Ex­pect the Ju­nior ‘A’ fi­nal to be a very tight af­fair

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - DIAR­MUID HAUGHIAN

AT the start of the Ju­nior A Cham­pi­onship a lo­cal book­maker had the favourite tagged as Kil­coole at 5/2, hard to ar­gue with that. Kil­coole played ten in the league, won ten, score dif­fer­ence 114 and beat­ing a much fan­cied Balt­in­glass in the league fi­nal in Aughrim.

Sec­ond favourites, the team ply­ing their League trade in Divi­sion 2 and fin­ish­ing in the top half of a very com­pet­i­tive league, Vl­ley­mount were at odds of 3/1. The book­ies are rarely wrong!

This Sun­day in Aughrim at 2pm, the book­ies favourites meet to de­cide the Boom Plat­form Hire Ju­nior ‘A’ Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship for 2018 in a game that should bring sig­nif­i­cant sup­port from both proud vil­lages.

This match will be tight, very tight, and al­most im­pos­si­ble to call. The Ju­nior ‘A’ league for­mat was a lit­tle far­ci­cal and the cham­pi­onship only re­ally geared up when the fi­nal eight teams en­tered the knock­out stage.

Aughrim had ear­lier sur­prised Kil­coole, but they were fully pre­pared in the quar­ter-fi­nal and won well and then needed ex­tra-time to de­feat Barn­dar­rig in the semi-fi­nal on a tight Dun­bur Park in Wick­low, a match they could have eas­ily lost.

Val­ley­mount on the other hand have been warm­ing up lo­cally in Bless­ing­ton, a huge pitch which may help in the county grounds.

Level at half-time ver­sus Kilbride/Lacken and then wak­ing up in the sec­ond half to win well and show­ing se­ri­ous grit to put a dogged An Tochar to the sword in ex­tra-time.

In Ju­nior ‘A’ terms Kil­coole have some big lads down the mid­dle and in the full-for­ward line who will trou­ble any team in the form of Danny Ka­vanagh and Ro­nan Keddy and some very sea­soned play­ers such as Vinny Quigley and Eoin Keddy down the mid­dle.

Hav­ing lost the pre­vi­ous two Ju­nior ‘A’ fi­nals to Laragh and Ash­ford, the pres­sure to get over the line will be im­mense, pres­sure which can in­spire or de­vour a player’s con­fi­dence.

Val­ley­mount on the other hand will miss the in­flu­en­tial Stephen Flanagan to a red card in the semi-fi­nal but have some se­ri­ous up and com­ing tal­ent in the form Liam Mi­ley, Jamie Mi­ley and De­clan Cahill and, given the op­por­tu­nity, James Fitzpatrick in the full-for­ward line can lay off well and also take a good score.

The man in the mid­dle for this clash is Dar­ragh Byrne from Bal­ly­manus, one of the youngest ref­er­ees in serice in the Gar­den County at this mo­ment in time and cur­rent full-back on the Bil­lies In­ter­me­di­ate foot­ball team.

Byrne is re­garded as up­front and con­fi­dent and will rel­ish this chance to gain some big match ex­pe­ri­ence when he throws in the ball­for this ea­gerly awaited Boom Platofrm Hire Ju­nior ‘A’ Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship fi­nal in Joule Park Aughrim.

The pres­sure will also be on Val­ley­mount’s shoul­ders, hav­ing not won a Ju­nior ‘A’ cham­pi­onship for 20 years, trained so hard over the past num­ber of years and fall­ing just short at semi-fi­nal stages. Val­ley­mount will also be feel­ing the pres­sure of ex­pec­ta­tion as much as Kil­coole.

This fi­nal could go down to the wire. Pre­dic­tion: Re­play.

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