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