pm on the wide open plateau that is Bal­li­nakill the Ark­low Bay Ho­tel Ju­nior C Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship fi­nal will be con­tested be­tween the men of Ti­na­hely and the sol­diers of Kil­coole.

A strange venue for a county de­cider (there were hurl­ing fi­nals up there last sea­son) for a num­ber of rea­sons: no fenc­ing, no shel­ter, no seat­ing, but nei­ther team will al­low that spoil what has the mak­ings of a very com­pet­i­tive and in­ter­est­ing game of foot­ball un­der lights.

It can’t be de­nied or ig­nored that Ti­na­hely are red hot favour- ites for this clash on pa­per. They quite sim­ply oblit­er­ated all com­ers through the group stages and pulled away con­vinc­ingly against a com­pet­i­tive and very use­ful Éire Óg side in the semi-fi­nal.

Kil­coole came home third in a very com­pet­i­tive group be­hind lead­ers Donard-The Glen and sec­ond placed Éire Óg with the Goose­bankers suf­fer­ing two de­feats to Bless­ing­ton and the men from Grey­stones fol­low­ing an up­lift­ing vic­tory away to Donard early on in the cam­paign.

It was to be an­other up­lift­ing win over the Jim Mills Memo­rial Park men that pro­pelled them into the de­cider as they blitzed the west out­fit in the sec­ond half in Bal­li­nakill with Donard-The Glen only scor­ing in the first minute of that sec­ond pe­riod and no more for the re­main­der of the game.

Kil­coole have a ma­jor job to han­dle the Ti­na­hely unit. From Wil­liam Lil­lis in the goal to Austin Bren­nan in cor­ner-for­ward this Ti­na­hely side are lit­tered with qual­ity foot­ballers. In the mid­dle of the field the wise heads of David Dil­lon, Brian Hickey and Niall Gor­man can dic­tate a game as well as any­one at this level and can and have con­trib­uted richly to the scoreboard.

A miserly full-back line of Danny Quinn, Gavin Kenny and Tony Lacey can tor­ment at­tacks and they pos­sess a re­ally strong half-back line in the form of Ray McG­lynn, Kevin Doyle and Fionn Fur­long.

Their half-for­ward pair­ing of Damien Cullen and An­thony Phe­lan might get over­looked in re­ports but take it that these two play­ers can be happy in the knowl­edge that they have con­trib­uted mas­sively to this fine run of form for the club’s sec­ond adult team.

Wil­lie Quaile’s per­for­mances this year have been ex­cep­tional while David Blake has proved to be too hot to han­dle for ev­ery full-back line he has en­coun­tered so far.

And that’s what makes Thurs­day night’s Ju­nior ‘C’ fi­nal all the more in­ter­est­ing.

Kil­coole will rel­ish all this talk of teams be­ing un­beat­able or red-hot fa­vorites. Stephen Kelly or who­ever they de­ploy to mark David Blake will have that added in­cen­tive to up their game.

Lead­ers like Gerry Mur­ray, James Scul­lion, Pat Woods, Garry Coady will lick their lips at the thought of test­ing them­selves against the all-pow­er­ful Ti­na­hely side who have marched re­lent­lessly to the county fi­nal on the back of su­perb per­for­mances against lim­ited sides for the most part. A county fi­nal is dif­fer­ent. A county fi­nal is an arena where space is re­stricted, where the pace is upped con­sid­er­ably, where nerves en­ter the equa­tion as an un­known force, where the din from what should be a very de­cent crowd will ring loudly in the ears of those on the field of bat­tle.

Whether you fin­ished top of your group or third will mat­ter for ab­so­lutely noth­ing when Kiltegan’s Ea­mon Doyle throws that ball up into the evening sky in Bal­li­nakill. What joys the weather gods de­cide to shower us with will also have a ma­jor bear­ing on the game. A fore­cast of cloudy and 19 de­grees will likely please Ti­na­hely but this is Bal­li­nakill.

Kil­coole had seven play­ers on the scoreboard in their semi-fi­nal.

The Goose­bank side will have to spoil Ti­na­hely’s hunger for goals and they will need to bag a few them­selves. They’ve proven they can rat­tle the net at one end, whether they can stop them at their own end re­mains to be seen.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.